The answer is: It depends on the kid, the book, and the village that is willing to create one.
Luckily I started out as a Math teacher so by the time I rolled around to teaching English and reading, it was a no brainer. I just laughed when my kids said that they hated reading more than anything. They changed their minds when I offered to break down and do some Non-Euclidean geometry proofs 🙂
I’m working with a high school student doing a biography research project. Luckily she got to choose the person, and she certainly did. She chose someone who I had never heard of, Kalpana Chawla. She was the first Indian woman in space and died in the Columbia Space Shuttle accident. I searchedand found some videos on her life, but most were in Hindi. The school was unsuccessful in finding her biography and suggested reading about the Columbia accident instead. I told her that I was angry and that I’d find something myself! (sounding like my students). I knew right away that I would never succeed alone. I needed help.
I spent the day at the library with one of my favorite Media Specialists/librarians who looked high and low for just the right book. I explained my student’s dilemma. After an endless search, she discovered Chawla’s biography written in English. The library didn’t have a copy, but at least I had a title and ISBN. I gave the information to her mother, who purchased it online. A package came from India and was there when I arrived…
Kalpana Chawla: The First Indian Woman in Space. It was a 40-page biographical comic. 21st Century librarians rock! The book was packed with information, but was an easy read. She read the entire biography in less than 2 hours. We both learned of Kalpana’s family’s emigration from Pakistan to India and her struggle in pursuing a STEM career as a female. She moved to the US, earning her PhD in Aeronautical Engineering. She joined NASA, eventually becoming the first woman from India in space. She died and is famous for doing what she loved. Her country mourns her death, but at the same time celebrates her life.
Sometimes the student becomes the teacher.