Project Moral Courage
Inspired by the Project LIT Community book lists, Fay librarian Haimin Luo is launching her annual Read for Pleasure program and encouraging Fay students to read books that connect to the school year theme of Moral Courage.
She’s calling the reading list Project Moral Courage, and she has adapted it from the Project LIT Community’s book lists, which encourage the reading and teaching of culturally relevant books. This list includes a wide variety of books that resonate with themes of diversity, equity, anti-racism, and inclusion. There are over one hundred books on the list. One option is Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, about a black boy killed by a police officer. Another is Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan, about a Pakistani-American girl who struggles to stay true to her culture while trying to fit in at school. “I hope that these are books that will expose students to different ideas, cultures, and social issues,” says Haimin. “Many students read a lot of the same genre, and this is a way to open them up to something new and to expand their worldviews.”
Haimin is asking students to share a thought or comment about each book that they read, and she has a basket of small prizes for students to choose from once they have completed a book. Haimin displays student comments on the bulletin board inside the Root library to prompt other students to get involved with the project. The board provides a visual example of the power that books have to open minds and make us think more deeply about the world. In her comment about Linda Sue Park’s book, A Long Walk to Water, sixth grader Alicia M. writes, “A heartbreaking story of a boy who has to survive through an impossible journey. This is a book that shows the hard truths our world faces.” Of RJ Palacio’s book Wonder, fifth grader Charlotte M. notes,” This is an amazing book. It’s inspiring and teaches people that it’s okay to be different.” After reading Ghost by Jason Reynolds, ninth grader Nathan K. wrote, “An amazing book about altercations, true friendship, and running.”
The Project Moral Courage list has books for a variety of reading levels, and Haimin notes that students in grades three through nine will be able to find options that are appropriate to their reading level. She has been encouraging Lower School students to participate in Library class and reached out to Upper School students last week to tell them about the program noting that her own goal is to read every book on the list. “This project is going to go all year, and I’m going to keep poking at the students to participate,” says Haimin. “You can read one book, and you’re a part of this, or you can read ten books, and you’re a big part of this!”