Windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.” - “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, Rudine Sims Bishop.

This summer, increase your awareness of what you encounter in the books you read and encourage kids and teens to do the same. Who are the characters? Do they look like you? Feel like you? What world do they live in? What obstacles do they face? Use the power of books to connect with the readers in your life and start meaningful conversations.

Looking for fun ways to increase the diversity of what you read and read to others?

Take the Reading Without Walls challenge

  1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you
  2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about
  3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun (a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse or an audiobook)

Check out these amazing award lists

Coretta Scott King Award - Awarded annually to authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African-American culture.

Pura Belpre Award - Awarded annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator for a work of children’s literature that best celebrates the Latino cultural experience.

Schneider Family Book Award - A group of awards presented annually in the U.S. to the creators of books for children and teens with an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Stonewall Book Award - A group of awards presented annually in the U.S for books of "exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience."

We Need Diverse Books - Non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in children’s literature.

Learn more about summer learning at your library.

This article was written by Ashley B., Eden Prairie Library and Minneapolis Central Library.