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Diverse Books Project

Book-rich classrooms positively affect children’s reading comprehension and motivation. Research further shows that culturally responsive book-rich classrooms enhance literacy gains for children of color. Rudine Bishop, a pioneer in research on diverse children’s literature, describes these books’ important roles as “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.”   As such, diverse books help students, teachers, and families avoid what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie refers to as the “danger of a single story.” Given their importance, the National Education Association has launched a diverse books campaign to celebrate and raise awareness of the critical need for children’s books about “different cultures, races, languages, and traditions.”

In response to this need, the Sherman Center launched its first Diverse Books Project in April 2018. The goal of this Project is to ensure that early childhood educators at our partner schools have access to high quality diverse children’s books, and opportunities to share ideas and insights about their use.

UMBC experts in the field of children’s literature, curated a selection of exemplary books for this on-going project.  Each grading period, early childhood educators have the opportunity to review 15 of these books, located in a designated space in their schools (the “Book Nook”), and request one to multiple copies of a book for their classrooms.

ESOL 1st grade classroom teacher, Emma Sarfaty, at Lakeland EMS recorded students reading along with one of our diverse books – Hip Hop Speaks to Children

Click here to view how other teachers and teacher candidates at our partner schools are using these diverse books to deepen students’ learning, and appreciation of themselves and others.