• Diversity Resources

    Molly of Denali

    Molly of Denali is a podcast for children that is unique from other children’s podcasts for several reasons.  The main character, Molly, is a 10 year old Alaskan native who is curious, adventurous, and solves mysteries.  What sets the podcast apart from others is that all of the indigenous characters are voiced by indigenous people.  This is a huge step in the right direction for appropriate representation.  Many television shows, movies, and podcasts have the right intentions but they make the mistake of casting people of different ethnic backgrounds to tell the story of Native Americans.  The podcast takes place in modern day Alaska, and it is the first of…

  • Diversity Resources

    We Need Diverse Books

    “Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.”  This is the tagline on WeNeedDiverseBooks.org.  This website provides teachers, writers, and caretakers with the resources they need to create a more diverse library for all of our readers.  The website offers a variety of resources from a blog highlighting their press releases to a page that sends site-users directly to websites where they can purchase diverse books or read book reviews.  The site also has information about how anyone can get involved in their diverse books movement and information about different programs that they offer.  This website is important in advocating for more…

  • Books

    Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev

    Author Lisa Mantchev discusses inclusion in this thoughtful book about children with pets who are a little different than your fish, cat, or dog.  While the book does not explicitly address diversity and inclusion of people, it focuses on what friends do for each other.  This book should not serve as a replacement for diversity books in your classroom library, but rather as an introduction to teaching about diversity and inclusion.  I have used this book in the beginning of the school year, especially during New Jersey’s Week of Respect (the first week in October), to introduce a discussion on what makes a good friend.  The book follows a young…

  • Diversity Resources

    #1000BlackGirlBooks

    Marley Dias, 14 year old literacy activist, has curated a campaign to make aware the lack of diverse picture books for children.  She started the #1000BlackGirlBooks movement at the age of 11 in an effort to gain more awareness of the rather large gap in publishing between books about white characters and books about diverse populations.  Her movement has been an inspiration for all; she has been an example of children making a difference in education for the last 4 years.  The campaign website, GrassROOTS Community Foundation, is a resource guide that provides information about their causes, their program, and upcoming events in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New York,…

  • Classroom Library

    Read Aloud with Young Children: What Questions to Ask

    Children learn about the world through picture books.  Children form judgments and opinions based on what they see and what they determine as factual evidence.  Children who are provided non-stereotypical and non-gender conforming literature will be more critical and thoughtful when placing judgments and forming opinions about genders, cultures, and races.  In a study conducted by Flerx, Fidler, and Rogers (1976), it was found that reading egalitarian literature with children for 30 minutes a day over the course of five days a week resulted in these children to have a decrease in stereotypical thinking.  The children in this study were ages four-five. It should be embedded in every early childhood…

  • Research

    ProLiteracy: U.S. Adult Literacy Facts

    Proliteracy is an adult literacy and basic education membership organization that has a dedicated mission to help adults all over world become empowered, educated, and connected to others through literacy.  The organization seeks to change lives and help adults break the cycle of poverty through education.  This organization seeks to connect adults to each other by encouraging adults who are literate to advocate on behalf of other adults and volunteer to help other adults learn how to read.  The literacy skills of adults in our country greatly impacts the quality of life of our children because 72% of the children of adults who struggle with literacy will have the same…

  • Books

    Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh

    Duncan Tonatiuh has done it again!  In his 2017 book, Danza!, he tells the story of Amalia Hernández, founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México, her dance company that combined modern dance and ballet to the traditional Mexican folk dances.  Tonatiuh’s signature illustrations pay tribute to the ancient art of the Mixtec people, who are indigenous to Mexico.  Tonatiuh’s book tells the story of how Amalia became inspired to dance, formed her dance company, and honored Mexico’s history of the art.  The picture book biography provides the reader with new, enriching vocabulary, beautiful illustrations, and the fascinating story of a Mexican woman who set out to reach her dream with…

  • Diversity Resources

    AERA Annual Meeting, Toronto, April 2019

    The weekend of April 5th-8th I spent visiting Toronto, Canada.  As a member of AERA, I attended their Annual Conference to check in with the latest research in education.  I had the opportunity to sit in on many different topics, with one that stood out to me and my areas of interest.  I attended a session on the Gentrification of Neighborhoods and School (Re)Segregation.  The session was chaired by Janelle Scott from University of California- Berkeley and Jennifer Jellison Holme from University of Texas at Austin.  The presenters examined what happens to schools in cities that have become gentrified.  Some schools suffer low enrollment as rent goes up and low-income…

  • Research

    Lee & Low Diversity Baseline Survey

    Lee and Low Books, a publishing company dedicated to publishing the stories of diverse people, conducted a baseline survey in 2015 to examine diversity in publishing.  Lee & Low Books is a publishing company that seeks to publish the stories of all people.  The purpose of their diversity survey was to gather information on the following categories: gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and (dis)ability.  In 2018, Lee & Low posted an update on their diversity in children’s books survey, informing that there was an increase in diverse authors publishing. Companies like Lee & Low Books are important to the fight for representation in children’s literature.  Their diversity baseline survey not only…

  • Books

    Skin Again by bell hooks

    bell hooks is widely known and recognized for feminist theory, examining culture and race, and writing.  Skin Again, which was published in 2004, is one of hooks’ published children’s books.  The book addresses the issue forming opinions or making judgments based on skin color.  The beautiful illustrations done by Chris Raschka compliment hooks’ poetic telling of two people, different by skin color, explaining that while their skin color is a part of them, it is not all of them.   I selected this book for our multi-age preschool classroom library when we were studying the human body.  Students had many questions about our skin, why some of us are lighter or darker…