For the 2016-17 school year, I've decided to take on my own personal challenge. I have been moved and inspired by the We Need Diverse Books movement and see clearly how much greater representation of different cultures, genders, sexuality, sizes and ideas in literature (particularly youth literature) would directly impact my very diverse population of students. So for the next school year, starting in September 2016, I am challenging myself to read only books featuring characters, stories, or information related to under-represented groups of people. I'm calling it Reading in the Margins (nod to Hattie Maguire for the title inspiration) because I'm seeking the stories of people and groups who are often marginalized in literature. My interpretation of marginalization includes those featuring minority races and ethnic groups, non-traditional gender and sexuality identification, under-represented religious affiliations, oft-forgotten health and disability categories, and probably many other representatives that I have not yet considered. I fully expect my parameters to be fluid, changing and shifting as I discover new titles and texts and as I ponder those students I know who rarely see themselves in the literature that is available to them.
I plan to blog about my experience and, as always, feature my favorite titles in my Friday Book Reviews. I am also hope that in the scope and depth of my reading, I am able to draw some conclusions that would be valuable enough to share with other teachers, librarians, etc.
I would like to focus on the newest books released that meet my parameters so that I may expose myself and anyone who cares to join me in my challenge to new and exciting titles.
Do you know of a new book (Summer 2016 or later) that features marginalized character(s) that meet the parameters stated above? Comment below to share the title. I plan to spend this summer building an epic, diverse, and exciting reading list!
***Update - I was unfamiliar with the In the Margins book award, selected by Library Services for Youth in Custody, when I named and then posted my reading plan. I am in no way affiliated with this award, but I appreciate what it stands for and will likely use it as a source for reading ideas throughout the next school year.***