World Without Discrimination Quilts

francieCindy:  I just had one of my best days in education earlier this week. Our 6th graders at West Ottawa Public Schools recently completed the annual novel study of Francie (Farrar, 1999) by Karen English. In the book Francie and Jessie Pruitt face discrimination in the segregated South in the 1940s in a story that mesmerizes our students. This year, as our school is progressing to become an International Baccalaureate school, the teachers expanded the unit into a culminating exploration of contemporary racism. The students at Harbor Lights Middle School conducted research and brainstormed current examples of discrimination and read picture books onelike One (Ko Kids, 2008) by Kathryn Otoshi and It’s Okay to be Different (Little, Brown, 2004) by Todd Parr. Then each student designed a quilt square that visually represented a world without discrimination.

okay-to-be-differentOn Monday 60-80 students  came to the library each hour to assemble the quilts. In addition to tying the squares together with multicolored ribbons, the students also brought poems, essays or stories they had written on the theme of anti-discrimination. They added these to a notebook that will accompany each quilt when they are displayed. Watching the students work together in uniting their hundreds of individual visions into a unified whole, all with the theme of a world without discrimination,  was an amazing experience. As the teachers noted, now the project continues as they all strive to live the message in the quilt. Watching them support and encourage each other during the process gives me hope.




About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "World Without Discrimination Quilts"

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  1.' Robin Mamo says:

    How fabulous! What an exciting project to be involved with. Yes there is hope!

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