APL Storyteller - Brigetta and Peyton

I grew up on the Stockbridge-Munsee (Mohican) reservation in northern Wisconsin. My first memories of a library took place on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation. Our library was connected to our historical museum and located only a short distance from our home. It was a place where tourists and tribal members came to explore family ancestry, learn about our Mohican Nation history, read books, view the collection of historical artifacts, and personally connect with others from our community.

My relationship with the library now is two-fold. As a professor, I have regularly incorporated children’s literature into my early childhood music courses. I believe books can provide an important window into a culture, offering an insiders’ perspective that may not initially be apparent. For many years I have taught general music courses as part of our teacher education program at Lawrence University. I really enjoy helping future teachers expand their thinking to include more culturally responsive pedagogy. Each year I ask my students to find a favorite (or new) children’s book to read aloud in class and design a written lesson plan that actively engages children in the music-making learning process. It’s especially intriguing to watch how their eyes and face light up when reading, dramatizing, moving, dancing, or creating to a story. I have appreciated the Appleton Public Library’s wonderful children’s collection and its close proximity for my undergraduate university students to access.

On a personal level, my son and I attend the library on a weekly basis to get fresh new books to read. I have cuddled and read to him every night since the day he was born and find multiple places in our home to secretly tuck the books away (the car, his bedroom, the bathroom, the living room coffee table, the porch, etc.) I’m thrilled that at the age of six he absolutely loves to read. Reading has clearly helped his early language acquisition, verbal skill development, overall comprehension, and creative thinking and expression. Reading allows us to explore topics together we may have never imagined before. Our son’s thirst for reading will, I believe, be one of his tickets to success later in life. I have only the library to thank for this!

One of my favorite quotes by a famous Navajo leader says, “Education is the ladder. Tell our people to take it.” A library is a gathering place for the community. A place to search for knowledge and information your soul has been thirsting for. A place to satisfy your curiosity for learning. A quiet refuge in an otherwise noisy world.

Read more stories like Brigetta and Peyton's here!