Diversity in Education
Even two years later, the infographic on the left is close to correct. It is an important issue for parents, schools, libraries and students to confront by requiring an ongoing effort of all who select books for K-12 students.
ISSUES AROUND DIVERSITY IN K-12 BOOKS
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “The Danger of a Single Story.” TEDGlobal 2009. Video. “Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.”
Aguilar, Leslie C. Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts... Communicating Respectfully in a Diverse World, 1st Edition. Walk The Talk, 2006. If you want to be a more effective communicator in today’s diverse workplace, this book is for you. If your organization wants to ensure that employees avoid biased, stereotypical and demeaning communication at work, you will find the guidance you need in this book.
Banaji and Greenwald. Hidden Blindspot. Delecorte, 2013. “…explore[s] the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality. “Blindspot” is the authors’ metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups—without our awareness or conscious control—shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential.”
BCALA and ALSC. “Community, Connecting, Cultivating & Constructing Conversations Through Literacy Reading List (Preschool-12th grade).” Black Caucus of the American Library Assn and Assn for Library Service to Children.
Dankowski, Terra. “Bookend: Beyond Words.” American Libraries Magazine, 8 July 2021. “When Tenzin Kalsang, children’s librarian at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library’s (BPL) Williamsburg branch, started an online series of bilingual storytimes in April 2020, the native Tibetan speaker couldn’t have predicted she’d become an overnight sensation. After all, BPL wasn’t new to hosting programs in Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and other languages—nor was the system unfamiliar with virtual storytimes, which typically attract 100–300 people. …”
#DisruptTexts. This website and Twitter feed offers a crowd-sourced collection of recommendations to diversify literature study in K-12 classrooms.
Hinton, Marva. “Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with “Classic” Books That Are Also Racist.” SLJ, 28 May 2020. “Figuring out to how to handle classics that critics say haven’t aged well can be tough for librarians charged with putting together school collections. Students have been reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the “Little House” series for generations, and for many years, having these “classics” available in school libraries was a given. But today, some media specialists are questioning the proper place for these and other novels.”
Hollie, Sharroky. Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning – Classroom Practices for Student Success, Grades K-12 (1st Edition). Shell Education, 2011. Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning uses research, best practices and evidence-based teaching strategies to provide practical activities and information to support the modern-day teacher. Beginning with background knowledge and loaded with tons of teacher-ready tools to use right away, this book can ignite growth in your teaching and classroom management. (The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning)
Janosz, Lia Fisher. “Listening to the Little Voices: Making Students Heard with Your Collection Choices.” KQ blog, 30 June 2021.
Kay, Matthew R. Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom. Stenhouse , 2018. “Inspired by Frederick Douglass's abolitionist call to action, “it is not light that is needed, but fire” Matthew Kay has spent his career learning how to lead students through the most difficult race conversations. Kay not only makes the case that high school classrooms are one of the best places to have those conversations, but he also offers a method for getting them right,…”
Love, Bettina. We Want to Do More Than Survive. Penguin RandomHouse, 2019. “…persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements.”
Martin, Amy. “Too Good To Be True? Picture Book Portrayals of Police Officers Don’t Reflect Everyone’s Reality | Opinion.” SLJ, 2 June 2020. “My one-year-old daughter is really into trucks right now. One of her favorite books of the moment is I Love Trucks by Philemon Sturges. Every time I read it to her, she points to the trucks pictured in the back and makes me name them. She starts with the one labeled “police truck,” with the description, “A police truck often carries rescue equipment, such as inflatable boats and a giant airbag.” I contrasted that with the police trucks I saw today on my Twitter feed, in the downtown streets of my city—Oakland, California—all weekend…”
Muhammad, Gholdy. Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. Scholastic, 2020. “…presents a four-layered equity framework—one that is grounded in history… The equity framework will help educators teach and lead toward the following learning goals or pursuits: Identity Development; Skill Development; Intellectual Development; Criticality.
Sensoy and DiAngelo. Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, Second Edition. Teachers College Press, 2017. “…addresses the most common stumbling blocks to understanding social justice. This comprehensive resource includes new features such as a chapter on intersectionality and classism; discussion of contemporary activism (Black Lives Matter, Occupy, and Idle No More); material on White Settler societies and colonialism; pedagogical supports related to “common social patterns” and “vocabulary to practice using”; and extensive updates throughout.” High school and older.
Teaching Tolerance. Reading Diversity Toolkit. Offers Teacher Guides for a few books for various levels in K-12, as well as a free downloadable PDF guide to selecting appropriate diverse texts.
Venkatraman, Padman. “Weeding Out Racism’s Invisible Roots: Rethinking Children’s Classics | Opinion.” School Library Journal, 19 June 2020.
SCHOOLS & SYSTEMIC PREJUDICE
Alexander, Victoria Lynn. Anti-Racist Resource Guide: Education. “The Anti-Racist Resource Guide was created for anyone looking to broaden their understanding of anti-racism and get involved to combat racism, specifically as it relates to anti-Blackness and police violence. Within this guide, please find a variety of resources to explore practical ways to understand, explain, and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity, white supremacy, police violence, & systemic injustice.”
Bailey, Nancy. “The Racism Behind Firing Librarians and Closing School Libraries.” Nancy Bailey's Education Website, 26 May 2021. “If a school has no school library or a flimsy excuse for a library, students are denied access to books and reading material. They miss opportunities to learn information and become proud of who they are. Look for racism behind the decision.”
