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Deepening Student Engagement with Diverse Picturebooks

Powerful Classroom Practices for Elementary Teachers

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Zapata demonstrates how to reinvigorate aesthetic and critical response in early childhood and elementary classrooms through literature explorations of diverse picturebook collections. Drawing on classroom practices, she offers approaches and guiding principles that can be tailored to individual contexts through an anti-oppressive lens. Her approach is informed by the ethical work of integrating diverse children’s picturebooks in the classroom, a desire to cultivate a critical literature classroom landscape that resists stereotypical representations of people of color in literature, and a commitment to recentering critical engagement of diverse picturebooks. Part of the Principles in Practice imprint, the book draws on NCTE’s position statement Preparing Teachers with Knowledge of Children’s and Young Adult Literature.


Selling Points:

-        Students deserve stories in their classroom that better reflect their everyday realities. This book helps educators select integrate picturebooks that will allow students to find themselves and their stories in a book.

-        Teaching of reading is more than just “leveling-up” and word calling. It can be a transformative literacy encounter that builds life-long readers and writers who understand the power of stories, especially their own. This book helps educators create an experience that will help all students connect with reading in a meaningful way, celebrating the diverse background that shaped them.

-        This book explores the question of “how” around diverse literature:  how might we share diverse picturebooks with young children? It is designed to urge educators to both reimagine theirpicturebook collections and rethink literature instruction as essential, critical work for both literacy development and a broader sense of citizenry among young children.


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