Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

#ReThinkLabels, Lisa Krok walks us through another segment in her Great Stories Club

Back in October, I posted the first part of this series just after attending training by the American Library Association as part of the Great Stories Club grant. Read part one here. I received a matching grant from the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio (DCNEO), who have provided programming that correlates with our Great Stories Club books. This has resulted in profound discussions and more engagement from teens with the themes of the books.

The first book we read and discussed was Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson. Themes of identity and being comfortable in your own skin resulted from our discussion about this first Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan. For each book, we meet first for a small group book discussion with pizza. The following week, DCNEO comes in to dig deeper into the themes with us.   

Next, we viewed the video #ReThinkLabels, which was created by DCNEO.

*Content advisory: This video contains explicit/offensive language as we learned about rethinking those labels and challenging stereotypes.* The #ReThinkLabels video can be viewed  here.  Afterwards, we debriefed and then discussed self-perceptions using an identity wheel activity. This is basically a pie chart of how teens see themselves in terms of their own unique identities.

Results varied, see two examples below:

We talked about allyship and speaking up if someone says something harmful, and each attendee was given Tolerance.org’s pocket guide on speaking up. The pocket guide can be downloaded here.

Last, we put ourselves back into the narrative by making mini-flags with the BEST labels we would like to receive. We also created positive label flags for others in the group. This culminated in a photo booth opportunity with our flags.

Many thanks to the American Library Association and the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio. The #ReThinkLabels lesson plan is also made public for teachers and librarians.

Stay tuned for part three in this series, coming soon.

Lisa Krok, MLIS, MEd, is the adult and teen services manager at Morley Library and a former teacher in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. She is the author of Novels in Verse for Teens: A Guidebook with Activities for Teachers and Librarians, forthcoming from ABC-CLIO in March 2020. Lisa’s passion is reaching marginalized teens and reluctant readers through young adult literature. She was appointed to the 2019-2020 YALSA Presidential Advisory Task Force, served two years on the Quick Picks for Reluctant Reader’s team, and is on the BFYA committee. Lisa can be found being bookish and political on Twitter @readonthebeach.

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