Oct 11, 2018

Using Diverse Books as Educators

Using diverse texts in the classroom is not a new concept, by any means.  I remember having an entire class on the use of multicultural books back in college (ummmm...20 years ago); however, as we grow and change, as educators, the way we utilize books in the classroom and in our lives may have evolved.

Diverse Books for Educators


Last year I joined a Diverse Book Club with some teachers from my school district.  There were eight of us and we were on a mission to read books that would help us to be a bit more empathetic, a bit more sensitive, a bit smarter, a bit more aware to the lives of others, especially the students and families we work to support.

What happened is...it changed me.

Before Reading

It starts with the construction of a book list.  The diverse stories chosen need to be...well...diverse.  Not just about skin color or race.  But also socio-economic status, gender, mental illness, incarceration, immigration, etc, etc, etc...  Each one of our students has a unique story.  As educators, we want to understand their background (or possibly their future) the best that we can.  I have included two pages of diverse book choices.  The book, topic, and supportive texts have been listed.

Diverse book list for Educators


Once the books are selected, a bookmark can be made to ensure everyone in the club knows what to read.  Here is the bookmark from our first year.

Diverse Book Club for Educators

You can create your own bookmark with this editable bookmark.  Just insert your images, print, and laminate.

Editable book mark for a Diverse Book Club

During Reading

Everyone reads in their own way.  E-Books, purchased book, library book, or audio book are all options, but you have to find what works for you.  Some people like to Post-it note their books, write inside them, take notes, or just mentally soak up the story.  None of these choices are wrong.  But here is a sheet that may help you to formulate your thoughts as you read these diverse texts.  It can also prepare you for your club meeting.

Diverse Book Club form and book ideas

K-Sometimes we think we may know a lot about a particular topic.  Jot these ideas down because you may soon learn through reading that there was still so much to learn.

H-Many times you will grow through the feelings that these diverse books generate.  Writing down these feelings may help you to sort through what you've learned.

L-The language used by the author or some of the content mentioned may be new or significant to you.  That can lead to a great discussion in book club.

Q-Write down any questions that come to mind.  This will greatly help support a strong conversation when meeting with your book club friends.

And finally, at the bottom there is room to write down any books that come to mind that may follow up on the diverse topic.


After Reading

Now it is time to meet!  It is helpful to choose a fun (but quiet) place.  You can even change it up each month.  Try coffee shops, outdoor patios, wine bars, or take turns going to each others' houses.  It really helps to choose one person to bring a list of book club questions or ideas for discussion.  This keeps the conversation going.

A few other things that we have done as a book club:
  • Watched the adaptation together
  • Attended an author's talk
  • Exchanged diverse books (Christmas in July)

One Final Note

I was really excited to join the book club that my teammate decided to start.  Meeting once a month to talk about books and our students sounded like so much fun to me.  But I would have never guessed that it would have actually CHANGED me.  It is nothing visual that you can notice on the outside of me.  But it is certainly something that I can feel on the inside. I smile a tad bit more at strangers.  I am a bit more patient with my students.  And I, for sure, have more empathy for fellow humans.

If you have any books that you would like to recommend to my book club, we are always looking for suggestions.  But I hope these freebies can help you get started.  Click on any of the images to utilize the freebie, or pin for later.

Diverse Book Club for Educators freebiesDiverse Book Club for Educators

Head on over to the next stop on these diverse book blog tour!


5 comments:

  1. I am not sure I can generate enough interest from my staff for a Book Club this year, but I am most certainly going to read all the books on your recommended list! Thanks for such a great resource, Em!
    ~Jennifer

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  2. What a great and much-needed idea! Thank you for sharing and for providing resources to make this process accessible to anyone.

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    1. I am so glad that you will be able to use this! It has made such a difference to me.

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  3. This is incredible. I love this idea! Thank you for sharing it. I'd love to do this teachers in my area :)

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    1. Thanks so much for reading! If you read any great books that we should add to our list, let me know!!

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