Over the next few weeks, we’ll be hearing from different community voices about what a Modern First Library means to them! Today, Faith Weaver of the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center tells us about her niece (and passionate reader) Sophie. Explore more from the series here.
My niece Sophie reads really well. We went to Half Price Books and my brother was on the trail for books from her summer reading list. Her list had 25 books! It included Aesop’s Fables and Jack London’s Call of the Wild. When I was in high school AP English class, we read 5 books every summer and took a placement test to stay enrolled in class. Sophie just turned 7 in July.
On the car ride home, my brother asked Sophie to read one of the books he bought her. A little exasperated– wouldn’t you be if you read a lot?– and after being reminded by her daddy to have a good attitude, Sophie began to read Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine. What impressed me so much is HOW she read. She expressed the exclamation marks, did different voices for each character. She was so animated!
“Sophie, you read so well!” I told her.
“Thank you, Auntie Faith.”
This snapshot moment is one of the many great things about being an aunt.
I love hearing Sophie read. It’s important that she has her reading education with chapter books like Amelia Bedelia, but it’s even more important that she reads about African American sheroes like the ones she reads about in Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison. Another snapshot moment in my Sophie memories is hearing her read out loud from Little Leaders, about Gwendolyn Brooks and Ella Fitzgerald. This encouraged me to add this book to my library too, and read along with her.
Having esteem for who we are, pride in our accomplishments, culture, and history are important facets of child development. In my work, I have great opportunities to add to Sophie’s library on Black achievement and excellence, and I share this in program offerings to the community.
Now I know Yolanda King, a mother and children’s book author who writes stories featuring Curlilocks, fairy tales inspired by her daughter Riley. She has participated in storytimes and craft events as well as led Mommy, Daddy and Me/Mommy, Daddy and Tween intergenerational book clubs at the Carver. Yolanda has kindly signed Curlilocks and the Big Bad Hairbrush and Curlilocks and the Three Pink Pandas as well as her Story Bird books (I’m looking forward to getting her newest, Curlilocks and the Sleepy Giant, soon). These are the first autographed books I’ve gifted Sophie, along with a growing collection featuring local author-illustrator Don Tate and local author and chef Diva Angela Shelf Medearis.
Growing up, I always looked for covers with images that looked like me, to find stories about my people. I still do. I am so happy to see there are so many options for Sophie today. The Modern First Library’s ideal responsibility is to keep these issues in mind for future selections for children of every hue, every faith, and every culture.
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Curlilocks and the Big Bad Hairbrush by Yolanda King
- Curlilocks and the Three Pink Pandas by Yolanda King
- Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate
- Coretta Scott King: Dare to Dream by Angela Shelf Medearis
- Amelia Bedelia chapter book series by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril
Faith Weaver serves as the Culture & Arts Education Coordinator at the Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center in Austin, TX. She has nearly two decades of experience working in a Black Institution. She coordinates various educational programs focused on community issues and dialogue, as well as classes, camps, events and tours. Faith is a UT graduate with Bachelors in Journalism and English and a minor in African American studies. She has a passion for her culture, working in community and educating others about Black excellence which is what brought her to the Carver. Faith is originally from Longview, Texas but calls Austin home. She is the proud aunt of Sophie who is “the best niece in the world”.