Diversify!

I won’t lie I love me some good fantasy or romance fiction. I can eat up these books in an afternoon. I haven’t thought about moving outside of my comfort zone in years because it is where I am comfortable. Looking at all of the data on how little diversity is in books shocked me. It also opened my eyes to the fact I need to read more diverse stories. It is important to read diverse topics, and genres. Nonfiction and pretty much any book that isn’t fantasy or romance would be a start to reading diversely for me. I know diverse authors are important, but I honestly pay very little attention to who writes what. I am needing to focus more on making sure to read what isn’t normal for me. As a soon to be teacher it is important to understand my students as well as I can. Reading anything and everything can in a way be a window into their lives.

Diversity in the classroom for all students is very important. It is key to them understanding themselves, and having a better chance of squashing the ignorance that causes bullying. In order to help this along I will be sure to stock my classroom library with books of all diverse types. So my students have the chance to dig into not only their stories, but the stories of others before them or similar to the people they know. It will give them a chance to understand the world as it is. A huge mixing pot of ideas, and beliefs. It is my job to nurture them so they can be the best they can be. If we are all stuck in one mindset how does that help the world grow? It doesn’t. I will challenge my students to read at least one or two books that sound like something they would never read. This is meant to help them get outside their comfort zones and push them farther than they thought they would go.

-C

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2 thoughts on “Diversify!

  1. I really like your point about stocking your classroom with diverse books for the students. However, it is important to be careful in what you choose. For example, the book I Funny is about a boy who was disabled due to a horrific car accident that left both of his parents dead and begins to use humor as a way to cope and relate to his fellow students. Sounds great right? The problem arises in that the book treats bullying and violence against his person as a sort of godsend because “normal” kids get bullied and so his bullies must see him as “normal” enough to harm. These kinds of messages not only hurt the students whose demographic is meant to be represented (i.e., kids with disabilities in this case) but they also ingrain problematic behavior and ideas in other kids who pick up and read a book like that.

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  2. Any book that helps students learn empathy for others is beneficial. Students need to not be scared of diversity. For many students, it’s a lack of exposure to other cultures (and a negatively biased news system) that fuel their negative feelings about other cultures.

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