Windows, Mirrors, Sliding Doors, and Bridges

Barb Lazar
As our temperatures remind us we are still seasonally in summer, the cool mornings when we arrive at Morning Meeting with our friends speak to our bonus “new year” when the new school year begins. We are eager, we are community, and we are challenging education. Part of that challenge is to lean into ideas and opportunities that support our growth. The Gerald and Betty Ford Library is doing its part to encourage, support, and provide resources for this focus and commitment to our Academic Mission:

“At Bosque School we design learning experiences that inspire students to explore challenging concepts and ideas and to be daring in their pursuit of deep understanding. Our academic program is grounded in inquiry and prizes curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. Decisions of content and pedagogy reflect the diverse and changing world in which we live and offer a pathway to discover individual passions and how to live ethically in the world.”

Windows and Mirrors
This conceptual framing of learning and literacy was first introduced by Emily Style of the National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project. Simply put, in order for students to learn and grow in our changing and beautifully diverse world, our books and curriculum need to reflect who we are, where we come from, and how we identify; we also need to provide opportunities for windows into people, language, cultures, and experiences that are not our own. Rudine Sims Bishop explains,

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.”

Curating a Compelling and Challenging Collection
In order to meet the needs of our students and community, we continue to conscientiously curate our collection. While some books and resources need revisiting and perhaps need to be weeded, there are also voices missing. These are voices and stories we are adding to our collection. Throughout the year, as we continue to polish our windows and mirrors and sliding doors, perhaps to build bridges, I will highlight some of these books and invite you to join in the journey.

A Few (Very) Brief Glimpses from My Recent Summer Tsundoku:

Internment by Samira Ahmed
As the author states in the Afterword, “This book takes place fifteen minutes in the future.” Layla Amin and her family and neighbors are placed in an internment camp for Muslim-Americans. With help from a boyfriend on the outside, newfound friends in the camp, and an unlikely insider, a rebellion forms. References to Manzanar and the White Rose Society give the reader historical relevance and context, while reminding us that we must fight the complicit silence in society.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Written as a novel in verse, the passion and voice of young mother Emoni Santiago take us from her high school’s culinary class to becoming a working chef. Following her dreams, the guidance and love of her abuela, and pursuing her dreams for herself and her daughter, Emoni shows us how to trust herself and others to achieve her dream.

At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Ozzie has known Tommy since 2nd grade and has been his boyfriend since 8th grade, but when Tommy disappears, all memories of him seem to have vanished for everyone except Ozzie. He suspects the universe is shrinking, During a high school physics project, Ozzie is paired with Calvin, and the urgency to understand what happened—or not—weighs on Ozzie.

As we dive into this next school year, I invite you to continue to discover windows and mirrors.

“We need diverse representation not only so every kid can see themselves as the hero of the story, but so that every kid can understand that “other” kinds of kids are “also” heroes of the story.” ~Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg