Monday, November 1, 2010

Check out this guy!

Dr. Anthony Hutchison is a
former gang member who
traded guns for a guitar.

His name is Dr. Anthony Hutchison, and he’s part of the Toronto Public Library’s “human library event.”

Hutchison is one of 60 “human books” you can check out, just like you would a book from the library. The “books” will be signed out for a 30-minute conversation in a quiet area of the library.

All of the human “books” have very striking life experiences, and thus very interesting stories to tell.

The idea behind the human library is to expand our understanding of people, by getting to meet and talk with them about their lives—lives which may be very different from our own. The concept begin in Copenhagen in the early 1990s to combat prejudice. Countries all over the world now hold human libraries and some even have permanent collections.

Dr. Hutchison, for instance, is a former gang member, illiterate and unhappy. Today, he is a doctor who works with at-risk youth.

“At the age of 15, in 1983, I put down my two guns and my gang colours for a guitar,” he says. “The resources to help me put my life back on track mainly came from a local community public library.”

How did he manage that life transformation? You have an opportunity to check him out for 30 minutes on Nov. 3 and find out.

Other human "books" include:

Rosa, a gay teen; journalist Barbara Turnbull and her service dog Bella; anti-poverty activist Michael Creek, who was homeless; Tibetan Buddhist Monk Tenzin Kalsang; and "Raging Granny" Phyllis Creighton.

Five libraries in Toronto will participate in the one-day pilot project:
Toronto Reference Library (Yonge and Bloor)
North York Central Library (North of Yonge and Sheppard)
Bloor Gladstone Branch (Bloor and Dufferin)
Lillian H. Smith Branch (College and Spadina)
Malvern Branch (Sheppard and Neilson)

Curriculum Connection
“Does anything in this story remind you of anything you’ve seen or heard of?”

“What do you think about this library program?”

“What conclusions can you draw from the events or information presented in the text?”

Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (e.g., identify traits they admire in the characters; comment on actions taken by characters (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Make judgements and draw conclusions about ideas in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8)

Grammar Feature
Bullet point. Bullet points are a text feature designed to help readers gain information quickly and efficiently. With your students, highlight the bullet points and discuss why an author would use bullet points. As well, use metacognitive strategies to illustrate the effectiveness of bullet points.
The idea behind the “human book” program is to “expand our understanding of people, by getting to meet and talk with them about their lives—lives which may be very different from our own.” Why do you think it is important to meet and talk with different people? Is there a danger or problem that arises when people stop meeting new people?

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