Elevating Boise’s diverse leaders and the children's books they love!
Turning Pages is a collaborative effort featuring twelve local Boise BIPoC leaders, reading and discussing children’s books that hold deep meaning and importance to them. Each ten-minute episode includes the reader’s introduction of their personal journey, examples of overcoming barriers, celebrating who they are, and how each selected book has enriched, inspired, and encouraged them. Turning Pages was created to center BIPoC voices and role models, while elevating the importance of reading and literacy. Each episode seeks to engage K-6th grade learners, teachers, and parents in discussion and awareness of the diversity of experience and expertise found in our community. Integrated art lesson videos are provided for each episode and are created by Collister UMC member and art educator, Wendy Blickenstaff and art major students at Boise State University.
The History of Turning Pages: The foundation of the Turning Pages project was built upon existing ministry. Collister UMC has partnered with Taft Elementary (a Title 1 school in Boise) for several years, and in the fall of 2020 our Racial Justice Ministry team looked for ways to connect our antiracism efforts in the community. After speaking with school leaders and individuals from Boise’s African American community, we developed a free YouTube channel that would both elevate BIPOC voices and faces in the Boise area, and simultaneously lift up role models for elementary students, with an emphasis on literacy. We hired a Black-owned business, 18TenMedia to film and edit episodes and invited leaders who were teachers, musicians, business owners, scientists, activists, police officers and the Boise State Basketball coach to take part and also featured in an episode. Local Boise hip hop artist, David "Eleven" Maxwell wrote and recorded the opening theme song. In the episodes, each leader shares a bit of their personal story, including things they liked to do when they were kids, challenges they had to overcome, and their love of reading. Then they read a page from a children’s book and shared their connection with that story. We funded this project almost entirely through the interfaith communities of Boise, and grants received through the OR-ID conference. Additional funding was provided through Idaho Business for Education. This collaborative funding includes episode sponsorships, as well as Title 1 school "Book sponsorships." Each of the Title 1 schools in Boise received a set of books shared in Turning Pages as a result of this Interfaith collaboration. One of our Collister team members created integrated art lesson videos that can also be found on this free youtube channel. Boise elementary school teachers and librarians used this curriculum and shared powerful stories of connection with their students. We’re beginning to plan for a season 2 and are looking forward to collaborating with Treefort music festival Fall of 2021, as they feature Turning Pages at one of their events.