Neighbors at the lake: Helping bring books alive for kids

news@lakewyliepilot.comFebruary 5, 2013 

Dorothy “Dot” Guthrie always knew she wanted to play a role in enriching others’ lives with books.

“Being a part of a Clover sharecropper’s family, we could not afford books,” Dot said. “Sometimes our mailman would bring us old copies of books and my mother would read to us by the potbelly stove. As a result, I knew at a young age I would be a librarian and work to make books interesting for children.”

Dot did as she dreamed and is currently the media specialist at Crowders Creek School, but she didn’t stop there. She was sworn in to the Gaston County School Board in December. She’s also the jury chairperson for the Coretta Scott King Awards Committee, sponsored by the American Library Association. The CSK Award honors the artistic expression of the African-American experience through literature and graphic arts.

“I just returned from the ALA’s midwinter conference in Seattle where the CSK Awards Committee deliberated on the 2013 award winners. We had 22 exciting contenders, but only one in two categories – best author and best illustrator – were chosen.”

The jury deliberates on the ability of the books to enhance common core classroom instruction.

The resulting winners are Andrea Davis Pinkney, author of “Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America,” and Bryan Collier, illustrator of “I, Too, Am America.”

“‘Hand in Hand’ takes readers on a biographical and historical journey via the lives of black men, who, from Colonial times to the present, greatly impacted American history,” Dot said.

In “I, Too, Am America,” Collier offers a picture book rendition of Langston Hughes’ famous poem – ”I, Too, Am America” – as a tribute to Pullman porters.

“Collier’s illustrations marry the historical with the present, taking all Americans on a journey of pride,” Dot said.

These days, Dot keeps a very busy schedule, but you can often find her where she loves to be: in the school library with her students, enriching their lives through literature.

Wendy Dimitri of Lake Wylie is a freelancer writer. Email neighbors column ideas to

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