Mirrors and Windows: How to Diversify Your Classroom Library
“From a very young age, we’ve got to make sure our children have access to books that reflect their world, reflect their lives…also books that show them the world that is outside of themselves.” ~Kwame Alexander, Newbery Award winning author
Books are essential to every classroom because of the power of the written word to inform, entertain, affirm, validate, and connect our students and their life experiences. Currently students in many classrooms lack access to a diverse range of books. This is a major equity and social development issue. The first step to tackling this problem is to inventory/audit your current classroom library to look for books that highlight a broadened definition of diversity which includes racial/cultural, theme, topic/subject, authors, illustrators, and character diversity. The second step to solving this problem of diversity is knowing where to go to purchase diverse books, ensuring that stories are authentically written by and about people of color. The course finishes–using examples from the middle elementary grades, but whose principles apply to all classroom libraries– with ways to use resources like Scholastic Book Club, We Need Diverse Books, and your local library to stay current with diverse literature, build a diverse library, and use the literature throughout the entire school year.
About the Instructor
Wandiza Williams is a 19-year veteran within the New York CIty Department of Education who specializes in upper elementary grades 3 – 5 with a specific focus in ELA instruction. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Literacy-Reading/Language Arts in both the early elementary and middle school grades. Wandiza has held many different leadership roles such as Literacy Coach, Curriculum Leader, and New Teacher Mentor. She is an avid reader, book collector, and her passion for children’s literature extends beyond the classroom with community and business relationships with companies like Scholastic Inc. to get quality books in the hands of every child.