VOYA – Voice of Youth Advocates

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I struggle as I write this wondering, is it because I teach second grade? Is it because I prefer a picture book? Or, because I can find the theme and message behind the words of a picture book or create and literacy lesson from the opening of a picture book” So, like any unfulfilled learner, I open the site and try again. I research and tap and click and tap and click to find more incentives to continue searching this resource. Voila – I find it!!

At first, I felt discouraged by the smaller fonts and the … honestly, the more I searched the less I knew. It was my lack of knowledge that made this task more overwhelming than others. I did not recognize authors’ names, book titles, and the first article I read made me a little sad. No, a lot sad. I had stumbled upon a post focused on domestic violence. This topic brings an instinctive gasp of disgust. Located through the TLT link, Teen Librarian Toolbox, the post boasted an intriguing lead and several book covers strewn throughout the article. cannot figure out why this site has been my least favorite to search and manipulate. What i could not understand was how the titles and the topic were related. At points reading, I thought that the post was quoting the books, but I hadn’t noticed transitions. This article aligned to my beliefs and concerns about children, violence, and media. Simply, I sat confused at the layout and the purpose. Instead of embracing the platform, I clutched to the topic, and the topic impacted my ability to proceed.

As often happens, after a stumble comes a rise. Upon a second review, I found VOYA’s purpose statement, the “Booklists”, and the treasure box, “TLT.” VOYA is a library journal specifically intended for librarians who service teens, tweens, and young adults. It offers ideas of fostering reading, authors’ interviews, incredible book reviews, and an advocacy principles supporting teen readers. The booklist range from award winners to recent titles and favorite choice reads. Finding the additional menu on “TLT” extended the options for ideas  in fostering readers, activities for the library space, and a wonderful arena for teachers/librarians to share ideas. The rise from the first stumble found me climbing to more challenging books and ideas to impress my excitement over reading at a higher level.

Most importantly, here I found the reason I need to invest time in VOYA is the precise reason I began the stumble. Primary children, early novels, and picture books cement my knowledge base and enhances my literacy lessons each day. However, elementary school librarians cement a base far extending past the primary wing and meaningful picture books. As I explored more of the VOYA site, comforted by the clearly written author interviews, specific book reviews, and “Things I Never Learned in Library School,” I understood that the discomfort I felt was just the beginning of learning.   

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