“Global Human Rights Research Project” receives AASL Roald Dahl's Miss Honey Social Justice

For Immediate Release
Thu, 03/30/2023


Allison Cline

Deputy Executive Director




CHICAGO – The “Global Human Rights Research Project” from Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito, California, is the recipient of the 2023 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Roald Dahl's 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.

In a six-week collaboration between Prospect Sierra School’s two middle school librarians, Julia Bourland and Mia Gittlin, and 7th grade Humanities teachers, Lauren Konopka and Matthew Williams, students became experts and advocates for change on at least one human rights violation central to the theme of an historical novel of their choosing. At the end, the librarians attended the students’ multifaceted presentations, which included a book review, an infographic explaining the historical incident they studied, and a call to action on how others can speak out about similar human rights violations that are happening today.

“The committee was impressed with the degree of collaboration between the school librarians and humanities department,” said Committee Chair Margaret Lincoln. “This project was a powerful way to bring literature, social justice, and advocacy together with a call to action to help learners consider how they might speak out about human rights violations happening in our own world today.’”

School librarian, Julia Bourland, shared, “The works of Roald Dahl offer students inspiration for becoming the heroes of their own stories who fight for justice and work together to create a better world for themselves and for others. The primary objectives in this collaboration were for students to make connections between human rights violations that occurred in the past and current ones, to increase student agency in understanding global injustice, and to help them find their voice inspiring others to learn about the issue and take action.”

“Julia and Mia and her collaborators are a clear demonstration of AASL’s Inquire standard, to build new knowledge by inquiry-thinking, thinking critically, identifying problems, and developing strategies for solving problems’” said AASL President Kathy Lester. “This project is a great example of an ongoing inquiry-based process through learners using evidence to answer questions, generating a product to illustrate learning, and most importantly connecting this new knowledge to the real world.  The learners at Prospect Sierra are engaged, informed, and empowered!”

The AASL award winners will be recognized during the 2023 AASL National Conference taking place October 19-21 in Tampa, Florida.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.