Reading Nation
Where are the People of Color in Children’s Books?

Walter Dean Myers, whose books are treasured by students, and teachers asked the question above in an article for the New York Times. As a booklover and a voracious reader personally and professionally. I’ve adopted the mantra books hold up mirrors to ourselves and windows to the world.

With that in mind, all of us at Scholastic are always on the lookout for the best nonfiction and fiction, classic and contemporary. Walter Dean Myers based his thoughtful piece on a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin. One of his most compelling arguments is about the restricted and narrow the point of view expressed about the experiences of people of color in the books reviewed.

As you plan end of the year reading and start to motivate your children to read throughout the summer, keep in mind: 

1. The power of choice – Encourage kids to find books that “speak to them” in your classroom library, in the school library and in the public library.

2. Get carded – Bring your students into the reading community by taking a trip to the local library and have them get library cards. Set up a meeting with the librarian to talk about the kinds of books they want to read.

3. Read It’s Not Complicated! What I know for Sure About Helping Our Students of Color Become Successful Readers by Phyllis Hunter for more ideas.

Happy Reading! 


Francie Alexander is the Chief Academic Officer of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She works across both the education and consumer divisions of HMH, advising on the creation of educational products and services for children both in and out of school.

Francie also serves as a spokesperson on educational best practices, literacy, and parenting. She has been a frequent guest on NBC's TODAY Show, has written columns for The New York Post, and was "The Book Nanny" for Los Angeles Family Magazine. Additionally, Francie has authored more than 40 Scholastic titles including Dots! Dots! Dots!: At the Museum, Clifford's Phonics Fun, and How Does Your Salad Grow?

  • You know what, isn't it about the time to start looking for equality everywhere? Like, in the books too? Are we still so close-minded?

    I think it is so important to encourage your students to read. I love the tip with taking them to the library and giving them cards. I will be doing it for sure!