I wrote this piece all the way back in May. I didn’t publish it straight away because I wanted to edit it. But you know, sometimes you’ve just got to let it go. This is just one reason as to why I’m so passionate about encouraging the love of reading, and why we consciously focus on stories from the global south. I’ll be posting something else soon on what I call Cultural Literacy and why it’s so important to introduce kids to stories from cultures that are different to their own.

The STAR training session was great. I learned a lot about the art? The academics? Of reading, and appreciated the way they stressed that as volunteers we were there to encourage the joy of reading and sharing. That’s also why I do what I do. Ultimately, I think learning should be young and if you realize that early enough you’ll see the value in the big and small lessons.

At one point during the session, on of the teachers said we should think about selecting stories that were familiar, ‘like the classics; like Mother Goose.’

Hmmm classics… Yes. That story is a classic, but the assumption that everyone in the room would consider that story as such troubled me. If you didn’t grow up listening to those stories, it might not be a classic to you; but an Anansi story might be. And that’s where the rubber hits the road for me. Does your local librarian know what the classics from say Croatia are? I don’t know yet, but I’m going to find out.

Not hearing the stories or names that are familiar to you once you step outside your house can create a sense of isolation, or otherness. Those lovely librarians are committed to encouraging literacy and a love of learning in all children…. And all with very little money or time. So, I’m ready to work alongside them to help improve what I call ‘Cultural Literacy’. To me, Cultural Literacy means having the ability to see that all cultures have equal value. Simple. Dr Shani Byard of Message Media Ed, an educator and the founder of Message Media Ed, where we hold our story time sessions does a lot of work on this too, with older kids and educators.

I’m telling you. Those librarians inspired me yesterday.