Partnership: Oregon Humanities Conversation Project
SMART has collaborated with Oregon Humanities to host conversations about race across the state through the organization’s Conversation Project. The Conversation Project brings Oregonians together to talk—across differences, beliefs, and backgrounds—about important issues and ideas. SMART’s Program Director, Alexis James, is leading a conversation called White Allyship in Close-knit Communities. Community members statewide can apply to host Conversations in their communities; the cost ranges from $150-600 depending on the capacity of the hosting organization. Learn more about how to host a Conversation here.
The Importance of Window & Mirror Books
Mirror books allow readers to see images that reflect their own lives, helping them to develop a positive sense of identity and self-esteem, and also improve their reading comprehension and language skills. Window books allow readers to see the lives of people with experiences different from their own.
Grace Lin is an author and illustrator of books for children and teens, typically focusing on the Asian-American experience. She believes, “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon every day, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.”
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community: The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf | Grace Lin | TEDxNatick
Diversity in Children’s Book Publishing
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center releases annual statistics on diversity in children’s book publishing. In a study of 3,700 children’s books:
- 9% had significant African or African American content/characters; 29% of these books were by Black authors and/or illustrators
- 8% had significant Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific American content/characters; 39% were by authors and/or illustrators of Asian/Pacific heritage)
- About 6% had significant Latinx content/characters; 33% were by Latinx authors and/or illustrators
- Just under 2% had significant American Indian/First Nations content/characters; 52% were by American Indian/First Nations authors and/or illustrators
SMART’s Theory of Change
SMART’s combines two strategies — shared, one-on-one reading time and access to books — that are both grounded in research on how children develop literacy skills. Our Theory of Change maps our work and the intended outcomes for the children we serve.