Blog Diversity In The Classroom Using Literature
Children's literature can be a powerful tool to introduce students to other cultures, traditions and perspectives. Here are some tips and reading suggestions to help you bring diversity and inclusion into your classroom through children's literature.
Choose books that feature diverse characters and settings, and that explore a variety of experiences and perspectives. Look for books that showcase the richness and diversity of different cultures, and that challenge stereotypes and prejudices. Here are some suggestions:
Refuge by Anne Booth
The Lost Homework by Richard O'Neill
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
The Amazing Edie Eckhart by Rosie Jones
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicholl
Wonder by R J Palacio
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan
Internment by Samira Ahmed
Finding Balance by Kati Gardner
The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drew
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Use books to spark discussion
Discuss the themes of the book, focusing on diversity, inclusion and representation. Encourage pupils to share their thoughts and feelings on the characters, setting, and themes of the book. Encourage them to ask questions about cultures and traditions that are different from their own. Use the characters in the books, and their experiences, as a springboard for open and honest conversations.
Ask pupils to write personal stories or memoirs about their own experiences with diversity and inclusion. This can help them to understand their own perspectives and experiences, and also foster empathy and understanding for others.
A New Perspective
Ask pupils to write a story from somebody else’s perspective. It could be a book character, someone in the news or someone from history. Considering someone else’s feelings and thoughts will help to encourage empathetic thinking. The Incredible Diary Of... writing competition for primary school pupils, opening on 5th June, is perfect to guide them through writing a first-person diary entry.
Encourage independent choice
Encourage your pupils to choose their own books to read and share with the class. This can help to increase engagement and interest, and also allows pupils to explore and share their own cultural backgrounds and experiences.
Get pupils to act out scenes from books, or role-play different situations that highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion. This can be a fun and interactive way to engage pupils and encourage them to think about the impact of their actions and words on others.
Encourage pupils to research and explore different cultures and communities in their local area. They could create projects or presentations that highlight the diversity and contributions of these communities.
Have pupils write book reviews for diverse literature that they have read. This can help to encourage critical thinking and reflection, and also provide recommendations for other pupils to read.
We’re always looking for book reviews to feature on our blog, so if you have a pupil who is a keen reader and has written a review, send it to us at [email protected]
Remember, these activities should be inclusive and respectful of all students' backgrounds and experiences. Create a safe space where all pupils feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and perspectives.
By bringing diversity and inclusion into the classroom, you can help your pupils understand and appreciate different perspectives and cultures, and foster a more inclusive and respectful classroom environment.
The National Literacy Trust has pooled some great resources to help ensure your classroom materials reflect the diversity of our communities.Published: Fri 2nd Jun 2023