Drop everything and read!
At Dulwich College Suzhou, we not only encourage students to read, but also to read a wide range of texts that broaden their horizons to new cultures, experiences and opportunities.
The Worldwise Book Corner in the Junior School Library has been established to try and highlight the fact that, back in 2012, 99% of children's books released around the world had a Caucasian protagonist. Whilst progress has been made, the figure still exists at around 91%. The Worldwise Book Corner will shine a light on books which have characters of colour as their central protagonists. These books will hopefully allow many of our students to recognize themselves in the books and offer hope and aspiration for a more diverse, inclusive world for our young learners. As a school, we place an emphasis on representation and this is a stride forward for us.
We have launched the initiative this week as Wednesday 16th November is a day recognized by the United Nations as The International Day of Tolerance. During this week-long launch event, our staff will come to read books for children, as well as having a special assembly to celebrate the launch of this initiative. Students will also engage with the DEAR Campaign, within which they will literally Drop Everything and Read, meaning that their lesson stops and a positive culture of reading is able to flow through the school for a period of time.
I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Ms Odette Holweg and Ms Sunny Niu in the library, as their support for this initiative has been huge from day one. To Jasmine Q (now in Year 7), as she was the student who named the Book Corner: forging links between the Dulwich Mantra of supporting learners to Graduate Worldwise, and the initiative itself.
“I am really looking forward to the opening of the Worldwise Book Corner,” says Jasmine, “The importance of international diversity has always been a really outstanding feature of Dulwich College Suzhou, and I believe it is really important to involve a range of languages in libraries to open up the reading borders to students that don’t have English as their home language.”
Amelia F, who is our Library Prefect, has also expressed her thoughts on the project through my interview with her:
Q: Are you excited about the launch of The Worldwise Book Corner?
A:Yes, I am very happy and excited about the launch. In my opinion, it allows us, as a school, to promote diversity and open-mindedness amongst our staff and students. For many of our students, it is so important that we have representation in the books that we read.
Q: Is there a book in The Worldwise Book Corner that you feel everyone should read?
A：100%! Everyone should read ‘I am Malala’. The book is so inspirational, as it written by a young girl who has made a huge difference. She is so inspirational and, as a person of colour, she is someone I can look up to and aspire to be more like. Despite the problems she faced, she continued to keep going. The fact that the book is based on real-life events makes it even more special.
Q：What else is happening in the Library that you would like to spotlight?
A：I am currently working on a display to promote the ‘Panda Books’. Panda Books are books that have been chosen by librarians across China. The books promote diversity and provide wonderful opportunities for us to learn about different cultures around the world.