BLOGS  >  AUGUST 4, 2021

#ClassroomBookADay for a New Perspective

BY JILLIAN HEISE


The US Census report from 2014 projected that by 2044, whites will no longer be the majority of the United States population. In 2018, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/) in Madison, Wisconsin, reported 50% of children’s books published that year depicted white characters. So, what does this mean for #ClassroomBookADay?

It means that making sure to consider diversity and representation of the global majority in the books we share with students is important. It also means we need to be cognizant of ensuring we expose our students to books that go beyond the confines of our borders.

We have a chance to help them gain a global perspective through the settings and characters in the picture books we choose to share. With that in mind, this month I pulled together a list of 20 titles that help show perspectives outside of the United States and lives that may be different from what the students in our classrooms experience.

One of the benefits of #ClassroomBookADay is that it provides an opportunity to bring in topics there may not be room for within prescribed curriculum or district expectations. By reading a picture book every day of the school year, we end up with over a hundred opportunities to share topics, ideas, peoples, cultures, settings and characters that may not be included in the rest of the curriculum.

In this case, it’s a collection of stories about refugee experiences; communities at play; school adventures; immigrant experiences; environmental activists; family traditions; distractions from war; community celebrations; adventures in towns and in rural areas, in cities and on the water; communities coming together; and a cave rescue that captured international news.

Within all 20 of them is a thread of love. Love for self, love for others and love for community. As we build community in our classrooms through #ClassroomBookADay read-alouds, we can also use that time to help our students see themselves as part of the global community in which we all exist.

Lester Laminack has said, “Reading aloud is a place where we become bonded through common stories that allow us to see, as human beings, that we are more alike from the inside out than we are different from the outside in.” I’m hopeful these books will help remind all of us about that as we share in the journeys of these characters, visit these settings, and learn more about the world outside of our borders.

See the entire list on Titlewave. 


Jillian Heise

Jillian Heise is a Grade K-5 Library Media Teacher in southeastern Wisconsin. She previously taught Grades 7-8 ELA in the Milwaukee area for 11 years and is board certified. Jillian is a passionate advocate for student choice in reading and the power of shared stories through #ClassroomBookADay picture book read-alouds. She brings her literacy expertise and knowledge of books to her role as Chair of the WSRA Children’s Literature Committee. You can find Jillian talking books and education at Heise Reads & Recommends and on Twitter at @heisereads.

Watch webinar recording presented by Jillian Heise, Building Community: #ClassroomBookADay Read Alouds.

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