The remarkable educator Dr. Rudine Sims Bishops once wrote very eloquently about the magic of literature, and its power to serve as both “windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined,” and mirrors, “a means of self-affirmation” (1990). Though it was over three decades ago, the need to find these windows and mirrors remains vital as ever to our work as educators.
Identity can be complicated. But learning how to navigate these conversations with children is so important as they are learning to navigate the world and their place in it.
This guide is designed to facilitate conversations with young children around three overarching dimensions of identity:
Each page includes a curated selection of books to start discussions with young children around each of these topics. Furthermore, there is also a list of books which prominently features characters from a wide range of identities within each of these categories. In this way, children can be exposed to a wide range of experiences, providing them either a window to see into the lives of others, or a mirror for their own lives.