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We Need Diverse Books

There’s a huge campaign right now called We Need Diverse Books. If you’re a social media geek where literature is concerned, I’m sure you’ve noticed #weneeddiversebooks as you scroll through your timeline. The campaign appealed to me because I’m a big advocate of the second law of library science:  every reader his or her book. There’s no better way to get a child motivated about reading than to provide him or her with a book they can connect with. And for some, this means providing them with books where the characters “look like” them.

What is diverse? Does diverse mean just providing books with black characters or written by black authors? Absolutely not! There are so many types of books that can be considered diverse. I think it’s important we have books that relate to minorities and people of color, religion, disabilities, gender identity and LGBTQ. Books that incorporate these various themes provide opportunities for bibliotherapy, learning, and sensitivity. If you aren’t familiar with bibliotherapy, it’s a form of therapy in which books are used to help individuals through personal, emotional problems. Providing access to and promoting diverse books offer readers a look into the lives of others as well as a chance to understand cultures and lifestyles in an effort to become sensitive to them.

As you can see in this infographic, there’s a lack of diverse books in comparison to the immense number of books published annually.

So, do we need diverse books? Of course! But first, let’s start with the ones we already have. Recently, I’ve read of instances where educators have endured backlash (for different reasons) for their use of diverse books in the classroom during storytimes. As an individual who is open-minded about reading and tries to encourage that in the students I serve, this bothers me for two reasons. One, because of the closed-minded persons who frown upon celebrating diversity. And two, because of the fear of retribution created in educators because of such headlines. So, my challenge to educators, parents, and others who influence our children and youth is for you to not only encourage a love of reading, but also expose them to the many different types of people, cultures, and lifestyles that make up our diverse country. By exposing them, we inform them; in return, creating a society of open-minded, sensitive, and empathic citizens. Earlier this year, I accepted the We Need Diverse Books challenge to read 15 diverse books this year. To date, I’ve read 21 and am still reading. Will you take the challenge? If you need a place to start, visit your local library and check out these diverse titles.

Elementary

Big Red Lollipoplollipop

Written by Rukhsana Khan

Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Published by Viking, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-670-06287-4

Format: Picturebook

40 Pages ~ Ages 5-8

What makes it diverse? Arab American


Last Stop on Market Streetmarket

Written by Matt de la Peña

Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Format: Picturebook

40 Pages ~ Ages 5-7

What makes it diverse? African-American

Head over to my previous blogs Playing Catch UpWhen Love Wins, and Jazz Journey for some other recommendations.


All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovelitalian

Written & illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-96642-2

Format: Picturebook

40 Pages ~ Ages 5-9

What makes it diverse? Italian American

Head over to my previous blogs Playing Catch UpWhen Love Wins, and Jazz Journey for some other recommendations.

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Playing Catch Up

Life’s been really busy, hence I haven’t posted in a while. I so thought I would be able to manage working full-time, 9 hours of classes, 10 hours for my graduate assistantship, holding offices in multiple professional associations, mentoring student-athletes, AND maintaining this blog. All of those things and some others have caused me to realize I’m only one person and can only do so much. So, blogging has taken a back seat, but that doesn’t mean reading has. Here’s a brief glimpse at some of my recent faves I’ve read over the past few weeks. I hope you check them out…literally.

Fiction

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs goldie

Written & illustrated by Mo Willems

Published by Balzer + Bray, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-062-10418-2

Format: Picturebook

40 Pages ~ Ages 4-8

Brief Summary

Enjoy Mo Willems’ take on the classic Golidlocks and the Three Bears as a family of dinosaurs sort of, but not really, set a trap to lure Goldilocks into their tidy abode. Will the hungry dinosaurs eat her or can she break free? Rating: 3 stars


Wolfie the Bunnywolfie

Written by Ame Dyckman

Illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Published by Little, Brown, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-22614-1

Format: Picturebook

40 Pages ~ Ages 3-6

Brief Summary

After abandoned Wolfie is left at the doorstep of the Bunny family, Papa and Mama fall in love with him, but little Dot is not happy. She misses the attention from her parents and wishes they hadn’t adopted Wolfie. What will she do? Rating: 4 stars

Here’s the trailer!


Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colorsgolden

Written by Hena Khan

Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

Published by Chronicle, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8118-7905-7

Brief Summary

This is an absolutely amazing book! Khan and Amini teach colors and culture to young children in such a beautiful way. The glossary at the end is a huge bonus. I used it while reading to help understand a few words I was unfamiliar with. Rating: 5 stars

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This One Summer


This One Summersummer

Written by Mariko Tamaki

Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Published by First Second, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-626-72094-7

Format: Graphic novel

320 Pages ~ Ages 12-15

Brief Summary

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer is the coming-of-age story of prepubescent Rose and her best friend Windy. She and her parents vacation annually in their cottage in Awago Beach. Every summer, when Rose is not partaking in family BBQs or collecting rocks with her dad, she is spending her time being a kid with Windy – a year and a half her junior. The two are typically found swimming in the lake, digging holes in the sand, playing MASH, and (this summer) watching horror movies. Yet, the inseparable pair of preteens – one basking in childhood and the other on the cusp of adolescence – seem to be growing slightly distant; evident in Windy’s silly banter and Rose’s periodic disinterest in it, focusing instead on a summer crush. Rose accepts Windy as a pleasant distraction from her parents incessant arguing and her mother’s depression, yet becomes intrigued with the drama of local teens. This summer looks to prove whether or not Rose is outgrowing her younger best friend and if her family can find a way to heal from the hurt of unsuccessfully having a new baby.

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