Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mirrors, Windows & Sliding Glass Doors and the Picture Book All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold


Yesterday, I visited our local Barnes & Noble to purchase a few books for my future classroom. I immediately headed toward the picture books and grabbed, All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold. This book has been on most lists of books to read over the last month and as soon as I had the opportunity to look through the pages, I knew exactly why. 

The vibrant illustrations and the beautiful message of belonging was clear from front to back cover. The inside of the cover is a poster that can be hung up in your classroom too! 


Later, I read the book aloud to my family. I had to hold back the tears. I knew that this book needed to be shared with everyone of my students on the first day of school. Every year, I need to establish from the very beginning that each individual child is welcome in my classroom. No matter what skin color you have, no matter what clothes you wear, no matter what higher power you believe in, no matter how much or how little money your family has, no matter what gender you are, no matter what _____________________ ...  You are welcome, I am glad that you are here, and I look forward to learning with you this year.


From my readings, I have learned that this book was a response of an illustrator with an image and a writer with a message who were joined together through social media after the breaking news of the Trump administration's travel ban. Over the last few years, such news releases of: travel bans, building walls, hate marches, division speeches have affected us all. These words find us at a loss of reaction or have created an action; for good or for bad. Stories from the classroom, show us that our students are also hearing these messages of both love and hate. My response is to provide an inclusive classroom by providing opportunities of mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors through books we read and the activities we complete.
"We need diverse books because we need books in which children can see reflections of themselves – but also look through and see other worlds."
A video from Reading Rockets which explains the idea of mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors:

You may view the entire interview within this YouTube playlist, Rudine Sims Bishop. Read her essay, Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors that she discusses in this video.

I believe all children are valued in this picture book and they will be able to see themselves represented within the story. Through rhyming phrases and repetition the message is repeated in a variety of ways in order for the students to take hold of its personal meaning. For this, the book is a mirror; a reflection of who we are as individuals.

I also believe all children are valued in this picture book and they will see that diversity is represented within the story. The words and the images expressed on the page allows the student to understand the importance of acceptance of all in this classroom. For this, the book is a window; a look into our classroom and our community. 

In addition, for those children who see their reflection in the people around them, they are shown the unknown. For this, the book is a sliding glass door for students to become aware of the country and world that surrounds them, that they have not yet experienced. 

Image: SlideShare

I read this book as a part of my
#BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. 
Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

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