Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Doors

Diversity in children’s literature panel discussion

Thu, 03/18/2021 - 1:30pm

Issues of diversity in children’s literature will be the focus of an online panel discussion with authors, illustrators and editors on April 6, hosted by the University of Maine Raymond H. Fogler Library.

The free public event, “Mirrors, Windows & Sliding Doors: A Panel Discussion on Diversity in Children’s Literature,” begins at 4 p.m. Register online for the event. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, email brad.beauregard@maine.edu.

In recent years, three-quarters of published children’s books have featured white or nonhuman characters. The panel will address how this lack of diversity in books affects children and what educators, parents and community members can do to improve access to diverse books. The panelists also will discuss the importance of children seeing themselves in books, the importance of children seeing people different than themselves in books and the way reading helps children engage with different life experiences.

Panelists will answer questions from attendees following the discussion. 

The panel will be moderated by Krista Aronson, professor of psychology at Bates College and founder of DiverseBookFinder.org. Panelists include young adult author Heidi Heilig, middle-grade author Lisa Bunker, painter and illustrator Daniel Minter, middle-grade and picture book author Rajani LaRocca, and children’s book editor Julie Bliven. 

The event is organized by Alexandra Hinrichs, librarian at Leonard Middle School in Old Town, and Amber Gray, reference librarian at the University of Maine, and is supported in part by a grant from the Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series Fund. 
 
About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state's land grant, sea grant and space grant university. It is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. As Maine's flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state's only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and more than 75 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,741 undergraduate and graduate students who have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master's, doctoral or professional science master's degrees, as well as graduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit umaine.edu.