Updated: Dec 30, 2021
As we approach the end of the year, I cannot help but reflect on the year that has been.
It’s been a year of ups and downs, much like the one that preceded it, yet there is much that I have to be thankful for.
2021…more than any other, has been a year of learning and stepping out of my comfort zone to take on opportunities I may have hesitated to touch before.
January - March saw me immersed in a study. As I swam amongst the picture book characters, every evening almost till midnight, I revelled, I learnt, I questioned, unwittingly stepping onto a path that led me to being more critical, a skill I hope to develop as I offer the best books to my students and to my readers here on Myth Aunty.
Yet the questions that popped up were not something I could google and find answers to.
I wondered and questioned the frenzy to take diverse books to children. While I understood the fervour to promote Indian published books, as mirrors to ourselves, as windows to others we do not know within our own country, to fly the Adichie flag questioning the danger of a single story…I found myself questioning the hype that many books received on the ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’ world on social media.
What I do know, is that I did not know enough.
So, in an effort to work towards correcting this, I decided to embark on a ten month journey to learn and understand this idea of diversity.
While I’m still in the process of unpacking different aspects of diversity in my bid to be able to hold space for conversations in my library sessions…conversations that are genuine and arise from my own efforts to understand, hopefully leading to a more meaningful interaction with my students. What it has done is to give me a foundation to hold on to respectful ideas of diversity when bombarded and side tracked by the noise made by well-meaning individuals who proliferate social media, with questionable presentations of ‘diverse books’ and disrespectful ideas of diversity.
The study prompted me to understand SEL and how books can enhance this learning, while co-ordinating with different stakeholders within the school setting to maximise this for our students.
Through all this learning, its been my young fellow participants on the courses who have opened my eyes, mind and heart with their frank and patient sharing and explanations. To them, I am forever grateful.
One-on-one mentoring of teachers and parents, was a new area of work, which stemmed from the teacher and parent workshops that have been part of my services for so many years. As one teaches and guides, one learns….a powerful exchange of ideas, happen.
Ever so grateful for the opportunity to curate the children's section of a club library and school libraries. I cannot help but feel heartened that these institutions see the value of a well curated library.
As you all know, I share my work freely on social media. It is my way of encouraging innovative ways to explore books and stories with children. My way of giving back. I am thankful and grateful for all the DM’s, comments, messages and phone calls that have kept me going, making sharing seem worth while.
In a bid to organise my Facebook posts,which I have been sharing from 2014, I started a new blog www.mythaunty.com ....this one!
Having my blog articles quoted in 3 different academic papers, was worth the effort of ‘filing’ all my old posts, into the new blog. I’ve been delighted that my work is valued enough by fellow educators and more than any amount of likes, this has truly given meaning to my work.
Through this year, I have been invited to sharing my experience with children’s books, children, story education and library education in various forums. This sharing of knowledge and ideas through webinars, workshops, seminars, conferences, Instalive, and Facebook Live, have all helped get a pulse about what is needed and has helped me to learn, to reflect on what I need to work on and develop. To the organisations who reached out to me, I thank you for believing that I had something unique to offer and trusting me to deliver it. The feedback keeps me motivated.
So grateful for the wonderful books, the authors, illustrators, editors and publishers who have pushed and challenged my thinking, made me laugh, made me cry, made me thankful...your work, feeds mine. To all the book shop owners who have taken the time to recommend, reach out and share so freely....I bow down in gratitude.
Yet the crux of my learning and growth comes from my students…I work regularly with almost 250 children each week, across a range of ages, feeding off their energy and vivacity, their youth dusts the cobwebs from my fuddy-duddy mind.
Thank you ,dear readers for being with me through this year. I have only a few followers, but I'm thankful that you value my sharing, engage and reach out.
I have a few ideas for next year that I am excited about and am looking forward to our interactions both online and off.
To a New Year, with yet another threat with a new name looms, promising to lock us up in our homes yet again. I hope that promise turns out to be a false one. If it isn't, so what?! We've dealt with it all before...been there, done that. We've got books to turn to, we've got stories to share.