Most School Books Don’t Reflect Diverse Characters

By Ann Schimke

Julia Torres spends a lot of time thinking about whether students see themselves in the books they read for English class or check out from the school library.

She missed that sense of familiarity during her own teen years.

“Most of what I was assigned to read did not reflect anything close to my lived reality,” said Torres, a school librarian in northeast Denver 

It’s part of the reason Torres, with three other educators of color, founded a grassroots effort called Disrupt Texts, which aims to make traditional school reading lists and curriculum more inclusive and equitable. 

Torres, who works on a campus with five small middle and high schools, talked to Chalkbeat about the problem with books that focus on the suffering of people of color, her worries about gentrification, and the decision to double her library’s manga collection.