Archives For March 2015

So you’ve identified the gaps on your shelves. (If you haven’t, click here to find out how.) You know you need certain windows and mirrors. You’ve determined that you should add some missing voices. And you don’t have as many multiple perspectives on a topic as you’d like. Now what?

Don’t panic! I’ve done some of the work for you and am sharing it with you now. I’ve compiled an ever- growing list of resources that I personally use to build an inclusive and anti-bias library. However, the list is only as good as my own research and it’s also hindered my own blinders or sweet spots.

For example, even though I’ve consciously been building diverse book collections for a long time, it was only a few years ago that it occurred to me to analyze the bookshelves for class bias. Focusing on other sweet spots of collection development impacted the children I teach. They did not have access to windows and mirrors that encompass the range of economic diversity. The books on my shelves mainly contained the default in most books: the middle class. While it’s tough to find books that portray a variety of socio-economic circumstances in positive light, it is our job to seek them out.

My list of resources and my own analysis of my collection is also only as strong as my blind spots. Recently, I asked attendees at a MSLA workshop about creating cross cultural collections. They identified some gaps, mirrors and windows, and missing voices that I had never even considered.

Why? First, because we all have our own biases whether we want to admit them or not. Secondly, the librarians, teachers and administrators who were present at the conference, serve different communities than I do. So of course, they quite rightly have different identities on their radar.

What I love about this work is when we share our concerns; we can pool our knowledge and broaden each other’s horizon.

Someone in the workshop said she was looking for Cape Verdean resources. Sadly, you aren’t going to find these books when you walk into a Barnes and Nobles. So I started to dig. I had never researched books for this identity before. I was thrilled when I found out that Janet Costa Bates, a woman whom I often see at New England SCBWI conferences, had published a book about her grandmother’s experience of emigrating from Cape Verde.

I was delighted to discover this fact for a number of reasons.

  1. Another person helped me think outside my own boundaries and inspired me to seek out resources for which I might never have looked.
  2. I discovered that it is hard to find windows and mirrors through traditional sources; but with some work they are out there. (Here’s Mike Monteiro’s list which is also included in the resources below.)
  3. There are some (though too few mirrors) available for the Cape Verdean community that you might serve.
  4. This is a perfect example of why we need to share our personal stories. I’ve casually chatted with Janet over the years. But it wasn’t until writing this post that I understood what mirrors she was offering a community of Massachusetts residents. If it wasn’t for the participant in my workshop who caused me to think in a new direction and if it wasn’t for Janet quietly writing her story, my students may never had a chance to experience a life so different and similar to their own. Because of course, I am now adding the Lee & Low new voices honor award winner, Seaside Dream to my own library collection!

So please, enjoy the resources I’ve compiled thus far. (If you share them with others just cite my work). But more importantly, share with me your resources. Tell me what you looking for so together we can grow a comprehensive list for every identity and every single story that adds to the multiplicity of that identity.

And don’t forget to check back here periodically as I am continually updating the below Symbaloo resources for developing diverse bookshelves! (click on the image for the topic links)

Anti Bias Articles

antibais

If you are a in a school, don’t miss out on the link to access your school’s demographic data and a multicultural appendix B list for the common core.

Race & Ethnicity Resources

The icon for each ethnicity links to multiple resources.

The icon for each ethnicity links to multiple resources.

LGBTQ Resources

There are other resources in the gender and family structure sections.

There are other resources in the gender and family structure sections.

Gender

Some of these resources deal with questioning  gender identity while others deal with more traditional gender stereotypes and related issues.

Some of these resources deal with questioning gender identity while others deal with more traditional gender stereotypes and related issues.

Family Structure

Many more resources on the way.

Many more resources on the way.

Religion

Only a few religions are represented so far. More are coming. Click on the religion's icon for more resources.

Only a few religions are represented so far. More are coming.
Click on the religion’s icon for more resources.

Ability

There are multiple identities within the community of the differently abled. Here is the beginning of a list to provide windows and mirrors for this group of individuals.

There are multiple identities within the community of the differently abled. Here is the beginning of a list to provide windows and mirrors for this group of individuals.

 

English Language Learners & Bilingual Resources

Sites to purchase materials in various languages and articles about bilingual topics.

Sites to purchase materials in various languages and articles about bilingual topics.

Class

 

Examining for class is tough. Most books have a middle class default. It's important to see out a spectrum of economic realities.

Examining for class is tough. Most books have a middle class default. It’s important to see out a spectrum of economic realities.

 Diversity Blogs

Some blogs I follow to stay current on diverse resources to build an anti bias bookshelves.

Some blogs I follow to stay current on diverse resources to build an anti bias bookshelves.

General Resources

These sites could help you build your collection in various areas of identity

These sites could help you build your collection in various areas of identity

 

 

Advertisements

What blind spots does your bookshelf reveal? How do you analyze book collections for often unconscious bias? (Read here for an overview of all the steps to building an inclusive bookshelf.)

The only way is systematically and deeply.

It is tough to see what is invisible. But as gatekeepers of children’s books and subsequently the shapers of how a child understands the world, we must try.

Three lenses help bring biases into focus. Windows & mirrors. Missing voices. And multiple perspectives.

1. Examine the windows and mirrors.

• Check for mirror books, books that reflect your audience’s experiences.
• Look for windows, books that open up your audiences understanding of other experiences.
• Do you have more windows than mirrors?
• More mirrors than windows?
• Every child needs a variety of mirrors that reflect the complexity of his or her identity. This way his or her sense of belonging and value are validated.
• All children should have their world view expanded beyond their own borders. Reading about others encourages understanding, empathy and celebration of all humanity.windows&mirrors=global

2. Consider the missing voices.
• Whose stories are being told?
• Look at your non-fiction. Do you have just the victors’ story?
• Do your inventors, scientists, mathematicians, leaders, etc. represent a variety of races and include both male and female?
• Do you have materials that reflect voices rarely heard? Fantasies that have a differently abled heroine? A novel that shows an African American as neither victim, perpetrator nor a historical figure?

3. Analyze for multiple perspectives.
• If you have a title that depicts Christopher Columbus as an explorer hero do you have a title that considers the indigenous perspective?
• Do your Thanksgiving titles just focus on food, families, friends and celebration? Or do you include materials that share the Wampanoag’s point of view?
• Do these stories reflect the spectrum of experiences for that identity? For example does the collection have Puerto Rican, Dominican, and a variety of other Latino/ Hispanic voices? Or are all the titles examples of a Mexican experience?
• Do the voices paint just one way of life within a particular community or is there diversity of looks, family, work and so forth within that group?

As you try and balance your bookshelf with windows and mirrors, multiple perspectives and missing voices, you may not be able to fill the gaps on your own.
Don’t worry; I will soon post an extensive but not exhaustive list of resources to help you find these books.
Also feel free to leave a comment below sharing what titles you might need and I will see if I or other readers might have suggestions.

What world do your collections offer children?

That was the question I recently posed to librarians and other educators at the Massachusetts School Library Association Conference.

The workshop was specifically designed to help librarians examine their materials for bias and to give them the tools to build diverse collections.

But really all bookshelves, large or small, few or many, should be an inclusive representation of all the multiple ways of being.

There are four tools you need to build bookshelves that prepare children to be empathetic problem-solvers in a global world.

steps to build antibias

  1. IDENTIFY the audience or demographic.
  2. ANALYZE the collection /bookshelf for windows & mirrors, missing voices, and multiple perspectives.
  3. WEED out the Ds. These are books that are damaged, dated, don’t leave the shelf, and are discriminatory or stereotypical.
  4. GROW. Add books and other materials that provide windows & mirrors, that offer insights into many different experiences that show more than one view of a community. Scour resources that recommend inclusive, diverse, multicultural, and or anti-bias works. (Check back soon for an extensive but not exhaustive list to help you start).