Reading Together, Asking Questions Opens Doors for Inclusion

By Stacey Battat, PJ Library professional,

“As Good as Any,” by Richard Michelson, is an award-winning illustrated book on the PJ Library list of recommended books, geared toward young readers with values we can all embrace as we enter the new year and commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The book introduces Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist preacher from Atlanta, together with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi born in Poland. Their names came to stand for the struggle for justice and equality. Martin put out a call for others to join him and Abraham knew he must answer Martin’s call. This story is about how two men formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.

Reading books with your children allows you to learn from their questions and opens new doors for inclusion. We foster the opportunity to engage in a dialogue where we can model asking someone about their culture, gender, race, or differences with genuine curiosity.

Please join us to hear a diverse Ladino Jewish singer/author Sarah Aroeste who will be reading a preschool book and discussing/singing songs from her ancestral roots of Greece and Medieval Spain. Aroeste works to preserve the Ladino (Judeo- Spanish) culture. Her award-winning original Ladino children’s project “Ora de Despertar,” has helped transform and revitalize a tradition.

Here are our two upcoming events where you are invited to bring your young children:

-- Guilford Free Library, Sunday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m. or

-- JCC of Greater New Haven, Monday, Jan 15, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the JCC Vacation Camp. A caregiver is required for all events.

For questions or to RSVP, contact Stacey Battat at


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