I have to tell you about a little secret. Hopefully it will become something everyone knows about soon, though, because it is SUCH A TREASURE!!
As an end-of-year gift, I was sent on my Winter Break with a gift card from our school’s PTO (thanks Mrs. Sisul!) to Eyeseeme, and independent bookstore near here. They operate with the mission of helping every kid see themselves in the books they read. This is such an important work and as far as I know, they are the only bookstore of their kind in our area. I visited it today with my teacher friend and her kids, and WOW did we discover a treasure! It’s only been recently (through the help of many smarter-than-me teachers and librarians on Twitter and some great teachers I work with) that I’ve become more aware of the inequality that exists in children’s literature as it pertains to characters of color–or anyone who isn’t white, really. It is really sad when I think about how many kiddos never get to see books with characters that look like them. I know that for too long I’ve taken that fact for granted. And man–for a long time I didn’t even know it was a “thing.” I know I only have that luxury because I’m white. Anyhow, I’m hoping to continue to help this group of kiddos see themselves, as well as look for and EXPECT to see diverse books around them.
Our class has already been on a little journey of our own to read books that contain black and brown characters, and so of course, we were treated with many options for new books to enjoy together with Mrs. Blair’s collection at Eyeseeme. Check out what I ended up coming home with today:
I found some favorites that I’ve read in previous years but just didn’t have a copy of yet (like Those Shoes and Pretty Salma), as well as some that are from authors that Rm. 202 kiddos already know (Sand Sister, Just a Minute, Pecan Pie Baby and Another Important Book), as well as some that I know will become some of our favorites since they contain strong, powerful characters (all the rest of that pile! hee hee). I CANNOT wait to share these with my first grade friends!
Oh, and thanks to some very kind Rm. 202 families, I was able to add some other new titles via Barnes and Noble. Here are a few that I got the other day:
I have all of the rest of that I AM series in the classroom and was excited to complete my set! I found Ada’s Violin on a “Best of 2016” list and Luna & Me just looked great. I was able to grab some Lauren Castillo books and a couple of other good ones before break, too, but they’re at school and so I don’t have pictures. Oops. Either way, it’s raining books in Rm. 202 right now and that’s a great way to start a new year!! We are so blessed. 🙂