Mother and Baby Girl Reading a Book

Mirrors And Windows

The phrase "Mirrors And Windows" describes the important role books ​play in giving children opportunities to see themselves reflected in the ​characters -- and learn about people whose lives are very different from ​their own.


Why Mirrors And Windows Matter:


  • Self-esteem and Identity Development: Children's literature has the ​power to shape a child's sense of identity and self-worth. When ​children do not see positive and affirming representations of their own ​culture or identity, it can negatively impact their self-esteem and self-​concept.


  • Elimination of misrepresentation and stereotypes: Stories written by ​individuals from diverse backgrounds can provide authentic and ​nuanced portrayals of their own experiences and cultures, offering ​fresh perspectives and enriching the literary landscape.


  • Building Empathy and Understanding: When children are exposed to a ​limited range of perspectives, it can limit their ability to relate to and ​empathize with individuals from different backgrounds making it ​difficult for them to navigate and understand their place in an ​increasingly diverse world.


  • Educational and Psychological Effects: Access to diverse literature fosters ​critical thinking, cultural awareness, and acceptance of differences. The ​absence of diverse books can perpetuate a Euro-centric or ​homogenous worldview, hindering broader educational goals.


FAMILIES ARE DIVERSE.

CHILDREN‘S BOOKS AREN‘T.


Children's books still normalize being white, male, neurotypical, ​and part of a nuclear family.


Each year the Cooperative Children's Book Center analyzes ​books for children and teens. As recently as 2023, they ​reported:


  • Only 39% of the children's books published in the prior year ​had at least one Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color ​(BIPOC) primary character/subject


  • Only 40% had at least one BIPOC creator. (CCBC)


An analysis of 6,000 books published from 1900 to 2000, ​demonstrated that male characters dominated -- even when ​those characters were non-human. (McCabe et al)


DIVERSE BOOK LISTS

  • Books By Theme, National Educational Association (NEA) and Colorín Colorado's recommended books







  • Diverse Book Finder - collects, codes, and catalogs thousands of picture books published since 2002 depicting Black and Indigenous ​people and People of Color (BIPOC), and their data is available to the public.


  • We Need Diverse Books -- strives to support and amplify diverse literature by mentoring marginalized creators, providing resources to ​diverse publishing professionals, and donating diverse books to schools and libraries nationwide.


Reach Out and Read is 501(c)3 nonprofit that gives young ​children a foundation for success by incorporating books into ​pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud ​together.


Alex Chu , Regional Executive Director

northeast@reachoutandread.org

89 South Street, Suite 201

Boston, MA 02111

Phone: 617.455.0600

EIN is 04-3481253