Multicultural Windows and Mirrors

MTMS English Language Arts students have the opportunity to self-select books during self-selected reading units. In order to assist ELA students in the process of selecting books, we have assembled reading materials that will be placed on a “Windows and Mirrors Book Cart.”  This cart will be used in ELA classrooms to kick off self-selected reading units. Students are not required to select books from this cart, rather, they can select any age appropriate book they choose from any appropriate resource.

The term “windows and mirrors” was derived from Emily Style’s essay entitled, Curriculum as Window and Mirror,  Coincidentally, it was first published right here in Summit, New Jersey, at an Oak Knoll School monograph.  

Our Windows and Mirrors Book Cart bolsters multicultural education by identifying and providing books that serve as mirrors:
“Texts in which children can find themselves, their families, and their communities reflected and valued. When students read books where they see characters like themselves who are valued in the world, they feel a sense of belonging.” (1)
“...allow us to see ourselves. They show us what we look like, they let us examine ourselves, and they can give us a glimpse of our ancestry and heritage. Sometimes a mirror will show you a part of you that you did not notice before, and there is beauty in that.” (2)
 
And as Windows:
“...windows help us develop understandings about the wider world. Students need to learn about how other people conduct themselves in the world in order to understand how they might fit in.” (1)
“...use windows to learn history, authentic perspectives, and perhaps, shared experiences? What if these windows could help us be better global citizens and teach us ways to navigate, honor culture, and make prosocial choices?” (2)

All of the books selected for our Windows and Mirrors Book Cart can be found on reputable library and educational resource book lists - and many have earned literary awards.  Although we feel we have included an extremely wide array of window and mirror texts on our cart, if you have read a book that would make a great window and/or mirror, please feel free to send the title to our school librarian, Mrs. Smith at msmith@mendhamtwp.org. We will review your recommendation with the department and perhaps include it on our list. The cart’s contents will vary based upon grade level appropriateness. Not all books on our list are appropriate for all grade-level students.

Windows and Mirrors Book Cart book-list here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zC-BlXlSyDyRAnHRXWMUchdHVA9--WC8UNOj7y5T5ws/edit?usp=sharing 

References:
(1)https://www.weareteachers.com/mirrors-and-windows/
(2)https://www.pbs.org/education/blog/the-importance-of-windows-and-mirrors-in-stories