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Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors

Watch Rudine Sims Bishop discuss the concept of how children's literature can be a mirror, a window or a sliding door. Then, look at the stats compiled by the Cooperative Children's Book Centre.

These perspectives help us to understand why diverse children's books are useful in our classrooms. Students can see themselves reflected, and can see other worlds.

Huyck, David and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2019 June 19). Diversity in Children’s Books 2018. sarahpark.com blog. Created in consultation with Edith Campbell, Molly Beth Griffin, K. T. Horning, Debbie Reese, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Madeline Tyner, with statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison: https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/literature-resources/ccbc-diversity-statistics/. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/picture-this-diversity-in-childrens-books-2018-infographic/

Oyate Resources- How to tell the difference

Review the criteria provided on Oyate's site

Activity: Consider your resource. Review the details provided under each of these headings

  • LOOK FOR STEREOTYPES
  • LOOK FOR LOADED WORDS
  • LOOK FOR TOKENISM
  • LOOK FOR DISTORTION OF HISTORY
  • LOOK FOR VICTIMIZATION
  • LOOK AT THE LIFESTYLES
  • LOOK AT DIALOG
  • LOOK FOR STANDARDS OF SUCCESS
  •  LOOK AT THE ROLE OF WOMEN
  • LOOK AT THE ROLE OF ELDERS
  • LOOK FOR THE EFFECTS ON A CHILD’S SELF-IMAGE
  • LOOK AT THE AUTHOR’S OR ILLLUSTRATOR’S BACKGROUND

Language and terminology?

How does terminology change over time? What affects terminology?

Read about terminology (from Indigenous Foundations, UBC), especially the section,  "Why does terminology matter?"

Activity: Look at your resource and note the language used to describe Indigenous people. Are specific nations mentioned? Is there older terminology?

Other Resources to Help

Speaking Our Truth: Teacher's Guide

Education for Reconciliation - Alberta Education

Walking together: First Nations, Metis and Inuit perspectives in curriculum

Books to Build On: Indigenous literatures for learning
University of Calgary: Werklund School of Education

American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)
Established in 2006 by Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society.

Treaty Map 
Walking Together: Education for reconciliation The Alberta Teachers' Association

How would you use your resource in class?

Consider which grades and subject areas your resource is best suited for. Think broadly about cross-curricular opportunities and how the resource can be used creatively.

Example:
Discovering numbers: English, French, Cree by Neepin Auger

A trilingual book that offers opportunities to teach numeracy, language, social studies and art to young children. The online version includes a pronunciation guide and a glossary.

Kindergarten- Grade 2

  • Have children choose a number to paint . Ask the children to identify background and contrasting colours Auger uses to illustrate the numbers she represents . Children can choose their own background  and contrasting colour for their number. Go on a walk to find objects the children can use to illustrate their chosen number (eg. 3 leaves)
  •  Assist each child as they present their illustration to the class and help them identify the Cree and French words for their number, with the class repeating them together. 
  • Re-read the book with students reading in an echo practice of the numbers 1-10 in English and in Cree
  • Talk about the significance of teepees, eagle feathers and arrowheads. Find relevant children's resources such as:
    • The Sacred Eagle Feather - Curriculum Collection - Level 3 E99.A84 B432 2020
    • Sweetgrass by Theresa Meuse (on order)
    • The Eagle Feather Story with audio download (on order)
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Pearl Herscovitch

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Email: pherscovitch@mtroyal.ca
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