Celebrating the #RightToRead

April 24 is Right to Read Day, hosted by the American Library Association to uplift the right to read freely. At SMART we believe in the importance of access to vibrant, inclusive books that affirm children’s identities, give them windows into the lives of others, and teach them about both the wonders and the challenges of our world. 

In this moment where book bans targeting marginalized identities are on the rise, this work is more critical than ever. Banning books that affirm children’s identities and experiences sends harmful messages to kids – that who they are is not okay or that people who don’t look, sound, or act like them are the “other”. On the flip side, ensuring kids can see themselves in the pages of a book lets them know that they matter and that being their authentic selves is wonderful and beautiful. 

Watch the video below to hear from Caroline Tung Richmond, Executive Director of We Need Diverse Books; Madeline Shier, New Book Buyer at Powell’s Books; and Oregon-based children’s book author Sonja Thomas on why representation in children’s books is so important.