Dallas ISD Librarian Recruits Celebrity Guest to Promote Reading – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Are there protagonists that you identify with when you think about what’s on your bookshelf?
National Read Across America Day is next week, and an ITS librarian from Dallas wants to make sure her students get some insight into some of the books they read. She brought in a special guest to bring home the importance of representation in literature.
As the librarian at Clara Oliver Elementary School, Elizabeth Reed-Smith is determined to foster a love of reading among her mostly black and brown students. So she turned to one of her favorite stars. a shot in the dark to ask if she would take part in one of their reading programs.
“I just emailed and sent the flyer telling her about the school and what we’re trying to do. And the publicist emailed back and said she’d love to, ”Reed-Smith said.
Fast forward to Wednesday when your plan came true. Amanda Seales came to the school through Zoom to read to a group of students. Seales said there was no other place she would rather be at this time than reading to a group of bright students in Dallas, Texas.
“When my assistant said to read a book to the class, I said, ‘When? “Because this is a zoom that I’m really excited about,” said Seales.
Seales, an entertainer best known for her standup comedy, hosting, and acting, was aware of the book she picked. Hair Love by Matthew Cherry is the story of a little black girl whose father does her hair for the first time. Seales explained the history of the Afro to the students and why she often wears her hair this style.
“A lot of black people wore their hair this way because it symbolized their love for themselves, their identity and their hair,” she said. “And I wear my hair this way all the time because I want people to know that I love my hair and I love my black me.”
Reed-Smith said Seales – a black woman and daughter of a mother from Grenada – read the book and delivered that message was vital to her students. Seales said the ultimate goal is to make sure the next generation knows how capable they really are.
“I think adults often come into our own little world over all the things we do and forget that everything we do is irrelevant if the kids don’t pull it off,” Seales said.
Read Across American Day is Tuesday, March 2nd.