SLJ Diversity and Cultural Literacy Syllabus

Summer 2016 online course

Week 1: Invisibility and Appropriation


Colorblind Ideology Is a Form of Racism by Monnica T. Williams, Ph. D. (from Psychology Today)

When You’re Invisible, Every Representation Matters (from Native Appropriations blog)

A Cultural Conundrum: Exploring Cultural Appropriation in Children’s Literature (from The Book Wars blog)

We [Native Peoples] Are Not People of Color by Debbie Reese



The Danger of a Single Story | Chimamanda Adichie


Special Guest Keynote:

American Indians in Children’s Literature | Debbie Reese


Week 2: Stereotyping


Straight Talk on Race: Challenging the Stereotypes in Kids’ Books (article by Mitali Perkins, SLJ, April 2009)

The Difference Between Stereotypes, Tropes, and Archetypes (from

Stereotypes: Negative Racial Stereotypes and Their Affect on Attitudes Toward African-Americans (Perspectives on Multiculturalism and Diversity)

Disability Tropes (from Disability in Kid Lit blog)

Stories for All (posts from Shannon Hale and other writers discussing the harm in gendering books)

The Duty of Professional Reviews (post from Reading While White on importance of professional reviews addressing racist and problematic content)

Contesting Ideology in Children’s Book Reviewing (article by Debbie Reese from Studies in American Indian Literatures)

The Gender Coverup (article from Maureen Johnson on gendered book covers in YA)



Representation and the Media | Stuart Hall

Stereotypes in Children’s Literature | Toby Rajput

Why Do You Think Stereotypes Are True? | Decoded/MTV


Week 3: White Privilege and Unconscious Bias


White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack by Peggy McIntosh

White Supremacy Culture

On Racism and White Privilege (from Teaching Tolerance)

On Being White: A Raw, Honest Conversation by Allie Jane Bruce (Children & Libraries, Fall 2015)



Can We Talk About Whiteness? (NPR’s Code Switch podcast)


Additional Reading:

10 Ways White People Are More Racist Than They Realize by Kalli Holloway (Salon via Alternet)

What White Children Need to Know About Race (from NAIS)

The All-Too-Familiar Fog of White Authenticating by Nina Lindsay (on the Reading While White blog)



What Is Privilege? | Buzzfeed

How the Biases in the Back of Your Mind Affect How You Feel About Race | PBS Newshour

How To Talk About Race | Eric Deggans/TEDx


Week 4: Microaggressions


Microaggressions Matter (from The Atlantic)

Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews by Malinda Lo (from Diversity in YA blog)


Additional Reading:, a visual representation of everyday microaggressions.

Microaggressions in Everyday Life (from the University of Missouri)


More readings, as recommended in our live chat with Malinda Lo:

Crystallizing Microaggressions

Culturally Generic/Neutral?

The Road to Heck

NLGJA Stylebook



Microaggressions in Everyday Life

Racial Microaggressions: Comments That Sting | NYTimes
Week 5: Intersectionality


What Is Intersectionality? (from SRS Discussion Forum)

Broadening Feminism(s): Intersectionality 101 (from LIP)

Rethinking Sexism: How Trans Women Challenge Feminism (alternet)

Sometimes Intersectionality Means You STFU by April Hathcock (At the Intersection blog)





Week 6: Cultural Authenticity and Authorial Responsibility


Who Can Tell My Story? by Jacqueline Woodson (Horn Book, Jan/Feb 1998)

Writing About Race (from Connecting YA)

Evaluating Cultural Authenticity in Multicultural Picture Books (Library Quarterly, 2014)


Additional Reading:

Sensitivity Readers and Why I Pulled a Project (from Debut Author series on Mary Robinette Kowal blog)



Cultural Authenticity | Rudine Sims Bishop

Week 7: Historical Accuracy, Smiling Slaves, and Recent Controversies


“Self-censorship” of Children’s Book Depicting Smiling Slave Condemned by Alison Flood (The Guardian, Jan. 25, 2016)

The Real Censorship in Children’s Books: Smiling Slaves Is Just the Half of It by Daniel José Older (The Guardian, Jan. 29, 2016)

How Two “Slavery with a Smile” Controversies Are Changing the Conversation About Diverse Children’s Books by Sarah Seltzer (Flavorwire, Feb. 25, 2016)

A Native Perspective of Laura Amy Schlitz’s The Hired Girl by Debbie Reese (American Indians in Children’s Literature)

Which Book Will Hurt Which Reader How? by Roger Sutton (Read Roger, Horn Book blog) **Don’t miss the discussion in the comments.**

Accuracy or Bias: On Prejudicial Characters in Children’s Literature and Beyond by Justine Ireland (Bookriot)


Additional Reading

Thoughts On “But Kids Say This Stuff!” by Allie Jane Bruce (Reading While White blog)

Are Historical Heroes Allowed to Have Prejudices in Children’s Literature? by Betsy Bird (from Fuse 8 blog)

The Pocahontas Paradox: A Cautionary Tale for Educators by Cornel Pewewardy (Journal of Navajo Education, 1996/7)



“Huckleberry Finn” and the N-word | 60 Minutes
Week 8: Reading and Evaluating Through a Diverse Lens


I Gave a Speech About Race to the Publishing Industry and No One Heard Me by Mira Jacob (via Buzzfeed)

Milestones for Diversity in Children’s Literature and Library Services by KT Horning (Children & Libraries, Fall 2015)


Additional Reading

Up for Discussion: When Is It Okay to Mention “Diversity” in a Review?

Ten Steps for Reviewing Books (from NAEYC)


Special Guest Keynote:

Reviewing Through a Diverse Lens | KT Horning