Empathy and understanding in a world full of differences is crucial for our kids as they grow and develop. As we read with our children, we should strive to read books that feature characters that look like them (“mirrors”) and those that don’t (“windows”). In this way, books become “doors” that readers can walk through to understand others’ experiences more fully, and gain empathy for those whose experiences are different from their own.
For more information about “mirrors” and “windows,” see Rudine Sims Bishop’s “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors,” published in 1990.
Children’s Picture Books
Middle Grade and YA
For hundreds of years, the United States has been an unequal society, and yet most people would say they are not racist. “Not racist,” however, doesn’t mean much; to move our society and culture toward justice and equality, we must be anti-racist. We must all grapple with the history, and how the present is built on the past.
How to be anti-racist? Listen and learn; read and discuss. (If discussing race has been a choice for you, rather than a necessity, that in itself is white privilege.) One way to start is with books written by Black authors and other Authors of Color (AOC). Whether it’s a contemporary novel, a futuristic sci-fi saga, a memoir, essays, or a nonfiction examination of the justice system, books can provide windows into how other people experience the world.
In the library, we strive to provide stories by diverse authors for a diverse audience, so that everyone may see themselves reflected in books, and everyone can see the world differently through others’ stories. We hope you enjoy some of the following titles – please don’t hesitate to ask us for more suggestions!
Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction