Sealaska Heritage Institute
All three Baby Raven Reads books published by Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) last year have been chosen for an annual “best-of-the-year” list compiled by a nationally-known literacy group.
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), which is affiliated with the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, chose Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Raven and the Tide Lady, Raven Makes the Aleutians, and Raven Loses His Nose for its Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices 2019, which identifies “excellent literature for children and adolescents,” according to its website.
“We are thrilled to hear this news,” said Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl. “The Cooperative Children’s Book Center is nationally known for its work in identifying books that promote diversity and that are written about people of color by people of color. It’s so important for children to see their cultures reflected accurately in books, and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center is doing important work in this field.”
“All children and young adults deserve excellent literature that reflects their own experience and encourages them to imagine experiences beyond their own, which satisfies their innate curiosity, and which invites them to dream,” said Cooperative Children’s Book Center Director Kathleen Horning. “We believe such literature fosters a fundamental understanding of themselves and one another, stimulates their creativity, and, most importantly, enriches their lives.”
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center recognized books in sixteen categories this year. Sealaska Heritage Institute’s books were in the Folklore, Mythology, and Traditional Literature category, along with two other books.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. Sealaska Heritage Institute also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.
Baby Raven Reads promotes early-literacy, language development and school readiness for Alaska Native families with children up to age 5. Baby Raven Reads was recognized in 2017 by the Library of Congress, which gave Sealaska Heritage Institute its 2017 Best Practice Honoree award. In February 2018, the American Indian Library Association gave Sealaska Heritage Institute's book Shanyaak'utlaax: Salmon Boy its American Indian Youth Literature Best Picture Book Award.