Sesame Street Town Hall on Racism

This weekend, CNN and Sesame Street are hosting a discussion that will talk to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding. More information about the event can be found here.

It will air at 7am PST here in Vancouver, but will be available to watch afterwards online. There was another town hall discussion in April about the Covid 19 pandemic which can be watched here.

The Brown Bookstore organized an online rally on Thursday evening. A video of the rally is available to view on facebook and information about the event can be found here. The post also has lots of links to resources and book lists to support conversations around diversity with children.

I am an anti-racist teacher

We are in the middle of a historic time right now – all 50 US states and 18 countries across the world have seen protests in support of Black lives which makes this is largest civil rights movement in history. Some of you may be having conversations about what’s happening right now in your families, and the library can be a source of support for having those conversations.

A quote from Black activist Angela Davis which reads "In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist"

Angela Davis is an American political activist, philosopher, academic, and author.

The first step towards eliminating racism is acknowledging it exists, and we know it exists in Vancouver and in our schools. I want every student and caregiver in the Oppenheimer community to know that acts of racism in our community are unacceptable.

This year I have been working to add books to our collection at Oppenheimer that reflect the diversity of our students and the world around them. The priority for books in the library will continue to be books by and about members of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) community.

Below are some lists of books for discussing issues of racism with children and that showcase voices of historically oppressed groups. For any families wanting  support or to talk more about around this issue, I am happy to chat. In the coming days I will be posting some of the resources we have in our library, and new ones added.

Book Lists and Links for Caregivers 

31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance

Middle Grade #ownvoices Books

Anti-Racism for Kids 101

Why Reading Diversely is Important

Talking about Race with Young Children




I Really Like Slop!

Not only is Mo Willems making videos of how to draw, he’s making cooking videos! Here is how he makes slop:

If you don’t know the story of Piggie and how much they love slop, you can see the story in this video:

What would you put in your slop? Draw a picture or write out a recipe!

Book chat

I mentioned in an earlier post I was reading Inside Out and Back again by Thanhha Lai. It was published in 2011 and has been in our library for a while so maybe some of you have read it already.

I really loved how the book is written – it’s written in free verse poetry and each poem is dated so it’s sort of like reading a diary. The story gave a lot of insight into how Ha feels about all the changes in her life and how she feels coming to a place where she doesn’t speak the language and sometimes feels isolated from the community. There were a range of things that happened from sad and frustrating to sweet and really funny.
The next book on my list to read is Front Desk by Kelly Yang.
This is a new book in our library, and I thought would be a great choice because May is Asian Heritage Month. This book is about Mia Tang, a ten year old Chinese American girl who helps out in the motel her immigrant parents work at. This books has received many awards, and so I’m very excited to start reading it!

Spring celebrations – Ramadan

Today is the first day of the a holiday observed by Muslim people called Ramadan. This holiday lasts one lunar month – which means it starts right after the new moon and goes until the next new moon. During this month, people observing the holiday will fast, which means they do not eat anything from dawn until dusk. The Arabic word for this time is sawm.

Because a lunar calendar follows the cycle of the moon, Ramadan falls on a different day each year. This year it happens during the spring, but each year it will get a little bit earlier so sometimes it will happen in the winter, fall or summer.

A new book we added to our library recently is called The Gift of Ramadan and it is a story of a young girl, Sophia, during the month of Ramadan as she practices fasting for the first time.

Happy Earth Day!

One of my favourite books to read on Earth Day is The Water Walker written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson.

It is a story about an Ojibwe grandmother (Nokomis) and her love for water (Nibi). She organizes people to walk from all four oceans and around the Great Lakes to Lake Superior. There are Ojibwe words throughout the story, which is an Indigenous language that is centred around the Great Lakes homeland of the Ojibwe people.

The story is inspired by the Mother Earth Water Walk, which you can read more about by clicking here.

What are some things you can do to protect our water and make sure it stays clean for ourselves and the future?

Digital resources – Audiobooks

Since it’s harder to access physical books now with school and public libraries closed, there are now some more options to listen to audio books.

Audible is providing free access to children’s books. These books can be streamed on a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet and are available in 6 languages.

The Vancouver Public Library also has a few different options to access audio books. You need a library card to access these books, and if you don’t have one you can sign up for one online here.

The Day the Crayons Quit!

Another very popular author in the Oppenheimer library is Oliver Jeffers.

Oliver Jeffers does the illustrations for his books (and does really cool art outside of book illustrations!) too.

Here is a video of one of his most popular books being read, The Day the Crayons quit:

What’s your favourite colour of crayon? Can you tell someone in your home 5 things that are that colour? Can you find 5 things in your home that are that colour? 10 things?

Draw Along with Mo Willems!

In our library, some of the MOST popular books are by author and illustrator Mo Willems – Elephant and Piggie, the Pidgeon and Knuffle Bunny have lots of fans at Oppenheimer.

a selection of Mo Willems books

While everyone is at home, Mo Willems has started a series of videos, “Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems”. Here’s the first one from March 16th:

You can see the rest of them (15 in all!) at this link: Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems!

Happy Doodling!

Spring Celebrations – Passover and Easter

On March 21st it was the vernal equinox, also known as the first day of spring! This is a day when the amount of daylight is equal to the amount of darkness.

There are a few different celebrations that happen around spring time. For people from the Jewish culture, it is a time when Passover is celebrated. Here is a short story about this holiday:

One thing I really like about this story, is that even though I don’t celebrate Passover, I can relate to the feelings of excitement in the story! Are there any things you notice in the story that are similar to things you do at home with your family around holidays you celebrate?

Another celebration that happens in Spring is Easter – which is the reason for the long weekend (4 days!) we have coming up. One of my favourite things to do around Easter is to dye eggs. Here’s a picture of some eggs I dyed a couple years back and saved as decorations:


I used natural substances to dye the eggs: turmeric for yellow, beets for pink, and purple cabbage for turquoise/blue (my favourite one, so cool!). Here is a video that has instructions for how you can dye eggs at home (it does require using the stove, so you would need help from an adult):

You can use hard boiled ones if you don’t want to keep them (and have a fun, colourful snack!) or you can blow out the inside so they will last longer (but this makes them very delicate!).

Are there any other special occasions you and your family celebrate in the spring time? I hope everyone has a joyful long weekend with your family!