International Literacy Association Affiliate

Literacy Voices

Dear Readers,
The past few school years have brought with them some enormous challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous political challenges to our profession. A big change, of course, has been the added involvement of outside stakeholders and parents in making curricular decisions for schools. These challenges have included a growing interest in uncovering the curriculum used by schools, especially the books that children are reading. Often, during periods of big changes in society, we will also see big changes in curriculum.

Nevertheless, as literacy teachers, we bear the responsibility of exposing students to a wide variety of windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors through the literature children read (Bishop, 1990). Books have the power to uncover new and unfamiliar worlds, as well as enable us to make deep connections to our own lives. Books empower us to build empathy through building a deepened understanding of others; this is critical for living in a diverse society.

Nevertheless, we are currently living in an age of division and fear, making books feel threatening as they offer these new opportunities to understand others. However, books, and a wide array of them, is probably what we need most to thrive as a society.

This edition of Literacy Voices will share examples of book banning and challenges. As you read, we hope that you feel empowered with knowledge about why a variety of books are needed in our classrooms. While as parents ourselves, we respect the input of parents, we also know and trust that teachers play a vital role in exposing students to a variety of texts. We hope that you do as well.

As we embark on this new school year, we hope you find your classrooms places of joy, inquiry, and discovery. But moreover, be unafraid to stand up for the books you believe in. Have a wonderful year!
From your editors,

Rachael Waller and Kari Dahle-Huff, Co-Editors, Literacy Voices

Bishop, R. S. (1990). Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Perspectives, 6 (3), ix-xi.