I have said many times that a book is like an SLPs Swiss Army Knife, so many tools in one awesome package. If you want to see how I plan literacy base therapy you can read about it in this post. Books are so versatile, but when your library isn’t diverse in characters, authors, illustrators, and cultures you are limiting yourself and your students.
It is important that student’s see a representation of themselves in the materials we use, books included. The amount of children’s literature that features BIPOC ( black, indigenous, and people of color ) has grown in the years, but is still limited as a when compared to stories featuring white children. The image below was shared by @sandboxacademy on Instagram. When you see things broken down by the numbers it is very striking.
Even if your caseload isn’t very diverse in nature, not allowing student’s to be exposed to other cultures can limit the wonderful and practical language that comes with that heritage. I am excited to share some titles that can add diversity and would be a welcome addition to any library.
ONE THING FIRST….
Before we dive into some amazing books, I wanted to share some perspective that was thoughtfully shared. Elementary Edventure shared this on instagram a bit ago and resonated with me so much, that I need you to hear it too.
“Your book is not diverse, the collection of books you have is diverse.
A book featuring characters who are Black, does not have diverse characters. A book featuring characters who are Indigenous, Black, Asian, Latinx, and/or white has diverse characters.
If you use the term “diverse books” to describe books having characters ????? ???? white, you are centering whiteness. You are indirectly saying that white is the default or standard.
Diverse is not code for books representing all other races, ethnicities, identities, physical abilities, or beliefs except your own. It means including your own. Language matters.?”
ELEMENTARY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS
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NON-FICTION BOOKS/BOOKS FOR OLDERS STUDENTS
The ‘Who Was..’ series has many titles that focus on trailblazers and innovators, many who of which are people of color. Some titles to check out are:
- The Tuskegee Airmen
- Booker T. Washington
- Venus and Serena Williams
- Maya Angelou
- Muhammad Ali
Counting on Katherine. The story of Katherine Johnson, an African American, female, mathematician for NASA who was critical to the Apollo 13 moon landing.
Salt in his Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream. He almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion — patience, determination, and hard work.
If you are looking for more book suggestions you can check out this post with books that celebrate diversity.