BY LAUREN AIMONETTE LIANG & XENIA HADJIOANNOU
As the days of August are marching on and the beginning of the 2020-21 school year is approaching, it is becoming increasingly clear that this will be another challenging year for students and educators of all levels. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is still looming large in our daily lives and our plans for working and learning with our students. In the absence of firm solutions for treatment and inoculation from the virus, and in the context of growing numbers of infections across the United States, schools are faced with complex and challenging decisions about how to pursue their mission in safe and academically robust ways.
Our hope and intention here at the CLA Blog is to offer resources and support to educators as they plan for what is sure to be an extraordinary year of teaching and learning. We aspire to offer helpful ideas for sharing children’s literature with students through various instructional modes, as well as continue to maintain a focus on amplifying diverse voices, highlighting literary works representing diverse perspectives, and supporting an antiracist social justice agenda.
We are grateful to various CLA groups and individual CLA members for volunteering to contribute posts to the CLA Blog over the coming weeks. New posts will be published every Tuesday. We are delighted to announce that in Fall 2020 the blog will feature:
Our thoughts are with you as you expertly handle the many new preparations, alongside frequent and often abrupt changes, to plans for this fall in your classrooms. We value the outstanding work that you do, and hope that you are able to stay safe during this challenging time.
Lauren Aimonette Liang is an associate professor at the University of Utah and the current president of CLA.
Xenia Hadjioannou is an associate professor at Penn State's Harrisburg campus and the webmaster of the CLA website.
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards is an initiative under the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) of the American Library Association (ALA). CSK Immediate Past-President Dr. Claudette McLinn notes that the Discussion Guides have been created since 2000, and currently all Discussion Guides from 2009 to 2019 are available on the CSK website.
Each Discussion Guide includes summaries, activities and discussion questions, as well as related CSK titles for that year’s CSK Author Award, CSK Author Honor Awards, CSK Illustrator Award, CSK Illustrator Honor Awards, and Steptoe Awards for New Talent (Author and Illustrator), as well as information about the year’s Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
The CSK Discussion Guides are not the only educational resources available on the CSK website. There are also resources from publishers (Lee and Low) and a link to TeachingBooks.net, a curricular resource for teaching young people’s literature. TeachingBooks was founded by Nick Glass, who is also a member of the CSK Book Awards Executive Committee and Chair of the CSK Membership Committee.
It’s worth noting that Glass is offering TeachingBooks’ “Book and Reading Engagement Kit: Home Edition” for free until September 15 for remote learning. TeachingBooks offers many resources for all CSK Award-winning titles, and these are included in the engagement kit. The resources include original material, interviews, audiobook excerpts, pronunciation guides, interviews and book trailers.
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards website offers a wealth of online material for teaching even beyond the stated educational resources. Whether simply looking through the list of award winning books or reading about the history of the CSK Book Awards, there is so much to learn. And although the 2020 CSK Book Discussion Guide is not yet posted (as a jury member, I contributed to it and look forward to seeing it online), perhaps students might create their own guides to one of the winning titles, like New Kid by Jerry Craft (2020 CSK Author winner) or The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (2020 CSK Illustrator winner)
Editorial Note to CLA Members
In June 2019, the CLA Student Committee organized a Webinar featuring Jonda McNair titled 50 and Fabulous: The Coretta Scott King Book Award. The Webinar is part of CLA's library of Members-Only Content.