Tag archives: quotes

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Diversity and inclusion in children’s literature – with some great quotes on its importance

inclusive booksIt’s the UKLA international conference this weekend. The (wonderful and important) topic is literacy, equality and diversity. I’m giving a workshop on using inclusive books with 3-7 year-olds, and I’ve been packing up lots of great books. If space and weight weren’t at a premium, I would be taking many more.

I totally agree with Alexandra Strick of Inclusive Minds: ‘A good inclusive book is never issue-led, but is characterised by a great story; fully rounded characters; incidental, natural representation of issues; authenticity.’

Malorie Blackman says; ‘First and foremost, our children need and deserve great, entertaining stories. My wish is for a more diverse pool of writers, illustrators and poets catering to our children’s needs. Our children require a more varied selection of protagonists having amazing adventures.’

I love these quotes too about the importance of diversity in children’s literature:

‘All children have a right to see themselves and their experiences reflected in the books they read, as well as having books which open up new worlds, real and imaginary. This is not about political correctness, but about the need for books that reflect the reality of children’s lives.’ Anna McQuinn

‘When children see their lives reflected in the books they read, they feel they and their lives are not invisible.’ Malorie Blackman again

‘Children need to feel they belong.’ Beverley Naidoo

‘Let’s make our bookshelves reflect the diversity of our streets.’ Phil Earle

‘Books give a child a lever with which to prise open the world.’ Amanda Craig

‘A book is a place where children can try on all the lives they haven’t got.’ Margaret Meek

Thursday, 19 May 2016

School libraries are vital for reading and learning – news, guidance, links and quotes

Altrincham Grammar 2It’s ages since I last blogged about school libraries, despite all the training I do about them (the photo shows part of the lovely library at Altrincham Grammar School, where I gave a course for the School Library Association Manchester branch recently), and despite my passion for them. The closure of school libraries and school library services horrifies me. It is so short-sighted and so destructive.

I agree with Gervase Phinn: ‘Reading is the centre of learning and libraries are at the heart of this.’ It’s well worth reading the Yorkshire Post article this comes from, ‘School libraries – the “real” seats of learning’.

Do read this Guardian piece too, ‘School libraries face a bleak future’ on the value of school libraries and librarians. ‘A library is more than the sum of its books; it is a hive of knowledge and a place where the research skills necessary for future study are honed …… A library without a librarian is like a school without a headteacher …… Libraries should be a right in schools …… Opening a library door helps children open their mind. For many, books are too expensive and a library allows students to borrow them.’

‘How libraries brought out my inner book geek’ is a teenager’s take on the powerful impact school libraries can have.

New Zealand school librarian Steph Ellis has lots of good practical ideas for supporting literacy through the school library effectively.

‘I want a good book’ contains useful thoughts on helping students choose a book that is right for them. As the article says, too much choice can be daunting.

Barbara Band’s Library Stuff blog is consistently interesting and pertinent. Her post from last summer on selecting books is full of insight and good ideas.

‘5 fun ways to get teachers into the library’ by the librarian at Glenthorne High School has some great tips for doing just that. I especially like this one: students defend banned books of their choosing, against a backdrop of mug shots of teachers posing with their favourite banned books.

For anyone new to the world of school libraries, there’s lots more help available. If you are lucky enough to work in a local authority that has a schools library service, do make use of their wonderful resources, knowledge and advice. The School Library Association is an invaluable source of guidance. Their publications are excellent. Secondary school librarians will undoubtedly find the new edition of CILIP Guidelines for Secondary School Libraries extremely valuable.

And to end, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell: ‘School librarians are amazing people who match readers to books that they know they are going to enjoy and that way you actually create readers, and this happens in school libraries every day.’ Absolutely right!

Monday, 5 October 2015

School libraries and school librarians matter – news, articles, a video and quotes

Today a reader tomorrow a leader City of London Academy IslingtonI was delighted to have this as a back-drop at a training course I gave recently in the library of City of London Academy Islington.