Becton, Steven and Kaitlin Smith. “How Do We Pursue Equity in Education? By Learning, Unlearning, and Muddling Through.” SLJ, 29 June 2021.
Donaldson, Pamela E. and Laura Tavares. “Educating for Equity: Ideas, Resources from Facing History and Ourselves.” SLJ, 28 June 2021.
Gershonson, Seth and Nicholas Papageorge. “The Power of Teacher Expectations.” Could differences in teachers’ expectations of white students and black students help to explain gaps in key outcomes such as college enrollment and completion? “To explore these questions, we analyze the federal Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, which followed a cohort of 10th-grade students for a decade. Among other questions, the students’ teachers were asked whether they expected their students to complete a four-year college degree. We use these responses to first document the presence of racial bias in teachers’ expectations, and then study the effects of differences in teacher expectations on students’ likelihood of completing college.”
Gewertz, Catherine. “Survey of Mostly-White Educators Finds 1 in 5 Think Textbooks Accurately Reflect People of Color.” Teaching Now blog (EdWeek), 29 June 2020.
Kelley-Mudie, Sara. “Who Has History? And Who Has Issues?” AISL Independent Ideas, 6 Oct 2021. “… There are two issues here: what’s being collected, and what’s being curated. I’m guessing that there is a fair amount of overlap in terms of sources between these two databases, but the way they are organized is very different. And that framing matters. It’s similar to having a diverse print collection, but only displaying and promoting books with cis, hetero, white protagonists. However, I also suspect that the collection of resources that Gale is pulling from to curate these Topics could stand to be significantly more diverse in any number of ways. It’s hard to curate materials you don’t collect. …”
Kozol, Jonathan. “Savage Inequalities.” Brainwaves production. “In the passion of the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, Jonathan Kozol gave up the prospect of a promising career in the academic world, moved from Harvard Square into a poor black neighborhood of Boston, and became a fourth grade teacher. He has since devoted nearly his entire life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity to every child in our public schools.” He is clearly still fighting in this 5:30 minute video.
Quinn, Christina. “Dismantling Systemic Racism Starts In Schools, Educators Say: Decolonizing The U.S. School Curriculum.” WGBH Boston podcast, 6 Aug 2020.
Racial Equity Education Resources. The organization states “The connection between systemic racism and inequality is no longer deniable, and it’s time for our school districts to shuffle themselves over to the right side of history and address both in a profound and effective way.” The Resources offer links to curricula and textbooks at K-12 levels, as well as consulting support.
Smith, Daniella. “Teaching Within Context.” KQ blog, 27 Sept 2021. “…the censored Dr. Suess books could be used as teaching materials. However, my comments must be placed within context to understand my reasoning. There is a difference between leaving them as freely accessible materials on the shelves and securing them to use selectively for teaching purposes.”
ILLUSTRATING THE PROBLEM
Lu, Denise et al. “Faces of Power: 80% Are White, Even as U.S. Becomes More Diverse.” NYT, 9 Sep 2020. “These are 922 of the most powerful people in America. 180 of the identify as Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, multiracial or otherwise a person of color.” In a creative digital format, this article illustrates with photographs of police chiefs, prosecutors, Trump appointees, Supreme Court Justices, military chiefs and more.
Smith, Daniella. “Three Strikes and the Truth.” KQ blog, 29 July 2021. “Like most people, I am complex. I was born with what some people may define as “three strikes” that hinder success. I am blessed to have a support system that helps me to navigate them. Even as an adult, I have benefited from numerous good-hearted individuals who have recognized my skills and potential. I choose to understand my strikes and use them to empower myself and others. … I am a woman. … I am African American. … I am dark-skinned.”
VIDEOS & SERIES ON DIVERSITY IN K-12 BOOKS
Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices. Netflix. “…a live-action collection of twelve five minute episodes featuring prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children's books from Black authors that highlight the Black experience.” “The books featured in the series were chosen using a social justice education framework that focused on concepts of Identity, Respect, Justice, and Action. In addition to the series selections, [there] are recommendations for additional books, questions, and activities for children of different ages.
VIDEO Lin, Grace. “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf.” TEDX video (12+ minutes), 18 March 2016. “What your child reads sets the path for their own self-worth as well as how they see others. Grace Lin is a children's book author/illustrator whose book, “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” received the Newbery Book Honor. She shows how the books that are not on your child's bookshelf are just as important as those that are.”
VIDEO Lin, Grace. “Cultural Mirrors and Windows.” Reading Rockets video (3:58 minutes), 23 Apr 2014. “Lin's first picture book, The Ugly Vegetables, was based on her mother's garden and her own childhood experience as the only Asian girl in her class.”
VIDEO Sims, Rudine. “Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Doors.” Reading Rockets video (1:33 minutes), 30 Jan 2015. “We need diverse books because we need books in which children can see reflections of themselves – but also look through and see other worlds.”
Dahlen, Sarah Park. "Picture This: Diversity in Children's Books 2018 Infographic." Musings on Korean Diaspora, Children's Literature, and Adoption, 19 June 2019. Infographic - even from 2018, this will be useful. https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/picture-this-diversity-in-childrens-books-2018-infographic/