Livingston Justice Hosts Women’s History Month Readings for Kids

In honor of March being Women’s History Month, Livingston Justice, the social justice community action group, held two virtual read aloud events for Livingston children featuring women of color who have made history.

 

The first event on Wednesday, March 10th was offered to Pre-K to 1st grade children, and was a reading of “The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family” by Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic medalist and social justice activist who was the first US Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab.   In advance of the event, the children were asked to make a self-portrait using craft materials that were distributed to each child.  Included in each craft kit was a person-shaped cut out and a box of Crayola multicultural skin-tone crayons, along with pieces of construction paper and felt for making clothes and hair for the self-portraits.

 

The read along was hosted by Jen Best, a Livingston resident and Kindergarten teacher, and special guest Naureen Akhter, Livingston resident and Congressional Staffer for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  In addition to reading the book, which is the story of a young girl standing up to school yard bullies saying unkind things about her sister’s hijab, Akhter shared with the children her experiences wearing a hijab growing up.  

 

After the reading Best led the children in a discussion of the themes in the book, including the importance of standing up for each other.  “We are all friends and neighbors. We can stand up for each other,” said Best.  

 

Best also asked the children to share their self-portraits, and made the point that the way we look says something about who we are, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.  The children were also given the opportunity to ask any questions they have.  When a child asked Akhter why she wears a hijab she told them that there are many reasons why a person would choose to wear a hijab, but she does so because “I am proud to be a Muslim, and I want to show the world who I am.”

 

The event ended with Best asking the children how they would ask to learn more if they saw someone wearing something different than they were used to seeing, and as an example showed the children the kippah she wears to her synagogue.  In response to the children’s answers, Akhter said “It is so important to have these conversations, and try to better understand each other.”

 

The second event took place on Wednesday, March 17th and was a reading of the book “Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers” offered to children in 2nd through 4th grade.  The book details the life and accomplishments of Dolores Huerta, a labor leader and civil rights activists.  

 

The event was hosted by Holly Prince, a Livingston resident and 3rd grade teacher, along with Best.  Prior to the reading we talked about where the fruits and vegetables we eat come from and what it means to be a migrant worker.  

 

After reading the book to the participating children, Prince and Best led them in identifying the important themes of the book.  The takeaways the children identified were that “when we work together we can make a difference”, and that Dolores Huerta made change in a peaceful way, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

 

In the course of the book, Dolores Huerta is identified as many things: a storyteller, an organizer, a warrior, a friend, a teacher, etc.  The children were given the opportunity to share which of those terms they identified with, and how that might encourage them to use this power in their community.  Prince and Best wrapped up the event by challenging the children to learn from Dolores Huerta’s example, and find an issue to work on that improves the world around them.  

 

For more information on Livingston Justice events, please visit facebook.com/LivJustEvents.

 

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