As a child, I read The Secret Garden,Harriet the Spy and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I connected with the characters in these books and when I was sad or lonely, I reread parts of these texts and pretended I was with these characters. They became part of my life.
As educators, Clare and I worry about our students in elementary classes finding books with characters who can become part of their lives. As we look at the books in classroom libraries and school bookrooms, we ask ourselves, “Do we have books with diverse characters that help students understand themselves and others? Are there characters who face problems that our students encounter? Are there characters who face different problems? Are there books with characters who will make students laugh and characters who will keep them company when they are sad or lonely?
Books are not only a source…
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