I’m Your Neighbor Welcoming Library

Posted in I'm Your Neighbor News, Welcoming Library

Illustration © Alfonso Ruano

 

The I’m Your Neighbor Welcoming Library is a portable book collection and display of acclaimed picture books featuring the immigrant, refugee, or “new arrival” experience. This pilot traveling library will be made available to Maine school and public libraries for monthly loan starting in September 2017.

Given the national conversation about immigration, the I’m Your Neighbor Welcoming Library seeks to raise awareness and build sensitivity for all ages through children’s literature.

“The true meeting takes place when the book opens, and a stranger reads about — and comprehends — a stranger.” –Amit Majmudar, Poet, Author

Studies have shown that reading builds empathy and that cross-racial scenes in picture books build acceptance. Making this collection of 22 picture books available at no cost to schools and libraries, we hope to lift the financial barrier to reading and sharing these important books.

 

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Each book will contain a discussion guide to facilitate engagement in the topics of diversity and welcoming. Whether it is a parent discussing a picture book with a child in a public library children’s room, or a second grade class gathered for a read-aloud with their teacher, these books will foster crucial discussions of what it means to arrive in a new culture, country, or community.  Readers who are “new arrivals” themselves will gain an increased sense of normalcy and acceptance when seeing their stories reflected in the narratives in this collection.

I’m Your Neighbor is a larger literacy movement founded in Maine to draw attention to immigration children’s literature and to its potential to bridge a sometimes difficult conversation about who belongs here, welcoming, assimilation and celebration of difference.

The I’m Your Neighbor Welcoming Library was funded by a grant from the Maine Public Library Fund. The project is managed by Kate Cutko at the Bowdoinham Public Library with support materials and packaging provided by Curious City, the administrator of I’m Your Neighbor.