Episode 15: Dr. Tonya Leslie on diversity and inclusion in children's texts
On this episode, our guest is Dr. Tonya Leslie, an educational consultant who has worked for over 20 years in educational publishing. Dr. Leslie talks about creating educational content that engages students and youth in developing a cultural consciousness as a force for understanding ourselves and our society. She has also worked with school districts nationally providing workshops and seminars to help educators integrate this belief into their practice.
We speak with Dr. Leslie about her work on around literacy, academic resilience and culturally responsive content and pedagogy, and how literacy might facilitate resilience in vulnerable school groups and, in particular, in children of color.
In our conversation, Dr. Leslie and I spoke about the following:
- The Little House on the Prairie books and TV series
- The concept of books as "mirrors" and "windows" as coined by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop
- Dr. Tann, in the Little House Series and the controversy about how race is represented in the series
- A description of Dr. Alfred Tatum's concept of the "textual lineage" of a teacher to teach tolerance
- The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
- W.E.B DuBois' The Brownies' Books
- Diversity gap in children's books as measured by the CCBC Multicultural Statistics in 2017
- We Need Diverse Books Website
- The work of Geneva Gay and Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings in influencing Dr. Leslie work in culturally responsible pedagogy
- The children's book George and Becoming Nicole, two texts, Dr. Leslie has used in her trainings
- The Doll Test (original) and the CNN retest
- Jessica Love's children book, Julian is a Mermaid
- Abby Wambach's commencement speech at Barnard College this May 2018 (transcript available here)
- The College Board's proposed changes to the AP World History course and its subsequent reversal adding 250 more years
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