Well, this will be my last posting. What an adventure this has been.
Working in the Marantz collection has far exceeded any expectations I had. The quality and the quantity of the bilingual books (and indeed the whole collection) is very high, and seeing the range of approaches to creating bilingual books has been really interesting. The location of the Marantz collection in the Reinberger Library at KSU is very beautifully laid out, and I have had a lovely working space. I do encourage you to visit if you ever have the opportunity.
Describing how bilingual books are designed, and considering what the linguistic landscape they present tells us is an ongoing journey for me. I am thrilled with the spreadsheet of data I am able to take home with me. I have also learned a great deal from the content of the books. From learning about famous Latino men and women such as Cesar Chavez, who created a union to improve the working conditions for Latino Farm workers to Pura Belpre who created spaces for Spanish speakers within the New York public library system; from the experiences of being a Vietnamese child medical evacuee to being a child in a Japanese intern camp during World War II; from how to make a piñata to how to build a burrito; from the concept of wabi sabi to what racism feels like. In addition to the dual language nature of the book, they are very powerful in their content. [I have to apologise for the lack of diacritics on the Spanish names. I need to work out how to do these]
I also had the unexpected honour of being able to speak (by Skype) with Alma Flor Ada, an educator and prolific and esteemed author who has played a pivotal role in the development of dual language children’s literature in the United States. http://almaflorada.com/
Beside the Marantz Collection, the Reinberger Library has also got many other interesting books, including full sets of the Newbery and Caldecott awards, and I have enjoyed looking through these too.
Not part of the Reinberger, but part of the Department of Special Collections and Archives in the larger university library is a room full of Babar books (in over 20 languages) and memorabilia (3600 pieces in total), donated by a collector named John L. Boonshaft. I was lucky enough to go up into this room and open a first edition copy of the first Babar, and looks through some of the file boxes filled with Babar merchandise of many kinds, from backpacks to bed sets!
The little town of Kent has been a joyful surprise as well. From its delightful town centre, including the “Newdle” shop, the Black Squirrel Gallery, and the yoga studio, to the beautiful paths beside the Cuyahoga river. The loan of the bike from my colleague Marianne made all the difference to my mobility.
I also had the joy of a trip into Akron with Professor Belinda Boone after work on Friday. We visited the Akron art gallery and public library, both beautiful public buildings. And as we returned to Kent we had a magical drive through the Cuyahoga National Park.
I want to end by thanking the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science for hosting me, and in particular the Kenneth and Sylvia Marantz Picturebook Collection Fellowship. Michelle Baldini and Marianne Martens have gone out of their way to ensure my stay was comfortable and enjoyable. I have learned a great deal and made new friends. I hope to be back!