PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — It is very important, now more than ever, to have a conversation with our children about inclusion, diversity, and race relations. However, for many, it is hard to figure out exactly how to start that conversation.

Librarians across the country have an idea. Turn to books!

Virginia Beach City Public Schools librarians emailed a list of books they compiled for students and parents to read together, or on their own, that address the topic.

Tammie Soccio is a Librarian at Glenwood Elementary School. She tells WAVY.com that their collection of books about inclusion and diversity has been growing over the years.

She and her co-workers throughout the district put together a list of their favorites including “The Day You Begin” by Jacqueline Woodson, and “Sulwe” by Oscar Award Winning Actress Lupita Nyong’o.

The long list of books is for children in Kindergarten through 12th grade, and possibly beyond.
Soccio says there is a popular quote among librarians that “books can be windows and books can be mirrors.”

“So, we want our children to be able to have both. They look in the mirror and they see a character or situation and they can relate to that, or they can look through the window and see a situation that maybe they are not familiar with or they haven’t encountered, but they will get a greater understanding of it,” says Soccio.

Because many libraries are closed and school is coming to an end, it may be hard to get the physical books on the list right now, but Soccio says you can still reach out to your librarians. Public libraries are also sharing e-books and audiobooks.

Right now, many publishing companies have loosened restrictions for copyright, so many books on the list can be found on YouTube where you can watch someone read them there.

Remember, the selections range from the youngest elementary student to the oldest high school student. There is truly something for everyone.

For the complete list of books, click here.

You can also find a list of books for adults, teens, and youth that was put together by the Virginia Beach Public Library System by clicking here.

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