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Allen Creek Elementary School Explores Diversity through Literature

Allen Creek Elementary School students and their families are exploring different cultures through “Inclusion and Equity” book flyers. “Inclusion and Equity” book flyers were developed last school year as a way to introduce families to some of the literature that is available in Allen Creek’s library and to continue the conversation at home. A new flyer is released each fall, winter and spring and contains an introduction to the book, key themes, family discussion ideas and other related suggestions that families can explore together. The flyers are sent home with each student and are also shared via an email from Allen Creek Elementary School Principal Michael Biondi.

“It is our hope that families will engage in discussions about each book. We give parents discussion ideas that overlap with what is happening in school,” explained Principal Biondi. Families are also provided with similar book suggestions to read aloud with their child at home. Student response to the flyers has been positive. “Students have enjoyed learning about different cultures and discussing these books with their classmates,” said Principal Biondi.

The “Inclusion and Equity” book flyers were inspired by the District-wide library diversity audit. During the audit, PCSD librarians developed a spreadsheet and a process of reviewing each title in their building’s library for multiple characteristics related to diversity including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, neurodiversity, and gender identity of the author, main characters, and supporting characters in each book. In total, 24,891 titles were included in the audit.

Allen Creek librarians select “mirror” or “window” books for the flyers. “Mirror” books allow students to see a reflection of their identity and experiences and reinforce to them that their narrative matters. “Window” books provide students with the opportunity to see an alternative view of the world and meet people who are not like themselves. When a new book flyer is announced, each classroom receives a copy of the book to add to their classroom library. Then, classes complete a lesson related to the book which provides students with the opportunity to discuss each book with their peers and subsequently at home with family members.