For a recent marketing project, I researched the state book awards for children’s literature (picture books-YA). Every state has its own requirements and procedures, but the result is the same—kids choosing their favorite books.
This was a wonderful education. As I worked through the country, one state book award at a time, I became more and more excited about our future. I also found some hope I’d misplaced in recent months. Here’s why:
- Libraries are sacred spaces. They are reverently dedicated to education, improvement, community and entertainment.
- Librarians are actual geniuses. These women and men work tirelessly to find books that offer kids mirrors and windows of representation AND are fun to read.
- Kids are brilliant. They fall in love with great stories and great characters. Over the last few years, many of the nominated and winning books showcase the beautiful diversity of this world: POC, LGBTQ+, differing socio-economic backgrounds and people practicing a range of religions.
- It’s well documented that reading books builds empathy in the reader. Empathy and emotional intelligence are requirements for success in every endeavor—no matter how it appears at this moment. Today’s kids are ratcheting up their empathy on a scale that’s never been seen before. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.
- There is progress. While there’s still an infinite need for more voices, we’ve at least entered the arena of diversity for the first time in human history. Let’s keep this going.
Librarians are the guardians of our future. We are in great hands.