Upper Division (grades 4-8) had a visit yesterday from author Lamar Giles. Giles, who writes books for middle grade (ages 8-12) and YA (ages 12-17) audiences, as well as adults, also helped found the organization We Need Diverse Books.
Presenting to the students, Giles talked about his path to becoming a writer. He grew up in a family that valued reading and he loved to read, but he also lived in a Virginia factory town where a good factory job was the aspiration of many, and bookish kids like him were often teased.
Giles also talked about the idea of windows and mirrors in literature: books that offer a window into a different world, and books that provide a mirror, offering more relatable experiences and characters. Both are great, he said. But there is an imbalance, and he talked about the lack of diversity, particularly of characters of color, in children's books, and how this is changing, but slowly, leading him and others to start the organization We Need Diverse Books.