Tell us about your background and how you got involved in children’s books and literature.
During my sophomore year of undergrad, I got a part-time job at the college-owned and operated child care center. I spent my first day in the toddler room and I was instantly convinced that I had found what I was meant to do with my life. I took a year off from college to work full-time for a year so that I could make a well-informed decision on whether or not to completely change my course of study. It was definitely the right choice, and allowed me to gain a year of invaluable experience. I later resumed my studies and pursued an education minor, while continuing to work part-time.
After graduating in 2020, I had the opportunity to work as a nanny for a wonderful family with two young children. Through the various political and social issues that have unfolded over the past two years, I discovered just how powerful books are when broaching sensitive subjects with young children. They offer an irreplaceable opportunity to expose children to cultures and perspectives different from their own, in ways that are developmentally appropriate.
When I heard about the intern position at OurShelves, I knew that I had to apply. Knowing first-hand the importance of reading to children in a developmental context, and also understanding the pedagogy behind providing children with books that are appropriate and diverse, the mission of providing all children and families with inclusive books is one I wholeheartedly support. I’m thrilled to join and work with the wonderful people that make up the OurShelves team, and look forward to getting to know other members of the diverse children’s book community.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I was super into the “Junie B. Jones” series in elementary school. I had a whole collection of the paperbacks. In fact, I actually still have some of them and keep them on the bookshelf in my office (along with many other great children’s stories - old and new).
What role have books and reading played in your life?
I have always loved reading. Once I learned how to do it, I enjoyed reading so much that I taught my younger brother how to read one of my favorite books at the time, Baby Bop’s Counting Book (I actually still have this book as well!).
As I got older, my love for reading stayed the same. Books allowed me to explore worlds and experiences outside of my own, and provided me an opportunity to learn new and interesting information. This is still true, though now most of my reading is academic or non-fiction in nature, rather than the colorful and imaginative tales of children’s literature.
Why are diverse books important?
All children deserve to see themselves represented in their favorite books and stories. They deserve to see bodies like their own, families like their own. They deserve to see themselves as the superhero, or the princess, or the scientist. All children deserve to see themselves as anything they could ever dream of being.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Music, LEGOs, and my dogs.