The School of Education’s Words Take Wing: Honoring Diversity in Children’s Literature program was created in 2005 by Joanne Banducci, PhD and Wendy Chason. Words Take Wing developed as a natural extension of Banducci’s long-time commitment to children’s literature. Back when she was a third-grade classroom teacher and reading specialist in Dixon, Banducci began inviting local children’s book authors, including Newbery-award winning author Ashley Bryan, to meet her students.
When Banducci joined the School of Education’s teacher education faculty in 2004, she expanded her scope by reaching out to student teachers, making the case that children’s literature should be an integral part of their curricula. In keeping with the School’s commitment to educational equity for all students, she also wanted to promote children’s authors and illustrators from groups that were underrepresented in the field. Banducci teamed with school librarian and UC Davis volunteer Wendy Chason to formally establish and manage the Words Take Wing program.
Words Take Wing Mission and Purpose
A children’s book in every hand, an impression in every heart, a lifelong learner in every home
Words Take Wing: Honoring Diversity in Children’s Literature (WTW) celebrates children’s literature and values its capacity to inform, inspire, and empower by giving voice and forum to the creators of children’s books. The WTW committee endeavors to highlight notable authors and illustrators of diverse backgrounds and to make the program available to those children with whom the experience might strongly resonate.
It is our intent to deepen and expand our local children’s literature community through mutually beneficial partnerships, increased publicity, classroom presence, and additional children’s literature events. In the above ways, WTW will continue to build and sustain relationships with those who work earnestly to nourish the lives of children and who recognize the excellence and importance of children’s literature.
We know from our partnerships with schools and districts throughout Northern California that many children need more opportunities to experience literature. Unfortunately, the school day is often too full to promise the reading of books, and many children live in homes where reading is not a priority.
Words Take Wing provides teachers, children and parents with an opportunity to experience the power of a great story to move children, to introduce them to worlds they would not otherwise encounter, and to inspire them to share their own stories.
The School of Education’s long-term goal is to create an event that will build and sustain relationships with teachers, students, librarians, and the wider community to ensure that our impact of Words Take Wing goes well beyond the classroom. Our mission is guided by our belief that schools are places where children’s literature ought to be present and where children have consistent opportunities to read, listen to, study, and enjoy a well-crafted story. And we hope to elevate the role that children’s literature plays in representing people and cultures in complex and sensitive social realities and histories.
Literature has the power to open eyes, change lives, and reveal the world anew. Ultimately, the potential to inspire young readers and writers and educators underscores the intent and purpose of Words Take Wing as a cornerstone event for the School of Education at UC Davis.