Reading without Walls: Are your books windows or mirrors?

Reading without Walls

At Lafayette Public Library, we are committed to making information available to our community because we believe that access to a wide range of quality information, with differing perspectives and ideas  makes us better equipped as individuals and, as a community. So we offer these thoughts and resources.

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.”
Rudine Sims BishopReading without Walls
Gene Luen YangThe National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is comic book author Gene Luen Yang, who decided to create the Reading Without Walls Challenge. “Every ambassador picks a platform, something they want to focus on.  Mine is Reading Without Walls. I’m challenging kids to read without walls in one of three ways:
1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.
2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.” Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Children’s Literature

diverse-historical-figures-heroWhy should we care about our kids reading diverse books, books about those who aren’t like “us”? Most of us hope to raise our children to be their best selves, citizens of the nation and the world who are smart, brave, and compassionate. Reading to our children is a valuable tool that we can use to help them understand, respect and care about others. “Children’s literature serves as both a mirror to children, and as a window to the world around them by showing people from diverse groups playing and working together, solving problems and overcoming obstacles.”  Partners Against Hate

Resources to help you build book collections that are both a window and a mirror to your child.
NY Times article: “Mirrors for My Daughter’s Bookshelf”
“The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf”: A Ted Talk by Grace Lin

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