I was very inspired by this year’s winner of the Google for Doodle contest, which was announced June 14, 2021. The doodle from sixteen-year-old Milo Golding from Lexington, Kentucky, is titled “Finding Hope.” He described the elements of the doodle on the Today Show. He said, “The lowercase ‘l’ is the side view of a bookshelf and the child on the top of the books is using education and new experiences in order to find hope and he is looking toward the balloon, which is the symbol of hope.” His message of hope touched my heart. The statement “I am strong because I have hope” felt very relevant for this past year. As a school librarian, I connected with Milo’s idea that one way to find hope is through books, education, and experiences.
The idea that books and education can be used to bolster hope is not new. In 2018-2019, Jaqueline Woodson was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and her platform was “Reading = Hope x Change.” She explains, “For young people who are very stressed about the future, who have this sense of disempowerment, who don’t know what’s coming next, my big quest is for them to remain hopeful. When you come to literature, it does allow you an escape from the world if that’s what you need, but it also changes you. You’re different than when you started that book” (n.d.) This idea that reading not only strengthens hope but pushes our thinking and influences us in ways that change us, I believe, connects with Milo’s ideas about finding hope through education and experience.
As school librarians, we work to find that “just right” book for our students; to challenge their thinking with inquiry learning; to engage them in new experiences. After this unprecedented year, I take comfort in the idea that my work may help my students find hope.
As I look toward the next school year, I am hopeful for so many things including:
- I am hopeful that we can all have our school library physical spaces fully open to provide that safe and engaging learning space for students;
- I am hopeful that we will use lessons learned this year about racism and unconscious biases to make the world a better place for all, especially our students;
- I am hopeful that we, as a school library community, will continue to share ideas, practices, and lessons to continue to improve our services to our school communities; and
- I am hopeful that we will once again be able to meet in person, to laugh and hug. (I am so looking forward to AASL 2021 in Salt Lake City!)
We all need hope after this past year. Thus, I plan to bolster my hope this summer by taking some time to read, challenge my own thinking, and have some new experiences.
How do you or how will you find and share hope?
“Reading = Hope x Change.” n.d. Every Child a Reader. https://everychildareader.net/readinghopechange/about-rhc/.
“Meet the 16-Year-Old Winner of Google’s Doodle for Google Competition.” 2021. The Today Show (June 14. https://www.today.com/video/meet-the-16-year-old-winner-of-google-s-doodle-for-google-competition-114769477638.