Blind spots

Oct 6, 2018

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Laura McShane

This past week, a mom asked me to help her second grader, reading at a fifth grade level, to find chapter books suitable for her daughter to read. Mom and daughter were both born in China. This mom, like a lot of moms, picks out the books for her kids, which is not an unusual situation. The daughter reads and reads and reads.

I felt overwhelmed by this request, because usually I can find books that might appeal to a specific audience, but in this case, I drew a blank. Where are the books showing young Asian girls as heroes? Sensitivity to this situation has challenged the publishing world to provide more diverse characters in literature for children.

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I attended a recent book talk by Derrick Barnes and Gordon James, the author and illustrator of the award-winning Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. They have stepped up to publish books that feature young boys that look like them. It helped them to find a supportive publisher:

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I need to step up my book selection to also reflect the young girls in my diverse Cleveland neighborhood. Help me build a bibliography. If you are an author or illustrator - please contact me !


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