A classroom library full of diverse books for kids is becoming an essential part of teachers’ classroom supply list. At AdoptAClassroom.org, we read many grant applications and classroom crowdfunding pages where “diverse books” are the primary request.
Looking for grants or online donations for learning materials, such as diverse books? Register your classroom on AdoptAClassroom.org.
Dr. Artika Tyner is an activist, passionate educator, author, speaker, and advocate for justice. As the author of “Justice Makes a Difference,” she’s an expert on the transformative power of diverse books for kids. We were fortunate to welcome Dr. Tyner as a guest speaker for our recent virtual Show Teachers Some Love event. Watch the video recording of our event, including an interview with Dr. Tyner.
Here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Dr. Tyner and some teachers who used their AdoptAClassroom.org donations to purchase diverse books:
1. “We know that representation matters because you cannot be what you cannot see.” – Dr. Artika Tyner
During our conversation with Dr. Tyner, she said, “Imagine if our books reflected the rich, multicultural tapestry of America and the world. It would mean that students would see on the pages a woman of color as a STEM professional. Or maybe they would have the inspiration to see a man of color introducing a new concept or theme. An introduction that is a reflection of yourself on the pages of a book is an invitation to reading and learning.”
For students of color, diverse books for kids reflect versions of who they are and who they can be. When there are role models in science, technology, and the arts, students can envision themselves as successful in those fields.
2. Multicultural books center and celebrate students’ unique heritages
Aman B. is a PreK teacher in Sacramento, CA, and received $250 worth of multicultural books from a grant they received from AdoptAClassroom.org’s Racial Equity in Schools Fund.
“I was a child of immigrants and was educated in a very Euro-centric school. It was difficult to never see any history of people of color, no diverse books in the classroom, and no sense of accomplishment of people of color. As a teacher, I want my students to see that their heritage is important and valuable.” – Aman B.
Are you a teacher who wants to find diverse books for kids on AdoptAClassroom.org? When teachers receive donations on AdoptAClassroom.org, they can shop through our vendor partners who sell diverse books like Lee & Low Books, or Dr. Tyner’s publishing company, Planting People, Growing Justice. If you need help shopping, please follow this tutorial or contact [email protected].
3. Diverse books for kids build empathy
“Windows and mirrors” is a popular concept when discussing multicultural children’s books. Essentially, “windows and mirrors” means that students should have access to literature that reflects their experience and identity and literature that provides them a window into the experiences of others.
As Dr. Tyner said, “We’re introducing social-emotional learning, connecting young people to the tools that they need to be those reflective listeners, to tap into empathy, tap into the ability to work, create, and build together in real time. When I think about what these books can do, they can unleash the learning process in new, tangible, and innovative ways that includes everyone in diversity of ability, ethnicity, gender, everyone is welcome to the table because we have a representation of their experiences.”
4. “Books create access to the world.” – Dr. Artika Tyner
“So, for me, books are life-giving. Books tear down barriers. It doesn’t matter where I come from, my zip code, the color of my skin, how much money my family has in their checking account, books create access to the world.” -Dr. Tyner
Books create access to our world and worlds of imagination beyond it. For students to have a well-rounded worldview, to understand the complexity and the beauty of the reality we live in, it’s essential that they have access to diverse books for kids.
Support the Racial Equity in Schools Fund
“The Racial Equity in Schools Fund is an invitation to learning. It’s an invitation to growth. It’s an investment in our future.” – Dr. Artika Tyner
Having an updated, well-rounded collection of diverse books is important, but it shouldn’t cost teachers hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets. The Racial Equity in Schools Fund supports teachers’ requests for diverse books for kids.
You have the transformative power to make a difference in the lives of students. Donate to our Racial Equity in Schools Fund.
Interested in Applying for the Racial Equity in Schools Grant?
If you’re a teacher interested in applying for the Racial Equity in Schools grant, please subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when applications are open again. Recipients of this grant receive donations ranging from $100 to $1,000 for their classroom.