How appalling that school libraries and librarians are under threat in many parts of Scotland. This is far from just a Scottish problem. There is much too little understanding of the huge contribution the school library and librarian can make to literacy and learning. More than a little ironic given the current – appropriate – emphasis on literacy across the curriculum and reading for enjoyment. In response, and to mark School Librarian of the Year and School Library Inspiration Award day, here’s a round-up of recent pieces about their importance, along with several valuable quotes. Kevin Brooks rightly said at today’s school library celebration: ‘To see school libraries being taken away makes no sense at all.’ (If you haven’t seen them, do also check out my other blogs on this topic.)

YA author Dan Smith asks why school libraries and librarians aren’t compulsory. ‘The school librarian is helping to shape young minds, to create our future.’

School Libraries Matter: The Changing Role of the School Librarian is a short American film on the importance and impact of school libraries.

This is a Canadian author’s perspective on why school librarians are essential, but it’s just as relevant in the UK and elsewhere.

In a blog dedicated to ‘all the wonderful specialist school librarians who are the backbone of our children’s education’, Sita Brahmachari interviews IBBY Chair Pam Dix. ‘Sometimes I’m asked to recommend some good literacy projects for the school to use and I always recommend the best one I know –  a library with a librarian!’

Here is Anthony Horowitz’s view: ‘The library is the beating heart of any school. It connects everything and everyone in the school – no matter what your interests, you’ll find something there for you. A school without a library is about as useful as a school without teachers.’

In her Carnegie medal acceptance speech Tanya Landman spoke of librarians as the ‘defenders of the imagination and the guardians of civilisation.’

Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell tells us ‘Librarians are the custodians of literacy – they lay the stepping stones that start the journey from one book to another, widening horizons and the reading experience.’

Finally, let’s not forget the words of Albert Einstein: ‘The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.’

Monday, 12 January 2015

‘It’s ink that should flow, not blood’- quotes about the power and importance of the written word

‘The pen is mightier than the sword’, goes the famous saying. It was written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his play Cardinal Richelieu, and his main character goes on to say ‘Take away the sword; states can be saved without it!’

How potent all the images of people holding up pencils and pens in response to last week’s atrocities in Paris have been. I was also very moved by the words used by this young man, as reported in today’s Guardian.
Ahmed DossoThese quotes too are compelling reminders of the vital importance of reading and writing:

‘Our books and our pens are the most powerful weapons.’ Malala Yousafzai

‘Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.’ Neil Gaiman

‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ Frederick Douglas

‘Reading for pleasure is not a luxury: it’s medicine for the soul.’ Nicola Morgan


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Children need libraries for books, for reading, for education, for life – some powerful quotes

Hungry CaterpillaLike thousands of others I am appalled by the shocking cuts being made to public library provision and to school libraries. The consequences will be dire. Even if we consider just the economic picture, libraries are crucial. According to the Evidence Review of the Economic Contribution of Libraries ‘Research provides compelling evidence that library usage is linked to reading levels among children and young people, and that library usage and reading, in turn, are important factors in literacy skill levels and general educational attainment.’ Reading skills and reading enjoyment are fundamentally important not only for success in life, but also for mental well-being. Without libraries how can we possibly embed them? You only have to look at this great photo from Tower Hamlets Idea Stores and Libraries to see their benefits.

In a week in which the Guardian is publishing a series of love letters to libraries, I thought I would share some of my favourite library quotes, particularly ones reflecting on libraries’ role in supporting children, starting with an extract from A L Kennedy’s passionate piece. They paint a powerful picture.

‘Thank you for being the first place I realised how beautiful books were, how many books there were and for teaching me that they should all be available to me, that I could learn whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted to in my mind. Thank you for opening the world to me.’ A L Kennedy

‘At the moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.’ Barack Obama

‘The education that mattered most to me began when my mother first took me to the public library and I registered for my own hallowed ticket.’ Will Self

‘I would never have become an author if it hadn’t been for my local library as a child.’ Malorie Blackman

‘A library isn’t just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you — and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.’ Isaac Asimov

‘You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books are the greatest weapons.’ Doctor Who

‘The way to get children reading is to leave the library door open and let them read anything and everything they want.’ Terry Pratchett

‘Libraries are browsing places, dreaming places, finding out places. So much education takes place when children are making choices of their own.’ Michael Morpurgo

Finally, a truly wonderful verse from Hear It Again by Ted Hughes:

Even the most misfitting child
Who’s chanced upon the library’s worth
Sits with the genius of the Earth
And turns the key to the whole world.