We Need Diverse Books

{Image of a wooden bookstore sign that reads “BOOKS”}

{Image of a wooden bookstore sign that reads “BOOKS”}

As a new school year approaches, many teachers are getting their classrooms student-ready. Interactive notebooks, sharpened pencils, and germ-free desks (ha!) eagerly await the day when they will become an integral part of student life.⁠

But what about the books? 📚⁠

Powerful initiatives like @WeNeedDiverseBooks encourage educators to regularly place a broad spectrum of texts in students’ hands. Expert Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings posits that diverse books serve as both mirrors and windows to the world. Students who see themselves reflected in literature gain a sense of validation that their voices matter. That THEY matter. Concurrently, diverse books provide a glimpse into the lives of people who may be different from the reader in some way. From there, empathy grows. 💓⁠

I first started taking a deep dive into diversifying curricula and my class library about twenty years ago. Back then, there weren’t as many published books featuring people of color in non-stereotypical roles. Today, books like The King of Kindergarten, Front Desk, and The Hate U Give are available for student immersion in ways that make my heart swell. 🥰⁠

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share some of the lessons that I learned (and continue to learn!) about integrating diverse books in the classroom. ⁠

Won’t you join me? ❤️⁠

Yours in Literacy,

Sheila 😊