photo credit: Boy Reading Book from Pixabay by Thế Anh Trần and Girls Reading from FreeImages by joana franca
AASL Shared Foundation and Key Commitment II: Include
Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to inclusiveness and respect for diversity in the learning community.
Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.
We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry. Our aim is to help produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
When Donalyn Miller was here in Rochester in the Spring of 2019, she made a strong case for the link between better reading scores and greater access to books. In their 2018 book, Game Changer! Access to Books for All Kids, Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp state, "Without access to books, the persistent gap between children who have access and those who don't will remain. Our students will not reach their full potential without books, regardless of the educational reforms schools implement (Miller and Sharp 8)."
On the very next page they express, "The book access we offer children in school must be as varied, relevant, current, and engaging as possible. For many children, school offers the only access opportunities in their lives, so it has to count (Miller and Sharp 9)." Varied and relevant, and DIVERSE. This is true of kids no matter what type of setting they live. Even if students have a multitude of books at home, chances are they will not offer students a diversity of perspectives. It is up to us, as school librarians, to provide a diverse collection where all students can feel represented and learn about our American and World community members.
By creating diverse reading collections in our schools, we will be cultivating empathetic readers, understanding citizens, and people who see the commonality among all humans. We will create a culture of readers.
Lin, Grace. "The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child's Bookshelf." YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 18 March 2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=_wQ8wiV3FVo.
Miller, Donalyn, and Colby Sharp. Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids. Scholastic Inc., 2018.
Ngozi Adichie, Chimamanda. "The Danger of a Single Story." YouTube, uploaded by TED, 7 October 2009, https://youtu.be/D9Ihs241zeg.
Park, Linda Sue. "Can A Children's Book Change the World?" YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 2 December 2015, https://youtu.be/40xz0afCjnM.
"The Real Reason We Need Diverse Books." YouTube uploaded by We Need Diverse Books, 3 November 2014, https://youtu.be/wEtVUladmjM.