Jackie Robinson

jroPro baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson was born on this day in 1919. An outstanding player who would go on to win MVP awards and Championships, Robinson will forever be remembered as the first African-American to play Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He stood up to unspeakable racism with dignity and grace. In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his breaking the colour barrier, Major League Baseball retired Jackie’s number, 42.

Chinese New Year

Gung Hay Fat Choi! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

CC-BY-SA-3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to the Year of the Rooster.

The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, begins on January 28, according to the Gregorian Calendar in 2017.

Millions of Canadians, particularly those of Chinese heritage, and people all over the world will bring in the New Year. People of diverse religious, ethnic and political backgrounds come together to celebrate the common bonds of Chinese culture.

For more on Chinese New Year:

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Auschwitz Death Camp
source: Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

In 2005 the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The term “Holocaust” refers to the period in history in which the Nazi regime of Germany murdered over 6 million Jews, as well as millions of other¬†victims, including Roma, homosexuals, people with physical and mental disabilities, and more. The¬†Nazi persecution of the Jews began in the early 1930’s and reached¬†its most horrific and brutal peak during the period of 1941-1945, as the Nazis adopted as official policy¬†the “Final Solution,”¬†the attempt¬†at¬†completely annihilating the entire Jewish population.

Children selected for extermination
source: wikimedia commons / public domain

 

The Holocaust is not the only example of genocide in human history. What makes the Holocaust stand out amongst the long and plentiful list of human atrocities and evil?  Germany was amongst the most powerful nations of the world and a leader in science, technology, medicine and engineering.  The German contributions to art, music, literature and philosophy put German culture at the heart of what we would call Western Civilization. And yet this supposedly civilized people turned their great achievements and progress towards planning and carrying out ruthless genocidal murder with scientific and economic efficiency.

For more on the Holocaust:

Yad Veshem

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Jewish Virtual Library

Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

Alex Awards

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Alex Awards are given by the ALA to 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences. At the YALSA Awards earlier this week, Alex Awards went to:

  • The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
  • The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
  • In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford
  • Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart
  • Arena by Holly Jennings
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  • Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
  • Die Young with Me: A Memoir by Rob Rufus
  • The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon
  • The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

For more on the Alex Awards, go here.

Printz Award goes to March: Book Three

The prestigious YALSA Awards were handed out this week.  The biggest prize of note for high school libraries is the Printz Award, for excellence in literature written for young adults.  The 2017 Printz Award has been awarded to March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell.

Printz Honor prizes were awarded to:

  • Asking for It by¬†Louise O‚ÄôNeill
  • The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Link here for more on tbe Printz Award, and other YALSA Awards.

Robbie Burns Day

source: robertburns.org

The beloved Scottish poet was born on this day in 1759. From Scotland to all parts of the world where you will find people with Scottish roots,”Burns Night” is not just a celebration of the man, but also of Scottish heritage.

“‘Burns Night‘, also termed a ‘Burns Supper,’is a celebration of the life and works of the poet Robert Burns; Scottish by birth and held in fond regard by Scots all over the world, his life and poetry speak to the struggles common to all people. It is an evening of food, drink, entertainment, and friendship.¬† It is an event that transcends time, geographical borders, political, and religious beliefs to bring people together in celebration of the everyman.” (From burnsnight.net)

For more information on Robbie Burns and “Burns Night”:

RobertBurns.org

Burns Night at Scotland.org

Robbie Burns Tribute

Students Need to See Adults Reading

ssrcam“As a teacher I am more influential as a model than my students will ever let on.”

Read during SSR.¬† Expect students to have a book, be silent, be respectful of others, and read. Model that. Show them that reading isn’t something we just talk about. Reading is something we really do.

“…teachers who grade papers or balance their checkbooks during SSR are also sending their students a powerful message–a message that time set aside to read isn’t important. It’s true that we often have to model a positive behavior ten, twenty, thirty times before we see it begin to take hold in adolescents.¬† But it’s also true that if we model a bad behavior once, they learn it immediately. I remind myself of this prior to every SSR period– that as a teacher I am more influential as a model than my students will ever let on. If I talk the talk, I need to walk the walk.”

–Kelly Gallagher, Reading Reasons, 2003.

Students Need to See Adults Reading

ssrvolpe“One way to undermine an SSR program is for the teacher to grade papers, work on the computer, and answer phone calls.”

–Valerie Lee, “Becoming the Reading Mentors Our Adolescents Deserve”

Use SSR time to show the students what engaged readers do. Read alongside the students.   Expect them to be silent and immerse themselves in their reading. Model reading for the students.  Mentor them as readers.

Students Need to See Adults Reading

“Building a culture of reading in a school requires the participation of the entire school community– students, teachers, administration, staff, parents, patrons…¬† Students need to see adults, in various roles, reading: a favorite teacher, a coach, or administrators.”

Makatche and Oberlin, “Building a Culture of Reading.”

We can tell kids that reading is important. But if they don’t see that the adults in their lives value reading, why should they believe us?¬† Teachers, coaches, parents: Show the kids in your life that you value reading. Read in front of them. masi-ssr

Muhammad Ali

aliCassius Clay was born on this day in 1942.¬† After winning a Gold Medal in the Olympics for the United States, he would turn professional and go on to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali as part of his conversion to Islam.¬† Ali would win the Heavyweight Title an unprecedented three times, most famously regaining the title in 1974, seven years after having his title stripped from him in 1967.¬† When Ali was drafted for military service by the US government, likely for duty in Vietnam, Ali refused induction as a conscientious objector, citing his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. ¬†Ali famously told the world that “No, I am not going 10,000¬†miles to help murder, kill, and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end”

Ali¬†was arrested and¬†found guilty of draft evasion.¬†Boxing authorities stripped him of his title and banned him from the sport for nearly 4 years.¬† Although the Supreme Court eventually overturned his criminal conviction, he had lost his title and many years of his athletic prime.¬† Remarkably, he fought his way back to the top, defeating George Forman in the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974. After losing the title again in 1978 to Leon Spinks, Ali won the rematch to regain the Belt for an unprecedented third Heavyweight Boxing Title.

ali1 ali2 ali3Ali is arguably the greatest athlete in history. In his prime, he was certainly the most famous and recognizable athlete in the entire world. Ali was a polarizing figure, as many hated him for his brash, self-aggrandizing demeanor and his outspoken religious and political statements. However, even more people loved him. To a generation of people all over the globe, Ali was a counter-cultural hero who represented the struggle against racism, against war and against the conservative authorities of the day.

Find out more about Muhammad Ali:

www.ali.com

Muhammad Ali Center

The Greatest by Joyce Carol Oates

Guru Gobind Singh

GuruGobindSingh
source: discoversikhism.com

Sikhs in Canada and around the world observe the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh who was born in 1666 in Patna, India. He was the 10th and last of the (human) Gurus of Sikhism. He established the Khalsa, the organization of men and women baptized into the Sikh faith. He also established the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism, as the final Guru for the Sikh people. For more on Guru Gobind Singh and the Sikh faith, check out some of the following links: