AMPLIFY: Kaitlin Kamalei Jenkins @ Colorful Pages

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My name is Jennifer Miller and I blog about children’s books at Raise Them Righteous. I recently started a new project on my blog – AMPLIFY – to boost blogs and bloggers that I love and am excited to support. Today I’m featuring Kaitlin Kamalei Jenkins‘s website Colorful Pages. Her website & blog have it all – author interviews, lesson plans, book reviews – oh my! Colorful Pages is a great resource for educators & parents – check it out!

About Kaitlyn

My name is Kaitlin Kamalei Jenkins. I am a biracial woman of color: my dad is Native Hawaiian and my mom is White/Norwegian. I was born on the Big Island of Hawai’i, but spent most of my life in Kent, Washington. I graduated from the University of Washington and the Seattle Teacher Residency with my Masters in Teaching. Now, I am Grades 2/3 ELA Teacher in Seattle, WA at a Title I School, an Ethnic Studies Writer for Seattle Public Schools, and a Racial Equity Coach for the SEA Center for Racial Equity. I spend the majority of my “free time” organizing for racial equity within our national and state unions and the Seattle Schools district. I have found that my calling not only lies within the classroom, but also within organizations and the government collaborating and advocating for racial justice!

When I am not teaching or advocating for social justice, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also dance hula with Halau Hula O Lono and am trying to learn ‘olelo Hawai’i (the Hawaiian language) to pass on to my future keiki (children).  I love watching movies with my partner and our corgi, ‘Īlio, and, of course, reading mountains of books!

Question & Answers

Why did you start blogging and what kind of work do you want your blog to do?

It was mid-October 2018 and I had just finished giving a presentation on my Colorful Pages research at the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference in Oregon. Several of the participants came up to thank me for the presentation and one asked me: “So, is your website just” I was confused and told them that I do not have a website. They suggested that I start one because they thought my work would be beneficial for everyone to see and a good resource. I talked it over with my partner and he told me to go for it, so I started!

I created Colorful Pages to help educators, families, and librarians explore the use of multicultural literature to cultivate cultural empowerment and cross-cultural empathy in our students. As a child, the only time I had access to diverse books with Native Hawaiian characters was at home. My teachers were amazing, but they did not know the importance or had access to a list of good literature. Thus, I want Colorful Pages to be a resource for all educators and families to understand how to pick and use diverse books!

How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging for almost a year now! We created Colorful Pages in November 2018, but officially launched and started blogging in February 2019. It has been a very hardworking year, but the impact of Colorful Pages has made it more than worth it!

How do you select books to review? 

Many people ask me this question! Whenever I am crafting an article, I first determine the type of books I am looking for, such as books that feature Latinx characters, ethnic studies books, etc. Then, I try to find various books that meet that focus. I prioritize books written by authors of color because I think it is vital that we are given priority to tell our stories and share elements of our lives and cultures. I spend a lot of time researching authors to make sure they are telling authentic stories. Finally, I read the book and sometimes even read it to my own students to see what they liked about it or what they might change.

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