Thanks for joining Donna Washington for the virtual storytime, Under the Baobob Tree. The video to this event expires on February 7, 2021.
Donna is a highly animated performer, able to captivate even the hardest-to-make-sit-still audiences. For over thirty years, she has been inspiring audiences with folklore, literacy tales and personal narratives.
In addition to being a “Walking Disney Movie” (yes, she has been called that!), Donna takes pride in being an educator. She provides a wide variety of workshops and trainings on subjects like the research of language and literacy, incorporating creative assignments and storytelling techniques.
More so, Donna also continuously educates on Black history. In her blog post, “Practical Black History,” she says, “Black history is about taking a moment to remember that our country’s history is dynamic and everybody who had ancestors here helped build it even if our textbooks keep forgetting to tell the whole story somehow.” Through her storytelling, Donna does just that. She writes excerpts and spotlights Black individuals that have contributed to history. She has written about Mary Beatrice Davidson, the inventor of the sanitary pad; Archibald Alphonso Alexander, an engineer and mathematician; Ernest Everett Just, a biologist and zoologist; and so many more.
But what Donna Washington really excels at is bringing African folklore to life, telling stories of overcoming fear, problem-solving and positive racial identity. In this way, Donna’s work directly aligns with the research of University of Pittsburgh’s P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education) Report. The research states, “Positive racial identity development has been linked to a plethora of affirming social, emotional, and academic outcomes in children from preschool age through high school, including better problem solving and improved behavior.” The P.R.I.D.E. Report emphasizes the importance of continuously increasing community awareness as well as developing and identifying resources that build positive racial identity in children.
Donna has focused her career around being a role-model educator, developing curriculum, training and implementation of resources that foster children’s racial and cultural pride. She emphasizes the importance of listening to and giving space for voices belonging to people of color. Storytelling is a powerful tool used to unite communities, show perspective and share experiences. Within her storytelling, Donna creates an environment that both educates communities across the globe and shows the joy in sharing culture.
We’ve created a librarian-selected booklist catered to Donna Washington’s event, focusing on the topics of Black storytelling and positive racial identity.
To read more about Donna’s message, view Donna’s work and watch her storytelling, visit her website.
To read more on University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development’s research, the P.R.I.D.E. report, or their programs, visit their website.
University of Pittsburgh School of Education Race and Early Childhood Collaborative. (2016). Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education: Understanding PRIDE in Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh, PA.
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