Friday, February 12, 2021

AASL co-sponsors national reading event in support of transgender and non-binary youth

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) will serve as an official co-sponsor of the sixth annual “Jazz & Friends National Day of School & Community Readings” organized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program. The National Education Association (NEA) joins AASL as a cosponsor of the event taking place on Thursday, February 25, 2021. As part of the event, AASL President Kathy Carroll will read from “When Aiden Became a Brother” by Kyle Lukoff along with the presidents of HRC and NEA and other spokespeople.

The “Jazz & Friends National Day of School and Community Readings” was inspired when Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, held a community reading of "I Am Jazz" by transgender advocate Jazz Jennings to rally behind a young transgender girl bullied by a national anti-LGBTQ hate group. Every year, in honor of the Mount Horeb community’s allyship, HRC's Welcoming Schools invites communities across the country to join its annual event to advocate for the rights of transgender and non-binary youth and ensure that every child has the support needed to thrive and be their whole self in their school and community.

Three books will be highlighted during the 2021 event: “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, “My Rainbow” by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, and “When Aidan Became a Brother.” Educators are encouraged to sign up to host a virtual reading or socially distanced event at Participants will receive a Jazz and Friends 2021 Organizing Kit, which includes tips on hosting a reading, discussion guides for the three books, promotion tips, and sample social media communications. Those educators registered before Feb. 12 will be entered into a drawing for one of the three featured books.

“School librarians strive to create an inclusive environment where all students feel welcome,” said Carroll. “Our goal is to provide collections and learning experiences that celebrate diversity and recognize our learners’ unique experiences. School librarians also carefully curate the digital and print collection, outreach programs, and services so that all students see themselves reflected within the offerings of the school library. AASL is extremely honored to participate in and co-sponsor this year’s Jazz and Friends event, and we hope that school librarians across the nation will join us in advocating and supporting our transgender and nonbinary learners.”