Here’s the reading list for my Global Search for Justice 3990 Social Justice and Children’s Literature course, which I am teaching for the third time for St. Catherine University’s undergraduate CORE Curriculum.

  1. Bryan, Ashley.  Freedom Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
  2. Budhos, Marina. Watched
  3. Butler, Octavia E. Kindred (graphic novel adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings)
  4. Campbell Bartoletti, Susan. They Called Themselves the KKK
  5. Cohn, Diana. Illustrated by Francisco Delgado. ¡Sí, Se Puede! Yes We Can! Janitor Strike in LA
  6. Dauviller, Loïc. Art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo. Hidden
  7. Diaz, Alexandra. The Only Road
  8. Diggs, Taye. Illustrated by Shane Evans. Mixed Me!
  9. Harris, Duchess and Sue Bradford Edwards. Black Lives Matter: Special Reports
  10. Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
  11. Howell, Patricia Hruby. Illustrated by Shadra Strickland. Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case
  12. Jordan-Fenton, Christy and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. When I was Eight
  13. José Older, Daniel. Shadowshaper
  14. Jung, Mike. Unidentified Suburban Object
  15. Khan, Hena. Amina’s Voice
  16. Lai, Thanhha. Inside Out and Back Again
  17. Lewis, John. March trilogy (3 graphic novels)
  18. Okorafor, Nnedi. Akata Witch
  19. Park, Linda Sue. When My Name Was Keoko
  20. Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola. Eighth-Grade Superzero
  21. Saenz, Benjamin Alire. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
  22. Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis
  23. Tate, Don. Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
  24. Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give
  25. Weatherford, Carole Boston. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
  26. Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer
  27. Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese
  28. Yogi, Stan and Laura Atkins. Illustrated by Yutaka Houlette. Fred Korematsu Speaks Up
  29. Yousafzai, Malala. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education & Changed the World Young Readers Edition

Here it is! My (tentative-almost-final-subject-to-minor-tweaks) LIS 7210 Library Materials for Children reading list and Week 1 and Week 2 context reads for 2017 fall!

Week 1 ~ September 6 ~ Introduction & Publishing


  1. L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time
  2. Johnson, Crockett. Harold and the Purple Crayon
    1. Nel, Phil. (2016 October 20). “How to read Harold.” Phil Nel: Nine Kinds of Pie blog.
  3. Sweet, Melissa. