Fifth-graders in Abbey Kobylinski’s class chanted “50 Books!” as she opened two boxes filled with new books.
Kobylinski is the Kansas recipient of 50 titles from 50 States 50 Books, a non-profit organization with a mission to send a box of 50 diverse books to a different group, school, or agency in each state.
In her application, Kobylinski stated her goal was to build lifelong readers and instill joy for reading in her students. She wants them to value time with books and to see themselves reflected in the stories and characters they read.
“I believe a library full of diverse books will help close the literary gap,” Kobylinski said. “I want students to enjoy reading and to be able to relate to the characters.”
The class received chapter and picture books, featuring a variety of cultures, characters and stories. The fifth-graders are planning on sharing the books with their first-grade buddies who they mentor every Friday.
“Abbey has a strong passion for reading infused with diversity,” Justin Green, Pawnee principal, said. “She believes it is important that the books her students read have covers, pictures, and characters that look like them. It also helps to teach students empathy and understanding by reading stories about people who have different perspectives.”
The class finished their book celebration by listening to Kobylinski read “What If” written by Samantha Berger and illustrator Mike Curato. As a class, they discussed the theme of the book that included problem-solving and people having no limits to what they can do or create.
“The theme is the message you leave with in your heart,” Kobylinski said