Windows & Mirrors 2023
"Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books." - Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop
Since 2015, a committee of NECBA (New England Children's Bookselling Advisory Council) community members has curated an annual list of diverse and inclusive titles that they feel best represent the concept of Windows & Mirrors (best articulated by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop).
A Day With No Words written by Tiffany Hammond and illustrated by Kate Cosgrove
Beautifully written and illustrated, this story is about Aiden, a nonverbal autistic child, who communicates in several different ways, including using a tablet. One day he and his mother go to the park and are confronted by the ignorance of other families who misconstrue and judge Aiden's behavior. Angered by their contempt, Aiden's mother is forced to stand up not only for her son, but also for other families like hers. This book is a powerful affirmation about the importance of having compassion and understanding, and reminds us that words have meaning no matter how they are communicated.
- Laure Colodner, Odyssey Books (South Hadley, MA)
The Truth About Dragons written by Julie Leung and illustrated by Hanna Cha
The wonderful children’s book invites you on an epic quest where bold, beautiful illustrations guide the main character to learn about dragons. First he walks through oak forests and avoids the likes of hobgoblins and will-o’-the-wisps of Western lore to learn about the fire breathing dragons that protect piles of treasure. Next he navigates great bamboo stalks and encounters nine-tailed foxes and the moon goddess of Eastern lore to learn about the serpent-like dragons with pearls in their chins that rule the skies and rivers. Both dragons are equally important and equally enchanting and our young traveler learns that his dual ancestry means he comes from both worlds. A gorgeous tale about the beauty of being biracial with more than one culture to call your own, The Truth About Dragons will have you breathless and eagerly exploring every nook and cranny of the illustrations while simultaneously holding your hand to your heart in pure joy at the end, tears in your eyes as our young protagonist is put to sleep with his two grandmothers looking over him.
- Kimi Loughlin, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore (Acton, MA)
- Tildy Lutts, Belmont Books (Belmont, MA)
Salat in Secret written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Hatem Aly
“Daddy’s joy is bigger than him. It’s a wide, gap-toothed smile and a deep rumbling laugh that shakes the dinner table kind of joy.” When a book begins this way, you know that the story is going to be full of love and joy. It is Muhammad’s seventh birthday and he is finally old enough to pray five times a day. Having a place to pray at home is no problem, but what about at school? Muhammad has many worries-how to tell his teacher, what will his classmates say, where can he hide away to pray? After spending time with Dad, and seeing him pray out in the open, Muhammad comes to understand that prayer is not something to be hidden away. With that newfound confidence, Muhammad tells his teacher about his need for a place to pray, and even though he’s nervous about it, he also knows that “bravery sometimes comes with shaking”. The tension between fear and courage, and the empowering focus on empathy, self-confidence, and community building speaks to all children. As always, Hatem Aly’s illustrations are colorful and joyful, marrying perfectly with the text to create an absolute gem
- Lauren D’Alessio, Wellesley Books (Wellesley, MA)
A Day With No Words
The Truth About Dragons
Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine