Tag Archives: gender

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want My Future Children to Read

14 Nov

There are so many amazing books available to kids in this day and age. It was hard to pick just ten, but I focused on ten titles that show a wide diversity in terms of culture, gender, race, ability, socioeconomic status and more. It’s important for kids to see all different type of people in books and I think these titles are a great place to start for middle grade readers looking for diversity.

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  1. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
  2. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
  3. Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  4. The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez
  5. George by Alex Gino
  6. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  7. Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
  8. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
  9. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
  10. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

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Looking at Diversity from Another Angle

5 Mar

i just recently read a response by author, Shannon Hale about an experience she had visiting a school where only the girls were allowed to attend the presentation because her books are deemed “girl” books.  Although many of Hale’s books feature female protagonists, what are we telling students when we only allow girls to hear a presentation like this, but when a male author comes to visit everyone is expected to attend.  And sadly, this isn’t the first time this has happened to Hale, it has occurred in a few other schools as well.

A seven-year-old girl was able to get ABDO publishing to change the name of a series of books entitled “Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys.” Why did she write a letter? Because “You should change from ‘Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys’ into ‘Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys and Girls’ because some girls would like to be entomologists too.”

A number of years ago we had a book discussion for middle school kids (grades 5 – 8) on Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis.  A boy absolutely loved the book and asked many time about borrowing the sequel when it was published.  Is Emma-Jean a “girl” book? Nope, it’s a book for anyone who wants to read it.

I’ve posted about this issue before, I have the greatest job in the world – finding books that kids want and need at a specific point in time. It’s about providing a kick-butt reader’s advisory interview and knowing a collection. I try and keep up with new literature and although sometimes it feels like my job is never over, I love seeing a kid’s face light up when we’ve found the perfect book.

Diversity Focus

2 Mar

I’ve posted before about the importance of diversity in children’s literature, but for the next few days, I’m going to focus specifically on diversity because it is so important in the library world.  I grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania home to a small (very) conservative college, General Electric, and about 95 – 98% of the population is white… you get the picture.  Because my parents were professors of Adapted Physical Activity, I grew up around people with a variety of disabilities from intellectual to physical, adults and kids.  We grew up volunteering for Special Olympics, being camp counselors for sports camps for kids with disabilities, and generally learning that having a disability – doesn’t make you “bad” or “wrong,” it just means you might have to do something a little differently to make it work.

Although maybe not conscious of it, I looked for a job after graduate school that would be in a diverse community filled with different languages, cultures, and religions.  I’ve lived, now, in the same community for almost seven years, and I absolutely love it!  I have learned so much about other people’s cultures and opinions and I truly believe it makes me a better person.

So many people think that diverse books are only for diverse kids – but in reality, diverse books are just like any other books – they’re for everyone.  Not only is it important for children to see themselves in the books they read, it’s also important for them to have the experiences in books they might not have in the real world.  And it’s our job as librarians, parents, publishers, to provide kids with the books they want and need.

For more about diversity and this year’s award winning books from ALA Midwinter, check out the School Library Journal article that was just published today – “The 2015 Youth Media Awards: A Crossover Year for Diversity.”

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