"Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?"
Walter Dean Myers
When Black children are invisible in books, the message is that they are not valuable enough to be seen. But thanks to the words and art of generations of Black authors and illustrators, all kids can enjoy a different view. The Brown Bookshelf’s program will showcase titles that center Black children, affirm the beauty of their lives, celebrate every-day joys and flights of fancy, explore struggles, and send readers on journeys to the future and the past.
Inclusive library collections help ensure that Black children know their experiences and ideas have value, and remind all children that Black stories matter. Studies have shown that reading builds empathy; a wider, more comprehensive offering of literature helps readers connect with our increasingly diverse nation. This practice reinforces the idea of equity both on the page and in the world and helps conference attendees curate books designed to open new doors for kids.
Award-winning children’s book creators Gwendolyn Hooks, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Kelly Starling Lyons know what it’s like to not see your face reflected in children’s books. Presenters will share personal stories of discovery and give librarians tips for incorporating titles by Black authors and illustrators of today and the past into the lives of the kids they serve. The presenters will also discuss the role that unconscious bias, structural racism, and intersectionality can play in teaching and learning, and share resources and strategies for incorporating Black literature into curriculum and programming in respectful, self-reflective, and culturally relevant ways.
The Brown Bookshelf (www.thebrownbookshelf.com), an ALA Great Website for Kids, is a comprehensive database that raises awareness of Black children’s book creators, particularly during the annual 28 Days Later campaign that honors under-the-radar and vanguard Black children’s authors and illustrators. All attendees of our session will leave with a Brown Bookshelf booklist.
ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.