Five College Partnership Programs

Doors to the World: Global Children's Literature for Critical Multicultural Literacies

We are happy to announce Doors to the World, a new Five College Partnership project supported by the Longview Foundation. Through this project, children in grades Pre-K to 3 will build their cultural and linguistic knowledge through their teachers’ utilization of Doors to the World, a multimodal resource website that uses global picture books as entry points for deepening children’s understanding of the world and of themselves.

Apply now! The Doors to the World Summer Institute for Educators, July 13-16, 2015, will launch the project this summer. Join us for an exceptional institute where you will explore diversity and representation in international children's literature and create resources you can use in your classroom to integrate global picture books and other materials into your teaching.

Eligibility: Full-time PreK-3 teachers and librarians are eligible to apply.

Application deadline: June 12, 2015. Successful applicants will be notified by June 19.

Hours: 9:30 am-4:30 pm daily

Location: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA 01002

The institute is free of charge. Lunch, refreshments and materials will be provided and 28 PDP-eligible hours will be documented.

To apply, click here.  A downloadable and printable flyer appears below.  


Project description:

A collaboration among the Five College Schools Partnership, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Hampshire College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) College of Education, the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, and the UMass Amherst Center for Educational Software Development, this project supports global understanding through literacy development, targeting Pre-K to Grade 3 children in U.S. classrooms. We will create an online resource that provides educators with in-depth materials that will enhance their ability to deepen children’s understanding of the world and of themselves. The website will feature a list of carefully chosen published picture books coming from and/or relating to a wide range of countries and cultures, each book presented with curricular, visual and informational materials that richly contextualize the story and enable teachers to readily integrate lessons using the book into their classrooms. The linked materials for each book will include:

  • a cover image hyperlinked to locations where the book can be accessed, such as libraries and bookstores;
  • a list of relevant curricular strands within the Common Core and Social Studies C3 frameworks;
  • links to related “texts” and materials that represent multiple cultural experiences of the story, including visual arts, music, dance, oral storytelling, drama, photography and/or video/film;
  • in-depth information and resources about the place, the author, the origin and the context of the story; and
  • lesson plans for teachers to use with the book and the accompanying resource materials.

The website will also offer conceptual and practical tools for guiding young children toward increased global understanding; guidance on how to find and choose good texts to support global understanding in the early years; guidelines for teachers to help their students create their own texts as they respond to and innovate on the books; a blog/comment space; and, in a future phase, a section for teachers to submit and curate child-generated texts and other materials and lesson plans they develop using the Doors to the World model and resources. 

The metaphors of mirrors, windows and doors have a long association with children’s literature. Children’s books can serve as mirror reflections of readers’ identities and lived experiences. They can also function as windows giving panoramic views of other people’s cultural circumstances. Through imagination, books can become doors that allow children to be part of the world created by the text’s words and images, expanding their view of the world. Critical engagement with global children’s literature can transform readers’ lives because of the reader-text interaction’s potential to affirm, diversify and recast their social experiences within a global context.

Teachers need more resources to help them provide such critical global engagement experiences for their students. Doors to the World will offer directly accessible resources that teachers can use to extend the impact of the books for their students. Global competency in young children is not just about what to read, but also about how to read. Doors to the World gives teachers resources they need to lay the early foundations of global competency through multimodal engagement with culture as expressed in children’s literature.

For more information, contact Marla Solomon.

File attachments: 

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