Since 2005, more than 14,000 Sacramento-area school children have benefited from Words Take Wing: Honoring Diversity in Children’s Literature. This annual celebration gives students the opportunity to learn from acclaimed authors and illustrators of diverse children’s literature whose stories about Native American heritage, Asian culture, African American culture, and Latino identity among many others, allow them to explore a wide range of perspectives and world views.
Each year, the Mondavi Center is filled with students from regional schools who watch and listen as a notable author or illustrator shares their personal journey and creative process, often inspiring students to explore and share their own stories. Through Words Take Wing, children broaden their understanding of the world around them – a world that embraces all cultures, languages, religions, and races.
Grace Lin grew up in Upstate New York with her parents and two sisters. While the other sisters became scientists, Grace became an artist. Surprisingly enough, being an artist was not Grace’s first choice. She first dreamed of being a champion ice skater, and drew many pictures of herself twirling and dancing on the ice. Unfortunately, Grace had neither the talent nor coordination to make it to skating stardom. However, the pictures she drew of herself held much promise and quickly became Grace’s career focus.
Words Take Wing, featuring Native American children’s writer Joseph Bruchac, was featured in the Davis Enterprise on February 12, 2015.
“This is the kind of program I wish occurred in more places,” the author told The Enterprise. “As an inspiration to teachers and students, it is second to none. I can’t think of a more enthusiastic audience. You can see the excitement.” Read the full article by Jeff Hudson.
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.
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.