The "Bookshelf Diversity" project grew out of the RUT partnership Arts in Action with Exeter High School ninth grade English teachers in their unit on justice, equity, and social change. In her class presentation, student Ingrid Janicki's project "Bookshelf Diversity" emphasized bringing more voices to our students' worlds/ perspectives and not in tokenism through performative diversity, but instead, healthy readings that honor natural inclusiveness versus reading diverse books on Chinese holidays or celebrations of progress for under-represented groups. Ingrid advocated for reading books as if most stories could have people of any identities playing out the plot lines as well.
The topic "Bookshelf Diversity" endorsed by the Racial Unity Team was introduced for the first time in 2021 at the UNH Summer Literacy Institutes.
Here is Ingrid’s essay Schools Need To Reexamine The Common English Curriculum, or visit the link to hear Ingrid Janicki's talk and her teacher's praise of her work following the end of her talk.
Each quarte the Racial Unity Team hopes to donate books to selected schools and for 2024 we ask: In your perspective, how does the current literature in your classroom reflect the diversity, or lack thereof, within your student population? How would this grant support a more inclusive and representative learning environment? Furthermore, please discuss how you plan to integrate these diverse materials into your curriculum.
Enter now for a chance to diversify your classroom library with $500 by completing the Bookshelf Diversity Contest Submission Form
Applicant must have a working classroom library.
Applicant must be willing to be included in Racial Unity Team promotional materials, e.g., social media sites/news articles and be willing to participate in research into the effectiveness of diverse classroom libraries on student outcomes in reading.
We will select at least one winner each quarter to receive $500 worth of diverse books that you select from a lits that you receive. Substitutions are permitted.
We see this as a growing partnership beyond this immediate opportunity and, therefore, envision applicants to be interested in working together on future endeavors.
The books are given to you to support your work as a classroom teacher - not to your school/ school district. Please be sure this is clear to your administrators before you apply. If you leave the district to teach elsewhere, the books go with you. If you leave teaching, we encourage you to gift the books to a teacher and classroom that you feel these books would benefit.
Applicants must be willing to be contacted about books read and favorites among the selections to assist us in creating an ongoing list of recommended books.
Don't keep it to yourself, let other teachers know. Share this link https://racialunityteam.com/bookshelf-diversity.
Do you have questions? Bring it to our attention! Besides providing you with the answers, we will display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The youth we serve in New Hampshire public schools are among minority residents, representing 12.8% of the population and white residents representing 87.2%. Hispanics (Latino/Latinx) are the largest minority group of residents at 4.3%--next are Asian, at 2.6% and Black at 1.4%.
The challenges we face come from communities where the population has experienced significant growth in the numbers of minority residents. These new residents appear to be underserved and underprepared for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Belonging (DEIJB) challenges in their public schools. The need arises as a result of hate/bias incidents targeting minority students in classrooms, on school buses, on sports teams, and on the streets – racial taunting, racial profiling, and the hate/bias language directed at LGBTQIA+ people and people with disabilities – all require our attention. For the Racial Unity Team (RŪT), the most important evidence of need is that race-related stress has a negative impact on health for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) children in schools.
What helps our work is our ability to reach these communities through our community-to-school programs like Arts in Action, Art & Poetry Challenge, and Bookshelf Diversity and through partnerships we have developed in public schools, public libraries, community groups, YMCAs, youth organizations, and race-based community organizations. Our volunteer base of almost 60 people is a significant asset. These volunteers are already predisposed to understand and support our DEIJB work–a significant benefit.
What hinders our work is that teachers and administrators are hesitant to teach about race because of the intimidations inherent in NH legislative mandates placed on educators. The legislation has the potential to place bounties on educators and to put their licenses at risk if a classroom unit is interpreted as “teaching about race.” This lack of trust in a work environment is a threat to community health and the work we do to build a sense of safety and belonging for all races and ethnicities. Our work introduces new resources to the classroom with the goal of helping educators in advancing student awareness and developing their communication skills when engaging others in discussions about injustice. In this way, we help grow a generation of Granite Staters who are, not only non-racist, but also, actively anti-racist.
If you wish to be part of the project, helping to select the books, become a classroom reader, become a volunteer or even donate reach out to us through the contact us page.