By Elizabeth Wroten
The State of: Biographies and Summer Reading After Weeding
On 09, May 2016 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten
Shortly after starting to look at our diversity numbers I decided that I could tackle weeding the biography collection. It was relatively small and the third grade students would be using it at the end of the school year for a project. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have the biography of Christopher Columbus removed as an option in which it states that Columbus knew the “Indians” he “discovered” couldn’t be Chinese because they were not yellow with slanted eyes (I SO WISH I WAS JOKING ABOUT THIS, BUT I AM NOT!). There were several other questionable bits of information in that book as well as some incredibly questionable other books. I also pulled biographies of people who were white and male and no one cares about. A handful of books were moved to other collections that are used for very specific units of study in the classrooms. Here are the new numbers:
Sure, they still aren’t great, but it’s a start. There is probably another stack we could get rid of, however we’ve got a decent core collection and now we can work on building it up. No more biographies of dead white men. We have a lot of those already, time for something new.
I also went back and revamped the summer reading lists before they went out to our families. I thought I was intentional last year, but I was way more intentional this year. Way more and I think the numbers really reflect that. Here they are:
Note, this lumps all the grades together. As with my last post on summer reading you can see individual grade level numbers here. I was just going to be WAY too many charts to do each one. Please do go look at numbers. It’s also telling. Also note that there was no fifth grade list last year. The teacher wanted to make her own. This year she is leaving so I made up a list.