From Ed Week: Teachers Push for Books With More Diversity, Fewer Stereotypes
Most texts feature white characters
For decades, children’s books in school libraries and classrooms have overwhelmingly featured white faces. And as the U.S. school-age population grows more diverse, students of color are less likely than white students to see books with characters that look like them or share their cultural background.
Some educators and children’s book authors are trying to change that.
Nonprofits like We Need Diverse Books advocate for children’s literature that better reflects the experiences of all young readers. In online communities, such as those formed around Twitter hashtags #DisruptTexts and #DiversityJedi, teachers, authors, and critics discuss which books are given to students in classrooms and what messages they convey. Even DonorsChoose.org, the school crowdfunding platform, recently pledged to match donations to teacher requests for diverse learning materials.
The ripples of this ongoing conversation have reached a lot of classrooms, said Jess Lifshitz, a 5th grade teacher at Meadowbrook Elementary School in Northbrook, Ill.
“More teachers now know it’s the right thing to have books that represent a wide variety of people,” said Lifshitz. But, she added, “I think people do that, and they kind of want to check it off the checklist.”
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