James Choi is the Head of the Lower School at The Lovett School in Atlanta, GA.
1. Why are you an educator?
Education is a powerful way to help others while also learning about yourself. As Martin Luther King Jr. is credited for saying, “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
2. What are you working on now?
Building relationships with students, families, and teachers. I enjoy getting to connect with people on an individual basis and am looking for creative ways to carve out intentional time to do that.
3. What were your favorite children’s books to read when you were a child?
Amelia Bedelia books were one of my favorites – who doesn’t love a good pun! I also enjoyed the Goosebumps series.
4. What contemporary children’s books do you recommend?
One book I have on my shelf is called the Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg.
It’s a book I’ve read to our Kindergarten students on occasion as a reminder that the value of mistakes is what we decide to do with them afterward.
5. Why is diverse representation in children’s literature important?
I think literature is meant to offer us windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors.
They are windows that open up perspectives beyond our own, mirrors that help better understand and see ourselves, and sliding glass doors that transport us into other worlds that help us cultivate empathy and understanding.
6. How can educators use children’s literature to teach empathy, kindness, and tolerance?
I think it can be helpful to use literature to teach character because we can draw lessons and reflections that extend beyond our own life experience. The same is also true for movies or other forms of media when used intentionally.
7. Where may we find you online?
I have made a conscious decision to detach from social media. I much prefer face to face conversations or phone calls!