For this edition of the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series, we invited educators to share stories from their practice: times when they utilized children’s literature and conversations to address real life; the difficult topics that children experience through the mirror of their own experiences or the windows of their peers, communities, or world.
Mollie Welsh Kruger
Mollie Welsh Kruger taught second grade in a Harlem public school for
18 years and five years prior in a Tremont parochial early childhood classroom.
Both positions offered insights across cultural experiences and led Mollie to
understandings of culturally sustaining pedagogies. While teaching elementary
school, professional development opportunities included learning experiences
that incorporated art into academic learning and explored the workshop model
of writing and reading, which fold into her work at Bank Street. Mollie’s academic
interests include children’s literature, students’ funds of knowledge, the arts
in education, and urban education. Currently, she serves as co-chair of the
Bank Street College Children’s Book Committee.
Susie Rolander began her life as an educator in Sonoma County, California, teaching and learning from amazing kindergarten students in a school where 20 different languages were spoken. In the dual-language program, Susie taught her students exclusively in Spanish, while another teacher taught the English portion. (Her students didn't even know she could speak English!) After moving to NYC, she studied and graduated from Bank Street College in the literacy program. For ten years, she worked in an NYC public school as a literacy specialist where the most delightful part of her job was connecting students with books. She has instructed and learned from graduate students at Bank Street for the past ten years, first as an adjunct, and then as faculty. Consistently, her students' favorite part of class is when she reads aloud a children's book to end the class. #powerofbooks.
As a faculty member of the Graduate School at Bank Street College, Susan Stires taught writing, reading, language, and children’s literature courses. She was also a lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University, and a staff developer in New York City schools, following 30 years as an elementary school teacher. Along with a book, With Promise, she is the author of numerous chapters and articles on working with young students for whom literacy is often compromised. In her retirement, she has been providing literacy support at Juniper Hill School for Place-Based Education, which was founded by her daughter, Anne Stires, in 2010.
Welsh Kruger, M.,
Introduction: Facilitating Conversations on Difficult Topics in the Classroom: Teachers’ Stories of Opening Spaces Using Children’s Literature.
Occasional Paper Series,