Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Connecting To Voices Around The World Through Books and Music

Dear friends, 
As we get ready to celebrate Read Across America tomorrow and reading everyday, I hope you find inspiration in this post as we connect our students to voices around the world through books and music. 
This is my most recent post on the Cantata Learning blog.  You will find the original here
Music and Books Bring Us Together
A few weeks ago, my family and I traveled to Chennai, India, for the ECIS Librarian Conference at the American International School of Chennai. There were librarians from over 50 countries at the conference. It was wonderful being able to connect and learn with everyone. These new friendships brought so much meaning to our trip as we learned about different places around the world.
As part of our learning experience, we visited the American International School of Chennai where my friend Jeremy Willette (@libraryjet) is the Director of Library Service at the American International School of Chennai.
When Hagan and I walked into the elementary library, we were greeted by tables labeled with different languages from around the world including Russian, Hindi, Arabic, German, and many more. On the top of each table were books the librarians had brought from around the world. They were getting ready for the International Book Swap!
We enjoyed walking around the tables with the other international librarians, looking at books books we had never seen as well as ones that looked the same as books at home except for the different languages they were in. The visiting librarians were all very happy to participate and take books from other places back to their libraries.
Cantata Learning at AISC
As we were walking around the library, we realized the library had an entire section of Cantata Learning! I was so excited to see all of these books all the way across the world in this special place in India. I was now even more excited to leave behind copies of the Library Skills series that I wrote with Cantata Learning and Emily Arrow. I just know they are going to love singing as they learn how to find a book and the other helpful lessons in this series!
Jeremy and I found a chance to talk about the beautiful and diverse collection within his library, including the Cantata Learning stories and songs. He shared how they serve students from over 30 countries. Wow!
I also learned the largest languages there in terms of what students speak are Korean, Japanese, and French. The library has books in over 50 languages plus the actual language section. Their language section makes up 11% of the collection but 24.9% of total check-outs!
 When I asked him specifically about his Cantata Learning collection, he said:
Students love our Cantata books and they get great circulation!
The fact that students can access the music of the books in multiple formats is a huge plus. They can use the QR code, visit the website, or play the CD.
The delightful melodies and attractive illustrations are a big hit with our younger readers. The sound-to-text possibilities are also very useful for our young students who are learning to read, both for native English and non-native English speakers alike.
 Windows and Mirrors
Later that day, I started to think about how wonderful it was for all of the children who use AISC to have access to Cantata Learning. With over 30 countries represented, the music, stories and illustrations in these titles are such a wonderful way to support unity among this community. 
Cantata Learning books allow children see themselves in the pages as they read and sing along. With so many different types of children and places represented throughout the books, everyone can feel and be a part of the singing, reading, and conversations that takes place.  After all, music is the universal language.
When Jeremy shared the picture above with me, I just had to know the story behind this little girl’s smile. He said, “That’s what happens when a kid comes into your office, sees your tie, and wants a picture with you because you are the same.” I think I have been smiling ever since he shared that sweet little story.  
Coming Together for Read Across America
Remember this week, as we celebrate Read Across Americathat libraries, music, books, and Cantata Learning can bring us together in so many ways! They bring friendship, love, and a way for us to connect voices around the world through books and music.  
We all have the power to bring a voice to each child that passes through our doors. This week, and every week, let’s make sure every one is heard.
As you are celebrating the diversity within your library and community, please share how your students feel heard by using the hashtags #ReadYourWorld,  #OwnVoice and #LoudLibraries!

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