The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) is pleased to announce that the 2011 Bridge to Understanding Award will be given to the Nativity School of Cincinnati, Ohio for The Friendship Journey, a project that promotes cross-cultural understanding between children from America and around the world through children’s books, classroom projects, and international exchange.
Established in memory of Arlene Pillar, an educator who served USBBY as newsletter editor from 1984 until her untimely death in 1990, the Bridge to Understanding Award formally acknowledges programs that use children´s books to promote international understanding among children.
Lee Galda, chair of the 2011 selection committee, noted that "The Friendship Journey helped students go beyond surface features of food, fashion, folklore, famous people, and festivals to explore culture as a way of living and being in the world. Each year Nativity families welcome students and teachers from abroad through their Student Exchange Program. Since 1979 Nativity has partnered with 36 schools in 22 countries. In September 2010 delegations from Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Ukraine spent one week at Nativity to collaborate on The Friendship Journey initiative working in international teams on science projects with students in Kindergarten through Grade 8. Throughout the year, a teacher from their sister city of Liuzhou, China, works with students to teach Chinese culture and language."
The Friendship Journey began in 1979 when the Nativity School made a commitment to global education. The school library is the center of the program, with books, memorabilia, and maps to help students begin learning about their partner countries. Integrated across grade levels, their global studies program introduces first graders to other cultures through books and visits from native speakers. Sixth graders explore the complexity of Muslim cultures in such nations as Morocco, Bosnia, and Taiwan.
The award, which carries a $1,000 monetary prize, will be presented to principal Robert Herring on Saturday, June 25th at the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, during an ALA-USBBY co-sponsored session. Details about the Nativity School and its programs can be found here.