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Are we doing it white?

Martha and I are teaching a class–that is, we are trying to teach a class, which has thus far been cancelled twice due to snow–on reviewing, and we’ve just assigned the students Malinda Lo’s provocative series of essays about reviewing and diversity. You all should take a look, too. It’s reminding me of a too-brief […]

Thinking about school as a privilege

As our year in second grade began last fall, my students and I spent some time thinking about why we go to school. In our first few weeks together, I tried to help my students understand that going to school is a privilege that has not always been (and is still not) available to everyone. […]

We need diverse books because of Ferguson

I have no idea what actually happened between Mike Brown and Darren Wilson in those unfortunate moments — and neither do you. Some people lie. Some cops lie. Evidence can be portrayed or interpreted in multiple ways. Let’s stop pretending that we (or our news sources) are the sole possessors of indisputable facts. But don’t let that cause you […]

#we need diverse (picture) books

Of course we do. Last year’s amazing crop of picture books included those illustrated by artists of color such as Yuyi Morales, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Angela Dominguez, Bryan Collier, Don Tate, and Kadir Nelson. This year we will see picture books illustrated by Christian Robinson (two of ’em), Yuyi Morales, Raul Colon, Duncan Tonatiuh, Jason Chin, Susan […]

#Weneeddiversebooks

I was having a passing conversation recently with a high school senior in a humanities classroom, and he said he hated “school books.” I asked why, and he said the only time black people are in books at school, they are slaves. It made me want to cry. Or maybe scream. Then I thought of […]

The Faces in the Picture Books

Try mentioning the phrase multicultural literature to teachers, librarians, editors, or writers these days. A fair number of them will sigh, and you may even notice their eyes rolling back in their heads. “Oh, no,” you can hear them thinking, “not that again.” We know it’s a topic of great importance, and we’re sick to […]

Family Is What You Have

Last year, on a twenty-seater plane coming home from a speaking engagement, it became apparent that I was the only person on board not related to everyone else in the passenger section. My closest fellow passenger sat across the aisle singing a song about the purple dinosaur. She smiled at me—my cue to dig a […]