Confession: When we first received a federal grant to develop our Baby Raven Reads program, we were a bit daunted. The project, in part, required us to produce 18 children’s books in three years. That’s a lot. Our staff worked very hard to find the best writers and illustrators and to produce books that met the highest standards. This week, it paid off. We were overjoyed to witness the excitement of children at Juneau’s Head Start as we gave some of our latest books to them. In the books, children see themselves and their cultures. That’s a big deal because before these were published, only a few children’s books existed that told of the world through the Native world view. And, research shows educational materials that are culturally-relevant have a positive impact on indigenous students’ academic achievement. This week we also sent the books to libraries, schools and Head Start programs across Southeast Alaska for all children to enjoy.
Special thanks to Head Start teacher Kayla Tripp for allowing us document our book distribution at her class. These photos by Nobu Koch tell of the occasion more eloquently than words can do:
Head Start teacher Kayla Tripp with students.
Head Start teacher Kayla Tripp and Katrina Hotch, SHI education program manager.