Beverly Koopman, Jean Carlson, Linnea Logas, Kate Horst, Alison Jirik, Katie Day, Francis Kazemek, Jon Holtz
Koopman and her partners’ winning program, “Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes,” aims to help children work on their writing skills and teach them about the immigrant experience. The project will span generations and cultures as both elementary school children and a high school art class combine forces to write and illustrate publishable books. A variety of guest speakers will visit the elementary students. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the role books play or haven’t had the opportunity to play in other countries, in their community and around the world. The high school art class will have the opportunity to speak with local children’s book illustrators. The students will be asked to step into another person’s shoes and write their book from either the perspective of another culture or as an outsider placed into another culture. Once the stories and illustrations are complete, the books will be translated into several different languages and distributed to new immigrant and refugee families in the community. Koopman and her team hope the project will give students the opportunity to learn from other cultures, while helping them establish a culture of literacy in the homes of other students in their community and beyond.