Sarah Jo Zaharako, MLIS
Using Picture Books to Talk About Race
Books can be gateways to meaningful conversation and opportunities to build empathy and expand vocabulary around challenging topics. In this interactive workshop, children’s librarians will demonstrate how picture books can be paired with prompts and activities to begin a practice of open and direct conversation about why race matters in our society. By developing a strong sense of self and group identity, and building on young children’s natural sense of fairness, we can help children develop accurate and open-minded beliefs and critical thinking skills.
Sarah Jo Zaharako, MLIS, is a youth services librarian at Wilmette Public Library. She came to public librarianship after working as a professional violinist, a music teacher, a school librarian, and a bookseller. As a librarian, she works to create meaningful programming and partnerships that promote equity and social justice. She runs an initiative at Wilmette Public Library called “Let’s Learn Together,” which provides a framework for families to engage in challenging topics. Sarah Jo is currently co-chair of the Public Awareness and Advocacy committee for the Association of Library Services for Children. She lives in Evanston with her husband, three kids, two dogs, and a cat.