In this project, Reading Seminar students learn about their own identity through books with diverse characters, analyze the need for diverse characters in today's YA and children's literature market, write their own stories featuring characters that are similar to them, and share those stories with a middle school audience. The demographics of my Reading Seminar class is 66% Black, 22% Hispanic, 9 % Multiracial, 1% Asian. YA Author Jacqueline Woodson once said that students need books that serve as mirrors and windows in their classrooms. The mirrors reflect who they are culturally and the windows give them access to see others whose identities are different. This project serves as that mirror. We will read books with characters that are Black, Hispanic, girls, and disabled (or differently-abled) to help them not only see themselves, but to also write characters they can identify with.
Once students write their own stories, they will travel to middle school libraries in the district to read their stories. This will serve as a direct response to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks problem, and hopefully inspire younger students to write their own stories.
Books we will read and analyze in Literature Circles will include:
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacquline Woodsoon
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Bajo la Misma Estrella by John Green
Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida by Victor Martinez
Wonder by R.J Palacio
Mexican White Boy by Matt da la Pena
Here's my #WeNeedDiverseBooks Empathy Resources worksheet
and here's my pitch video: #WeNeedDiverseBooks Video Pitch