The need for books showcasing the growing diversity of America’s classrooms is growing. Teachers, parents, librarians and family members have been asking us for resources to help children discover books that reflect their lives and characters that reflect them and the people they know– both in the classroom and at home.
Today, Scholastic Reading Club and the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books have joined together to answer the call for this need with a special edition We Need Diverse Books Scholastic Reading Club flyer offering 75 key book titles for grades 4–8 that feature diverse characters and storylines.
This special, curated offer includes award-winning titles, beloved classics, and new releases, and will reach over 100,000 classrooms and 2.5 million students with great books in time for the holidays. All book orders are placed through a classroom teacher, and, for every purchase, the teacher earns reward points that are redeemable for books and other classroom materials.
We spoke with Scholastic Reading Club editorial directors Ann Marie Wong and Preeti Chhibber about the importance of #WeNeedDiverseBooks and what this special collection can offer students, teachers, and parents.
Q: What can teachers and parents expect in the Scholastic Reading Club and “We Need Diverse Books” special flyer?
Teachers and parents can expect a wide range of quality, exciting new titles and old favorites that reflect traditionally under-represented voices.
Q: What has been the feedback from teachers?
We are repeatedly asked year after year for more diverse titles by our teachers. This has been an initiative for many years. As club editors, we consistently make sure that we are selecting diverse titles and books by authors who represent diverse backgrounds. We also have a long history of advocating for more diversity from our publishing partners. This offer is a way to highlight and elevate those titles in a curated collection.
Q: What role can teachers and parents play to help kids find diverse books?
A: Teachers and parents are who kids go to for book recommendations. With that in mind, they can infuse diverse literature into all the good work they're already doing. And they can take an active role in seeking out diverse books and making sure to speak about them accurately and be open to having conversations with their students. This is an opportunity for them to make sure every child in their classroom is represented and exposed to stories and viewpoints with which they may be unfamiliar.
Q: What are some of your favorite books that feature diverse characters and stories?
A: Some of our current favorites are: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertelli, and Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.
Q: Where can people go to learn more about diverse books?
A: They can check out the We Need Diverse Books homepage for more information and recommendations. They can also speak to their local librarians, or look at award winners like the Coretta Scott King, the Pura Belpré, or the Schneider (among many others). And they can always check out the Scholastic Reading Club blog, Book Box Daily.
Be sure to check out for our post later this week with Dhonielle Clayton, Vice President, We Need Diverse Books about her take on this special collection.
To learn more, please visit http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/ScholasticReadingClub.
Check our "first look" cover reveal: