What’s on your shelves?

In 2017, I created Diversify Your Bookshelf, a small Facebook group where parents, librarians and educators exchange about (mostly English) children books. I wanted to share my passion for books and connect with other adults who are committed to increasing the amount of mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors for their kids at home, at school, and in the community. As I continue to increase representation through the texts I present to my students, I thought it may be useful to share what books are sitting on my classroom bookshelves at this point in time.

Selecting books

Whether I am acquiring a book for my children or for my students, my essential questions are:

  1. Which identities are represented in the story (race, ethnicity, language, gender, LGBTQ+, class, immigration status, religion, ability, body, family structure, age, place, etc.)?
  2. Does the story help break stereotypes about these identities?
  3. Do people with identities belonging to marginalized groups have agency, i.e. are they in charge of their own story or are they props in the story?

For a more in-depth guide to thinking critically about texts in your classroom, click here.

Here are some examples of books that don’t pass the test put forth by the above essential questions:

  1. A book that perpetuates the “white savior” complex, i.e. a white character travels to a Black or Brown country and saves the day while learning compassion or gratitude.
  2. A book that portrays any culture as a “poor but happy”.
  3. A book that portrays girls as prizes for boys.
  4. A book where illustrations are not thoughtful.

Does this mean my library is bias-free? Of course not. There is always bias in any text, no matter who creates it. You and I are full of biases. I am simply striving to be intentional in choosing the books I display in my library by reading them and thinking deeply about how they do or don’t provide mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors for my students.

Genres

I organize my bookshelf by genres (not by level). Here are the genres represented:

Contes et légendes – Mystères et aventures – Horreur et histoires de fantômes

Fiction historique – Fiction réaliste – Histoire et biographies

Humour – Les séries – Magazines

Click on the image below to access books I have on my shelves by genres. I hope this post helps someone get a library started, or perhaps audit or add to their current library.

Click on the image to access books on my shelves

Note 1: I have linked each image to where I have purchased the books (Publishers or Amazon). Please feel free to investigate better prices on your favorite book provider site. If you are planning to buy 5 or more books, it is always better to contact the author than to buy on Amazon.

Note 2: If you don’t see a book you know of, it could mean two things: it either did not pass the test or I have not read it yet. Don’t make assumptions and please do your homework 🙂 Feel free to comment or get in touch with me.

Note 3: If you choose to purchase a book via an Amazon link provided, I receive a 4.5% commission. This commission is not taken from the author’s royalties nor is it billed to you.

3 comments

  1. I love your digital record of what is on your bookshelves! You have given me the idea of creating a similar record of my shelves, allowing my students to remotely browse my library. This could eliminate traffic jams at the bookcases, and encourage students to look beyond the front couple of books. They could also check the digital shelves to see where to return the book they have borrowed.
    Thanks!

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