Build a Diverse Classroom Library Part Two

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Today I am back with part two of Building a Diverse Classroom Library. If you missed my first blog post, you can find that by clicking HERE. In that post I shared some steps I took to make my library more inclusive. I shared some mistakes I have made in the past and areas I want to grow from this point moving forward.

Recently I received several questions similar to this:

Once I have a more diverse collection of books, should I group them together or spread them throughout my classroom library?”

I’m going to give you my opinion as I answer this question.

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Don’t Do This:

First up, let’s look at a blog post I created in 2016 (just four years ago). Previously, I had a “cultural” bin. Honestly, I didn’t even think about what that label meant. I think I had seen it from teammates or online. I basically threw random books in there if they talked about diversity or had Brown/Black characters.

I would say DO NOT make a separate bin for your diverse books. Also, notice that Christopher Columbus book? Let’s not do that either. Do everyone a favor and throw books about him away! {If you aren’t sure why, google ‘The Truth About Christopher Columbus.’}

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I believe that the books should be integrated with all of the other books in your library. If you have book bins, sections of books, bookshelves, etc. they should go into that mix. Students should see themselves throughout many of your book bins, not just one titled “cultural.”

Do This Instead!

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Making Books Accessible

Ultimately, we want our students to have access to these books. And we want the books to be included with all of the others in the library. In Part 3 of this series I will show you how to spotlight some of these books, but for now let’s just work on getting them in the right spot!

Below you will see my book bin that includes all of our books with cats and dogs. I want this bin to be a diverse collection of books, so that means I should see my students represented throughout the bin.

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Book Link: Bob, Not Bob!

Inside of a Book Bin

Before moving on, let’s look inside of one more bin. This is my “friendship” bin. You’ll see many different representations of friendship in this particular bin.

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Book Links: Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day, Leon and Bob, The Sandwich Swap

Including Books in the Library

While we are on the topic, it may be that you need to take some of your books out of your teacher closet. I know those are special books and you don’t want kids to ruin them, but it may be necessary to make your student library more inclusive. I know this is difficult to hear. Trust me. I had a teacher cabinet filled with my favorite books for 10 years. However, that may be a good starting point! Remember, we want the books to be accessible by our students, and it’s hard for them to get to books that are under lock and key, ha!

Sometimes our classrooms are the best place to go shopping.

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Book Link: If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed

As I have said before, I hope this helps as you are building a more diverse library. I also hope that you can see the mistakes that I have made and know that I am still learning right alongside of you.

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Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


Sample a day of Rooted in Reading with these lesson plans and activities for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar!