We’re the People is a group that works individually and collectively to create materials and opportunities to recognize the humanity of Indigenous and People of Color (IPOC) in youth literature. Our work is premised upon the principles of social justice, equity, and inclusion and centers IPOC voices in children’s literature in order to identify, challenge and dismantle white supremacy and both internalized and systematic racism. Our intended audience includes educators, librarians, caregivers and young people. We look for ways to improve the literacies of IPOC children, promote books written by and about IPOC, and to encourage gatekeepers to bring a lens of critical literacy to their work.
HISTORY AND PRACTICES
Early in 2015, Edith Campbell invited a handful of colleagues who share a passion for children, literacy and diversity to work with her on a Summer Reading list. She invited us to suggest titles we had read and wanted to recommend. As conversations took place, the focus of the list became clear. We realized we needed to read closely to identify microaggressions, cultural misappropriation or examples that negated our struggle for social justice and inclusion. We wanted to create a list of books that we would be comfortable to put in any child’s hands. Each book considered for the list has had no fewer than two readers. who read to eliminate books with instances that work against social justice, equity and inclusion.
While we are willing to accept books from publishers, at this point we are recommending books from our personal collections or public libraries. We receive no compensation for books that appear on this list.
Books we recommend are ones written or illustrated by Native Americans or writers/illustrators of color that have withstood our critical review process. We want readers to become familiar with the names on the list and their creative work and to enjoy the stories they tell and the people they represent. We are proud to share our list.
Thaddeus Andracki (2016 – current)* is a middle school librarian at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. He is a former chair of the American Library Association’s Rainbow List Committee, which creates annual annotated bibliographies of recommended books with significant LGBTQ content. His scholarly interests include criticism and analysis of literature for young people; comparative ethnic studies and queer studies; and digital cultures. His website is tandracki.net.
Edith Campbell (2015 – current)* promotes literacy in its many forms to teens and she does this through her blog, CrazyQuiltEdi and in her work as an Education Librarian at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. Edith currently serves on the American Library Association’s Truth and Racial Healing Transformation Team and the See What We See Coalition. She serves on the Advisory Board for Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults and Research on Diversity in Youth Literature. She is a member of the American Library Association, Black Caucus of the American Library Association and Assembly on Literature for Adolescents. She is a past member of YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults selection committee and the CYBILS Nonfiction Awards committee and the Printz Committee. Her research interests include the visibility of Black girls in young adult literature, anthropomorphic primates in picture books, critical information literacy and critical literacy. Follow her on Twitter @.
Sarah Park Dahlen (2015-2016)* is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She teaches courses on children’s and young adult materials, children’s and young adult library services, storytelling, social justice, and library and information science. Currently, she is examining representations of transracially adopted Koreans in children’s literature and the information behaviors of transnationally adopted Koreans. She co-edited a children’s and young adult multicultural literature textbook with Dr. Jamie Naidoo titled Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading (ALA Editions, 2012). Her next project examines race in the Harry Potter series. Sarah is co-editor of Research on Diversity in Youth Literature. She’s on Twitter @readingspark
Dr. Laura M. Jiménez (2018 – current)* is a lecturer at Boston University School of Education, Literacy program. She teaches children’s literature courses that focus on both the reader and the text by using an explicit social justice lens. Her work spans both literature and literacy, with a special interest in graphic novels and issues of representation in young adult literature. Her scholarship appears in The Reading Teacher,Journal of Lesbian Studies, Teaching and Teacher Education, and the Journal of Literacy Research. Her graphic novel reviews can be found on her blog https://booktoss.blog/. On Twitter, she’s @booktoss.
Alia Jones (2018)* works as a Sr. Library Services Assistant with The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. She is a former children’s bookseller and ESL teacher in South Korea through the Fulbright Program. Alia currently reviews for Kirkus. She’s a member of the American Library Association, Association of Library Service to Children, ALA-Black Caucus, American Indian Library Association and is a member of the ALSC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. You can find her online at readitrealgood.com, where she blogs about children’s literature & diverse books. Follow her on Twitter @readitrealgood.
Sujei Lugo (2015 – present)* is a former elementary school librarian at the University of Puerto Rico Elementary School and currently works as a children’s librarian at the Boston Public Library, Connolly Branch. She is a doctoral candidate in Library and Information Science at Simmons College, focusing her research on anti-racist children’s librarianship. She is a member of REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking), American Library Association, and Association of Library Service to Children. Sujei is also a book reviewer and blogs on and collaborates with Latinos In Kid Lit. Follow her on Twitter @.
Lyn Miller-Lachmann (2015 – current)* is the former editor-in-chief of MultiCultural Review, the editor of the short story anthology of Latin@ authors for youth Once Upon a Cuento, and the author of the young adult novels Rogue, Gringolandia, and Surviving Santiago. She translates children’s books and other materials from Portuguese to English, including the acclaimed picture book The World in a Second, and reviews books on social justice for The Pirate Tree. Visit Lyn’s website http://www.lynmillerlachmann.com/ and her blog at Lyn Miller-Lachmann http://www.lynmillerlachmann.com/category/blog/.
Natalie Mvondo (2015; 2016)* blogs to celebrate cultural diversity in the arts, and in children’s books in particular, as well as the people who make it happen. Nathalie. She’s the genius behind the Multiculturalism Rocks! Pop Up, her entrepreneurial initiative to bring diverse books where they’re need. She lives in Northern California, where she studies cultural anthropology and nutrition. She writes children’s stories and young adult fiction. English is her third language. She’s on Twitter @multiculturalismrocks
Dr. Debbie Reese (2015;2016; current year)* is an enrolled member of the Nambé Pueblo Tribe. Debbie has previously taught at Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Oklahoma, and Santa Fe Indian School, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her research interests include the representations of Native Americans in children’s and young adult literature, textbooks, curricular materials, and other forms of media used in the classroom. Her book chapters, articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in print and online academic journals as well as publications that are used by teachers and librarians who work with children. Debbie blogs at American Indians in Children’s Literature and she can be found on Twitter: @debreese
Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez (2018 – current)* teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at a community college in New York City. Her academic research and creative writing stem from her personal experiences and her desire for liberation. She blogs at https://soniaarodriguez.com/ and she can be found on Twitter @mariposachula8
From graduate students to kindergarten students, Ed Spicer (2016; 2017)* is a Michigan educator with a wide variety of experiences during the last two decades. He will retire from teaching first grade in the summer of 2016 and hopes to publish his own writing. Spicer has served on the Caldecott award committee, the Printz award committee and many other committees with the American Library Association. He is a Cool Teacher winner in Michigan. Spicer has also published dozens of curriculum guides for Penguin, Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Scholastic, and Eerdmans. Friend him on Facebook: email@example.com Follow him on Twitter: @spicyreads
Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (2015)* is an assistant professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. A former Detroit Public Schools teacher, her interests include children’s and young adult literature, English education, African American education, and classroom interaction research. Follow her on Twitter @ebonyteach
* Dates indicate to which list contributions were made.