‘Tis the season of giving so I challenge everyone to adopt a classroom and help a teacher “Build Your Stack” chock full of window and mirror books. #BuildYourStack is the National Council Teachers of English literacy initiative that focuses on helping teachers build their book knowledge and their classroom libraries. Window and mirror books is my own add-on for giving kids access to books that reflect themselves and the world around them - in a time when this call to action is needed most.
So what is so formative about window and mirror books?
The simple fact is we live in a world that is multicultural, plural, and diverse. It’s time our libraries, classrooms, and homes reflected this important truth. Literature is a socializing agent that literally tells children what the world values through the messages it sends. To wit, every child must have access to MIRROR BOOKS first to confirm and celebrate their reality. And every child must have access to WINDOW BOOKS to expand their worldview andteach them to be global citizens.
To understand the impact of what this really means, we must understand the power of literature by looking at it through a different lens and avoiding the danger of the single story. Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks of the danger of the single story in her beautifully powerful 2009 TED talk. She warns, “The single story creates stereotypes and problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”
Chimamanda, who grew up in eastern Nigeria, explains to audiences how she learned to read and write at an early age modeling her stories solely after window books. As a young girl, Chimamanda had no access to mirror books that reflected her reality and this affected her sense of how the world worked. Now that we know the difference, we must do better…but teachers and librarians need our help!
This holiday season help a teacher build their stack of window and mirror books that ensure literacy engagement and make reading a joyful and purposeful activity. Let’s empower children with the opportunity to discover the varied richness of our world through the transformative power of literature, one story at a time. …Because the right book in the right hands can transform a life - and that is the true spirit of Joy, Love, and Peace.