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“Can Diverse Books Save Us? In a divided world, librarians are on a mission.”

Illustration by Monique Wray. Photo from SLJ.com.
Illustration by Monique Wray.

“She gasped when she saw a girl wearing hijab on the cover,” says Deborah Vose, recalling a seventh grader who wandered into her library one afternoon and stood, captivated, before a display of books. Staring at the cover of Brave, the 2017 graphic novel by Svetlana Chmakova, the student grasped the book and exclaimed, “Someone who looks like me!”

In this recent article by the School Library Journal, library professionals including Melissa Orth, adjunct faculty member of UMA’s Information and Library Science program and teen librarian at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, discuss the importance of reflecting diverse cultures and perspectives in library collections.

“I feel it is my duty to not have the collection reflect my community, but rather to reflect the wider world,” says Melissa… “Books featuring characters with different cultural experiences from their own can educate teen readers and build empathy.”

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