Diversity in Kid Lit- It’s not just about color.

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As I was reading the CBC Diversity article “Here I am” by Brian Pinkney I couldn’t help but think about my reluctance to read “boy” books when I was younger. I only wanted to read books with girl protagonists or mostly female characters at least. I didn’t think that I would find boy adventures interesting or a boy’s perspective relevant, but I’m sure you can imagine how many awesome books I was missing out on because my prejudice.

Diversity isn’t only an issue about color. It’s about sex, culture, disabilities, class, and even religion. Kid lit is the perfect place to start exposing children to lifestyles that differ from their own. It is the responsibility of librarians, teachers, and parents to employ diversity into the books that they buy and read to children. I think that Pinkney’s tips are a great way to get kids interested in different kinds of books than they are comfortable with:

  1. Cover Conversations: Before even opening a book, engage a child in a discussion about its cover by saying, “Wow, look at that boy on the front. He’s got drumsticks in his hand. What do you think this story is about?” And then inviting the reader open the book to find out more.
  2. Make it Personal: Ask a kid, “What are some of the things in this story that are similar to your own life, family, school, dreams, plans, etc.?
  3. Teachers Teach:  Insist that your child’s teacher or school librarian always, under all circumstances, include books during story times and in classroom libraries that include people of color. Most folks are well-intentioned, but sometimes forget.
  4. Sail Away: Let a book’s story drive a child’s interest, rather than the color of its characters. Invite kids to create their own adventures based on the book’s themes.

Challenging Myself (Realistically)

I don’t think I need to go on another rant about how difficult this semester has been for me so far in the regards of having time. I don’t have much time that can be used for “wiggle room” – I have to have a very strict schedule in order to get everything accomplished so, this blog is a perfect time for me to reflect on what I have done so far this semester, what I would like to improve on, and how I would like to take it to the next level.

  1. I need to stick to my original plan of going to the library for four hours every thursday. This is my one day off (usually) and I need to use it wisely. I always do homework at this time, but I need to go to the library where I won’t be distracted by cats, or dishes, or anything else. I’ve decided I will go get a nice latte beforehand and make it MY time.
  2. I would like to read more award winners and honor books. It may seem like a cop-out but I can’t chose just one award category that I like best, so until I do I would just like to read a little of everything.
  3. I AM THE WORST ABOUT COMMENTING ON OTHERS’ BLOGS! This really needs to change. I am really good about replying to comments and if you commented on my blog I have definitely checked your blog out and probably even commented on a post or two, but I am awful at going to my Feedly and seeking out posts. I plan to work on that.
  4. Goodreads. What happened? I used to be obsessed with my Goodreads account – always adding books to my shelves and rotating and rating them, but I have been slacking on there too.

I wish all of these flaws could be chalked up to my insane schedule, but unfortunately my little bout with senioritis has a bit of an influence too.

BUT I’m challenging myself to do better. And ideally I would like to continue on with these goals through the semester and beyond.

What are your goals or challenges?

As always, any advice or comments are welcome and highly appreciated!

Weekly Advice: October 26, 2014

?Recently I have been having a very hard time with living in Chadron. It’s nothing against this quaint, friendly town. In fact, I love Chadron and often call it home. I live in a lovely one bedroom cottage a few blocks from campus, I work in a locally owned coffee shop, and I have amazing friends who insist on a weekly mandatory ladies night. It’s only missing one thing really… my family. I miss them every single day and feel like our monthly visit just isn’t enough anymore. I am roughly three semesters away from graduating, but each day I consider throwing away three years of hard work and money just so I can pack up my cats and move back in with my parents. Wow, it sounds even crazier writing it down.

My advice this week is for anyone struggling with making a difficult decision like mine, or even the person who can’t decide whether they should go to the gym or not: Make a list of reasons to do it!

Reasons to stay in Chadron
1. To finish my degree
2. So I can have better career opportunities
3. Therefore I can have a more comfortable lifestyle
4. To continue on the path with my long-term boyfriend
5. So I can be proud of myself
6. So my family can be proud of me
7. For the friendships I have made here
8. Because my parents have sacrificed a lot for me to be here
9. To prove to everyone who have doubted me
10. Because I am blessed to be here

So there you see, I have a pretty great list of solid reasons to continue my education in Chadron. In the end, I will have more opportunities and better options for sticking to my original plan and graduating next spring (hopefully sooner).

You could also make a list of pros and a list of cons to compare when making a similar decision. Just make sure that you are being honest with yourself when you are breaking down your lists or it will never work!

Good Luck,

Jaycie