I love books and I certainly have more than my share–in bookcases, stacked in piles, loaded on my Kindle, and in my classroom. Over the last decade or so, I have been making an intentional effort to diversify the books that I read in the classroom.
I’m always on the lookout for great new books–and there are so many to choose from. While I understand the value of a fine classic, I don’t think that today’s learners should have a steady diet of the same books we read as children. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to introduce students to books they might not pick up on their own–titles that might not be on the shelves of the local Barnes and Noble or might not show up as the most popular books…yet.
I’m learning to be discerning. To check out the authors. To be aware when a book written from a native perspective is actually written by a native person, and to prioritize #ownvoices when possible. I want to read books that offer students windows and mirrors, representing the widest possible array of backgrounds, cultures, abilities, and perspectives. I want the books I read to open conversations, to allow students to see themselves and to see those different from them. I want them to provoke questions, to spur action, and to offer possibility.
Some of the many books I have read to my class this year include (I limited myself to only 10 here):
All are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
A Normal Pig by K-Fai Steele
Listen by Gabi Snyder
The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt by Riel Nelson
Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Mendez
Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard
Keepunumuk by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, and Alexis Bunten
Fitting In by Haruka Aoki and John Olson
Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Pena
I love to talk books with teachers and others. What are some of your favorite books to read in the classroom? How do you make decisions about what to include?