Archives For Cross-cultural

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).

After expanding their cross cultural knowledge base, my students were almost ready to face the paparazzi. (See this post for how they got there)

In other words, they were nearly ready to play the “Get to know a Hispanic Hero/Heroine bingo game” that I created for them. But first they needed to do a little more work to be an expert.

  • They re-read their mini-biographies and reviewed why their person was famous. They had already highlighted keywords in the paragraph to determine that as the main idea of the paragraph. ( In case you forgot, I found their age appropriate biographies at Scholastic’s site for Discovery History Makers.)
  • They then identified at least one fact about their Hispanic Hero/Heroine that they thought their classmates should know. I had already told them they were going to be “interviewed” by the paparazzi (their classmates).
  • Students then received “Get to know a Hispanic Hero/Heroine bingo game”. Click here for a downloadable version.


  • Once they had found a teacher, or astronaut, etc., they asked the student the name of the Hispanic Hero/heroine that he or she was portraying and recorded it in the appropriate square.
  • They then interviewed the Hispanic Hero/Heroine and recorded the “interview”.
  • The goal was to get a bingo and be able to boast about how much they knew about as many Hispanic Heroes/Heroines as possible.

This week, students will take their paparazzi questions and turn them into “WHO WAS/IS clues” to scatter around the school. Each clue will say ask a third grader for the answer.

This way each child can take pride in the beginnings of their journey as they expand their cross-cultural knowledge and understanding of Hispanic Heroes/Heroines.

Obviously, this unit on learning about Latinos/as can be adapted to any group of individuals. I particularly like thinking about windows and mirrors and groups that aren’t often addressed in the mainstream curriculum. So feel free to adapt this idea for differently abled people, or Cambodian contributors, or whatever under-represented group that you feel passionate to share with the world.

Let me know how it goes.