Diversity is the Heartbeat of Our Humanity

 //  Feb 19, 2015

Diversity is the Heartbeat of Our Humanity

Diversity is the heartbeat of our humanity. Books are mirrors into our inner lives, and also windows to the world. Our school and classroom libraries, on and offline, should be a reflection of both.

Finding a character who lives part of your own story is deeply powerful for a growing child. The thrill that ran through me when I recognized myself, my scrawny, shy, dreaming self, when I read Anne of Green Gables, or the thrill that ran through me when I recognized another part of myself in Jo in Little Women, who penned her stories in her "garrett," is unforgettable to me. All children should have the opportunity to have that thrill run through them, the recognition of a character that is alike to you at your core.

Having those stories that accompany us as we try to make sense of the world and our role within it builds confidence, resilience and the courage to say, “My story matters.” For this reason, the word "diversity" is sometimes made too narrow. It should encompass every aspect of the human condition, from race to culture to language to experience to sensation to struggle to joy. Diversity is the human condition.

Jaqueline Woodson, winner of the 2014 National Book Award for "Brown Girl Dreaming" has said that she writes to connect with people who don’t often see their narratives in literature, saying, “I want to be there for the people who need it. I don’t want anyone to walk through the world feeling invisible ever again.” Newbery Award winner Kwame Alexander exorts children's writers to “be intentional in your effort to write the kind of world you want your children to live, learn and love in.” Diversity is not just about the characters in the books, it is about the landscapes we expose our children to, the landscapes we create. 

The Harry Potter series offers richly diverse characters in all their human complexity. They are diverse because they are humanly diverse. In fact, it is not clear what color Hermione's skin is by reading the series. She is described by the movie image of her as being white but this is not at all defined by the words in the series itself. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could move past a traditional definition of "diversity" and into a more layered, more complex version of what diversity means? Making sure to give our students access to not only characters who are brown and beige and tan like them, but to stop imagining all characters as white to begin with.

And then, the windows of the world that reading provides, the sheer power of culture and place and home and what that means to each of us. Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall brings us to the world of Lupita, the oldest of eight siblings in a Mexican-American family whose life is transformed when her mom is knocked down by cancer. In Money Hungry by Sharon Flake we can see the world through the eyes of Raspberry Hill, a 13-year-old whose memories of homelessness and desperation lead her to some revelations.

Our classrooms may be planted in one zip code and another, but the texts we offer our children are passports for them to meet their future colleagues and collaborators, friends and fellow journeyers, and best of all, to meet themselves.

Let's have 2015 be the Year of Diversity in children's literature, and by diversity, I mean the entire gamut of human longings, human hearts, and the places we grow, becoming who we are.


I simply want to say I am

I simply want to say I am just beginner to weblog and absolutely liked you’re blog. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You really come with amazing well written articles. Thanks a lot for revealing your web-site.

Thanks for your marvelous

Thanks for your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will often come back from now on. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

I've been surfing online more

I've been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It's pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

Hi to all, how is everything,

Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this website, and your views are fastidious in support of new people.

It's really a great and

It's really a great and helpful piece of info. I'm satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

comprar cialis in usa

comprar cialis in usa http://cialisgoonlinea.com/ - cheap cialis <a href="http://cialisgoonlinea.com/">generic cialis</a> very good site cialis use

My developer is trying to

My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on various websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

Every weekend i used to go to

Every weekend i used to go to see this web site, because i wish for enjoyment, for the reason that this this website conations genuinely pleasant funny material too.

Hey I know this is off topic

Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.