CHICAGO - Anne Mlod, school librarian, and Cinda Gilmore, 4th-grade teacher, from Genesee Elementary School in Auburn, N.Y., are the recipients of the 2017 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Roald Dahl Miss Honey Social Justice Award. Sponsored by Penguin Random House, the Roald Dahl Award recognizes collaboration between school librarians and teachers in the instruction of social justice using school library resources.
Mlod and Gilmore collaborated to create Harriet Was Here: A Research & Song-Writing Project. The project focuses on the life of Harriett Tubman and her work as an abolitionist, suffragist, Civil War scout, spy and nurse. Using the project, Mlod and Gilmore addressed two aspects of social justice: the importance of taking care of the least advantaged members of society and equal access to freedom and opportunity. Tubman was a resident of Auburn, N.Y., where she also opened a home for the sick and aged.
Mlod curated primary sources to introduce Tubman and create a timeline of her life. Mlod also read the book “An Apple for Harriet Tubman” to the students and led a discussion on the injustices Tubman experienced as an enslaved person. Together, Mlod and Gilmore prepared the students for a field trip to Tubman’s home and grave site by doing a gallery walk of photos. Students used school library resources including biographies, library databases, and Skype visits with Tubman Scholar Kate Clifford Larson to further research Tubman’s life. Using this research as a foundation, students participated in a week-long residency with the folk-duo Magpie to compose song verses.
“Awareness of Harriet’s bravery, grit and determination have provided inspiration for school-wide service projects our school has undertaken,” wrote Mlod in her application. “The most recent service project was a fundraiser to provide “sweet cases” – a duffle bag with blanket, stuffed animal, etc. – for children entering foster care.”
“The Miss Honey committee members were impressed with the inclusive and creative focus of the ‘Harriet Was Here’ project,” said Stephanie Burdic, award committee chair. “The Harriet Tubman’s legacy comes to life through primary research and song writing in a strong, collaborative project. It gives inspiration for school- and community-wide service projects, including providing ‘sweet cases’ duffel bags to those who enter foster care. Like clever Mr. Fox the protagonist in Roald Dahl’s book “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” the students learn to look beyond their own families and take care of others in their community.”
The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.
The American Association of School Librarians www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.