Christabel Pinto

Senior Director - Room to read, Global Literacy Program

Christabel Pinto

Senior Director - Room to read, Global Literacy Program

Biography

Christabel Pinto is senior director at Room to Read where she leads a global literacy program that brings together the science and magic of reading to leave children with both the skills required to read and a deep desire to do so. Her 18 years of experience in education includes teaching children, facilitating teacher professional development, curriculum and program design, community engagement, and research in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the United States. Christabel is a guest lecturer at San Francisco State University and is a regular speaker at the annual Comparative and International Education Conference (CIES). She has an MS in Education from Bank Street College of Education and an MA in International Education Development from TC, Columbia University.

Children’s Path to Global Citizenship has Stepping-Stones of Diverse Books: How Books Help Readers Embrace our Common Humanity

We live in a time when echoes of divisive rhetoric reverberate across the globe. Drawing on examples from a global collection of more than 1800 original children’s storybook titles developed in 39 languages, this presentation will demonstrate the power of diverse children’s book collections to develop global citizenship and foster a celebration of our differences.

We live in a time when echoes of divisive rhetoric reverberate across the globe. Diverse book collections for young children foster global citizenship and a celebration of our differences.
The ability to read allows us to access knowledge and navigate a world in which facility with printed text is a gateway to economic success. But the ability to read can change lives in a less obvious way: books can quite literally shape our development as people. A good story allows us to take a few steps in somebody else’s shoes and, by doing so, recognize our shared humanity. As we identify with characters’ desires, challenges, motives and feelings, we grow in self-awareness, empathy and the ability to solve problems in real life.

Room to Read has nurtured talent across 18 countries around the world to publish local language children’s books. These books complement Room to Read’s literacy program that teaches reading to children in grades 1 and 2 and establishes school libraries. Drawing on examples from a global collection of more than 1800 original children’s storybook titles developed in 39 languages, this presentation will demonstrate the power of diverse children’s book collections to develop global citizenship by promoting social and emotional skills, reflection and critical thinking.

Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, once said, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” When young children can read diverse books, the single story is shattered, and children develop broader perspectives that foster mutual understanding in the increasingly diverse societies that we live in around the world.