Choosing Diverse Books

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Ready to take a deeper dive? Let’s go!⁠⁠

Now that you’ve gathered demographic data on your students and completed a diverse books audit, you are now ready to select books to add to your library. This process is likely to take several months. ⁠⁠

When I worked on increasing the diversity of curricular books 20+ years ago, I was fortunate enough to work with a great team of teachers who were willing to form a committee and review books with me. ⁠⁠We came up with distinct criteria (more info below) and agreed to meet after school once a month.

Dividing up the reading in this way made it more manageable and enabled us to review a higher volume of books than if we were doing it alone. (This was pre-social media, so it’s a lot easier now to find diverse titles.)⁠⁠

Remember that simply adding books that include people of color is not enough; we have to choose books purposefully.

Questions such as these from Teaching Tolerance are critical to keep in mind:

⁠⁠🗣 What VOICES does this text include in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, class, age, ability, religion, place, immigration status or LGBTQ+ identity? ⁠⁠

🤳🏿Does this text MIRROR the identities and experiences of my students? ⁠⁠

📝How well does the author KNOW the group s/he is representing?⁠⁠

❌Does the content PERPETUATE or RELY on stereotypes, generalizations or misrepresentations? ⁠⁠⁠

There are a number of online resources that help you evaluate diverse texts. You may want to start with this comprehensive checklist by Teaching Tolerance.

If you want to share the names of specific diverse books that you added to your library or curricula, leave a comment below! ⁠⁠⁠

Yours in Literacy,

Sheila 😊