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March 22, 2024

Books can empower students to create positive change: Madeira McQueen | My Bookmark

Madeira McQueen (she/her) is a national IT support technician for Reading Partners. She remembers her literacy journey starting with her parents reading to her before bedtime. 

“When I look back on reading as a child, I remember it took me a little longer to genuinely enjoy reading on my own,” she says. “However, when I was little I loved “story time” at the end of every night, just before bed time. My parents would read to me and I loved listening, following along, and spending time on each page to look at the illustrations.”

the rainbow fish book cover; books can empowerNaming just one of her favorite books from that time is tough, but Madeira remembers loving both Stellaluna and The Rainbow Fish

Stellaluna was a favorite of mine because it was about taking care of one another, and how not all families look the same,” Madeira says. “I loved the book The Rainbow Fish because it was about what friendship and sharing looks like; and I also just loved the fact that the fish was rainbow and had sparkly scales!”

As Madeira grew up, she found that she wanted to read for pleasure, but could never find the time for it. Between school and other responsibilities, reading wasn’t her priority. 

But now, she’s been able to set a routine of reading each night. 

“In developing this routine, I’ve also expanded my interests in different genres which has been especially fun. For example, I never really read mystery books in the past, but now I’m a huge fan,” she says. “When I’m hooked on a really good book, I typically feel fully immersed, excited, and curious.”

A couple of years ago, Madeira’s career took her to teaching in an elementary school classroom. She was thrilled to see the amount of kids books that embraced diversity and different cultures. She made sure that her own classroom library was filled with books that reflected the lives of her students and their backgrounds. 

“When I was younger, it was difficult finding books that I could relate to or that had characters that looked like me. So, this is definitely something I wish I had when I was younger!”

When she thinks about the role that books can play in society today, Madeira’s thoughts are overwhelmingly positive: “I think books can empower our young students to create positive change in the world. I truly believe that the more joy and confidence our students build for reading, the more knowledgeable and curious they become.”

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