In the fall of 2018, Chappelow Arts Magnet’s school library gained two new book collections! Thanks to a grant from the Success Foundation, librarian Bridget Parker was able to purchase a brand-new set of classic novels and a collection of Pura Belpré award-winning books.
“We often have advanced readers who are looking for a challenge! Classics are a great choice, since they require advanced reading skills and often deal with universal themes. However, the few classics we had were falling apart or uninteresting to our students. The new collection was selected to be interesting to younger readers,” writes Ms. Parker. The collection is displayed in the library, and many students have checked them out to enjoy them! Some of the students have set personal goals to read a certain number of classics this school year.
The Pura Belpré collection was chosen to improve the diversity of Chappelow’s library collection. It includes award-winning books and novels by Latinx writers and illustrators. “It is important for all students to have access to books that reflect their own culture, as well as books that offer a window into other cultures,” says Ms. Parker.
In the library, Ms. Parker has incorporated the Pura Belpré books into her lessons, where they have sparked interest among the students. In December, classes read about volcanoes, then read an Aztec myth about the origin of two volcanoes near Mexico City in The Princess and the Warrior: a Tale of Two Volcanoes. Another day, students listened to the music of Juan García Esquivel and read Esquivel! Space Age Sound Artist to learn more about the ground-breaking Mexican musician. The fifth grade library students are making video book talks about three Pura Belpré picture books: Just in Case: a Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book, Niño Wrestles the World, and Chato’s Kitchen. Their finished projects will be posted on the library’s webpage.
The two collections have added so much to the life of the library, and it’s great to know they will be available for future Chappelow students to enjoy!