ALA Virtual Conference 2020

Every Word a Poem with Sophia Thakur at #ALAVirtual20

I will admit that I was not familiar with poet and storyteller Sophia Thakur before her featured presentation at #ALAVirtual20. Several minutes into it, my family could find me crying in the kitchen at her beautiful and inspiring words. (Shedding tears of joy/inspiration/amazement is a common occurrence for me at ALA, and now my family gets to witness this during the virtual conference). Thakur is a “performance poet” from the United Kingdom. Throughout her presentation, she recited some of her poems, but EVERYTHING she said was itself a poem. I am hoping for a transcript because I was desperately trying to write down every word that she said. She epitomized her statement that “Poetry is in the gap between art and conversation.” She talked about literacy and empathy. She encouraged people to tell their own stories because literacy is a tool to explore the self. Reading empowers through windows, mirrors,…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

We’ve Got the Power! – Bridging Last Summer with This Summer

The Children Of Fear Are Not Alone Last year’s summer reading theme was Build a Better World.  Its message must not be lost. I have been actively involved in Central Florida public libraries since 1993, and it had to have been one of the most rewarding themes – ever. Recent events are showing us that children are growing up in an increasingly frightening world.  And they must not bear this alone. Last summer, my co-workers and I took our show on the road with a message of hope, and I’d like to share how you can couple Libraries Rock with real social impact. Before that, though, let’s review a couple of things.   Power and Truth In 1927, Max Ehrmann wrote the poem Desiderata in which he wrote: “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.” And, yet…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Celebrating Pura Belpré’s Birthday!

Celebrating Pura Belpré’s Birthday! February 2nd is Pura Belpré’s birthday – for those of you playing along at home, she’d have 119 candles on the cake!  Continuing my unofficial, non-sequential series of how to incorporate multicultural offerings in every program, we’re going to see how we can make Pura’s award winners come to life!  But first… Who was Pura Belpré? For those of you just joining us, Pura Belpré was born in Cidra, Puerto Rico.  By serendipitous circumstances, she ended up in New York City for her sister’s wedding and was hired by a public library.  Huge emphasis on this, folks: it was 1920 and they were looking to hire young women from ethnically diverse backgrounds!  Imagine that!  Almost 100 years ago! Her career took her from the Bronx to the Lower East Side, where she spread the love of stories in English and Spanish – which had never been done before.  As…

Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

Teaching Empathy and Zootopia

Disney’s Zootopia was a massive hit earlier this year, becoming one of the top-grossing films of 2016 and garnering a near-perfect 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, an impressive feat in a divided age. The film, which follows a rabbit named Judy who becomes the first of her kind to join the police force in the Metropolis Zootopia, is laugh-out-loud funny, as evidenced by everyone’s favorite sloth joke video.