The Importance of Window & Mirror Books

Mirror books allow readers to see images that reflect their own lives, helping them to develop a positive sense of identity and self-esteem, and also improve their reading comprehension and language skills. Window books allow readers to see the lives of people with experiences different from their own.

Grace Lin is an author and illustrator of books for children and teens, typically focusing on the Asian-American experience. She believes, “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon every day, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.”

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community: The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf | Grace Lin | TEDxNatick

Ella’s Story

This poignant video from Basic Rights Oregon tells the story of Ella, a child who is transgender, and her family.

Missing Adventures: Diversity and Children’s Literature | Brynn Welch | TEDxEHC

Children’s literature allows us to imagine a world of adventures, both ordinary and extraordinary. So what does it say about our imagination that most characters in that world are white? In this talk, Brynn Welch argues we are all responsible for the adventures that are missing.

Girls can be their own superheroes

John Marcotte, founder of Heroic Girls, challenges the audience in this TEDx talk to look beyond what is labeled as “girly” or “feminine” to explore how such labels limit the potential of future generations.

Diversity in Children’s Book Publishing

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center releases annual statistics on diversity in children’s book publishing. In a study of 3,700 children’s books:

  • 9% had significant African or African American content/characters; 29% of these books were by Black authors and/or illustrators
  • 8% had significant Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific American content/characters; 39% were by authors and/or illustrators of Asian/Pacific heritage)
  • About 6% had significant Latinx content/characters; 33% were by Latinx authors and/or illustrators
  • Just under 2% had significant American Indian/First Nations content/characters; 52% were by American Indian/First Nations authors and/or illustrators

Click here to read the CCBC’s full report on diversity in children’s books. 

Click here for an infographic from Lee and Low Books on diversity in children’s books.

Click here for more information on inclusive books at SMART Reading.

The Importance of Female Superheroes

If we want to change the world, we have to change the way we teach children about the world and their places in it. In a 100% media saturated society, that means changing the media our children consume, and the ways in which they interact with media. Watch Dr. Christopher Bell’s talk from TEDx Colorado Springs. 

Personal Pronouns and Why They matter

Click here for a helpful resource on personal pronouns as a basic and important part of identity expression.

Why We Need New Stories About Female Superheroes

Watch Elizabeth Monier-Williams’ TEDx Waterloo talk analyzing the common story lines for female superheroes and underscoring just how deep and impossible the stereotyped expectations of women and female characters are.

SMART’s Theory of Change

SMART’s combines two strategies — shared, one-on-one reading time and access to books — that are both grounded in research on how children develop literacy skills. Our Theory of Change maps our work and the intended outcomes for the children we serve.

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