Learning black history through book tastings


The next time you walk into Landon's Lower School Library, two teacher-coach-mentors might treat you to a feast.

As part of Landon's celebration of Black History Month and an effort to introduce boys to a wide range of topics in black history, Lower School Bears took part in an experiential learning lesson that transformed the library into a literary restaurant.

Draped with red-checkered tablecloths, the library's work tables transformed into spaces for family-style dining, where students sampled a wide variety of black history books – everything from picture books to chapter books.

Set up like a four-course meal, boys read a short preview of a book assigned to a meal "course" – one book each for an appetizer, soup, and entrée – while listening to classical tableside music. After each book preview, the students wrote a summary and explained whether or not they enjoyed the beginning of the book.

PIcture of a pile of books on a table with a place setting

The dessert course, however, is the only non-literary part of the feast, where librarians Kim Coletta and Sandy Blasey serve a sweet snack for the boys to enjoy while they read their last book.

After the tasting was over and the boys picked out a book about black history that they found particularly interesting, they shared it with the class. Coletta believes the lesson helps impart the importance of honoring Black History Month.

"(The boys) preview books they often haven't read," said Coletta. "At the end of the book tasting cycle, boys come back and check out a lot of the books they 'tasted!'"