Diversity in Reading

The importance of reading books is painted on the wall.  Reading books about and by diverse people really starts to blend those colors on the wall.  First and foremost, diverse books need to be published more.  Hispanic, African American, Native American, Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and people of all diverse backgrounds need to see a “mirror” of themselves in writing. The mirror talked about by Bishops in the link in the previous sentence is an important and fun concept of literature.  “Mirror reading” is being able to see a reflections of yourself in the characters, stories, and settings that you find in books.  Think about how important this is for any young adult readers who made need to have their questions answered?  Students of diverse backgrounds need to have the option to confide in books, but the publishing numbers are simple not there for them to do so.  It is so easy to forget that the book publishing business is another market that is restricted by financial concerns, risk, and pressure.  Many publishers will say that manuscripts for diverse works simply don’t come through their doors, but Walter Dean Myers will say they need to leave the desk and find the authors.   For as much as our classrooms preach inclusion and having a model for a classroom that represents the real world (demographics), then the shelves of our libraries within those classrooms need to take the same inclusive approach with books about diverse people, and by diverse people.

Sense making is a very important concept, and books may be one of the biggest parts of the process.  Having lower publishing numbers for diverse authors and books involving diverse characters takes away from that sense making process for groups of people.  In fact, it takes away multicultural perspectives from all readers.  People of diverse backgrounds need to be able to confide in diverse characters in books, and majority groups need to read about ethnically diverse characters and settings because it is truth and reality.  Books are written in very imaginative worlds sometimes, but most of the subtle truths spoken in books are among us.  Every culture, sub culture, race, and ethnic group needs to be able to place their own truths in books; then those truths need to be read.

 

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Author: Zane Hesting

I am an education student at Chadron State College in Nebraska. My interests include fly fishing, reading books, watching movies, hanging out with family, and exploring.

2 thoughts on “Diversity in Reading”

  1. I like your continuation of the arguments we read in this week. I think publishers need to open their eyes and learn where to find these authors because they haven’t been given the same opportunities that people who are white have been given. Their stories aren’t told as often so most diverse authors don’t seek out publishers. I’m thrilled to see what other arguments you feel strongly about. Side note: Have you personally read any diverse books recently? If so, could you send a few titles my way?

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  2. Some diverse books I have read this semester have been “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie (blew me away) and “Under the Mesquite” by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (a solid verse novel). As the semester rolls along I find myself really paying attention to “window” reading and “mirror” reading. These two metaphors of individual reading experience really hooked me this week, and is something I won’t forget.

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