I am an elementary school librarian in an urban setting in Massachusetts. Through the work of creating a more representative and inclusive library collection for my students, I learned a lot about the politics of the publishing industry, the accepted institutional racism and purposeful exclusion of communities in books and that we should be outraged at the continued disenfranchisement of our children.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Seat At The Table

Wow, what a whirlwind the last few weeks have been. I have so many posts I want to write, but I will just have to settle for one post at a time...

I have also been updating my Delicious account with some regularity. There has been such amazing press about diversity and inclusion in children's literature. I am trying to save articles as I see/read them.

A couple of weeks ago at Simmons College (where I received my MLS) during Children's Book week, I was lucky enough to be part of a discussion about diversity in children's literature. The event was hosted Children's Book Council and Children's Books Boston. Horn book was also there. It was called, "Setting A Place at the Table", read more about it here.

The idea was to speed date with authors that wrote inclusionary books. I, of course, became an immediate fan girl, counting my lucky stars to be at such an event and having meaningful conversations with authors I hold in such high esteem. But, it wasn't just authors that were there, but many librarians, publishers and other children's book related individuals that really rounded out the questions.

Fellow fabulous attendees!

We were given questions to discuss and were led by SEED trained individuals. This led to some honest conversations. Why weren't more inclusive books being published? What were we doing to promote "diverse children's literature"? Having the perspectives of many literacy professionals allowed for reflective thinking on the broader literary world as well as our own practice.

Where I get stumped is the "now what?" I am passionate about giving my students a place in my school's library that is representational. But then what? How else do I empower them to understand that they indeed have a perspective and experience worth living and READING about. How is this message conveyed to a 5 year old, a 7 year old or an 11 year old? I'm working on it, folks...

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