Sparkers Erika Mittag, Sally Farneth, Susan Hopkins, Anne Collins, and Lindsay Shore-Wright joined Friends Peace Teams’ Power of Goodness Clerk, Maida McKenna, and Indonesians, Ratih, Tika, Nanik, Petrus, and Ninok, to undertake this daunting yet enlivening task. Maida McKenna brought her life-long commitment to Literacy for Peace and Justice. New England Yearly Meeting continues to invest in developing stories to support literacy that reach for the Spirit in people, nature, and situations. Valerie Joy noted, “It’s exciting to introduce and stage key concepts and skills for very young children that then become embedded in their life-long learning.”
The Sparklers are underway — having a grand time developing the list — and Friends worldwide are looking forward to using it. If other Friends want to join the effort, you’re more than welcome!
Such a collection will help librarians and teachers in many countries see a physical collection of quality story books in developmental sequence. From such a concrete reference set, they may begin to assess books in their own native languages to support literacy in a whole new way. The storybooks also supplement stories for Power of Goodness and Literacy for Peace and Justice workin peace libraries and schools, and support an eight-week curriculum, Regenerative Cultures of Peace, used as an orientation for classrooms, programs, residential settings, and community groups.
Once we complete the list, we need to get the books. Digital books are available online, and some may be downloaded to print anywhere. Other books need to be donated or purchased. The Sparklers have begun gathering copies of the books from second-hand sources as they work on the list. Ratih began researching shipping options. Indonesia offers free shipping in-country for libraries, so she registered for that. If we get books to Indonesia, we can ship without cost. Ratih also found a distributor of storybooks available to librarians in Indonesia without shipping, if we purchase the books through them. Each country will be different, but we will gain experience as we go, and welcome any advice as we move forward, step-by-step.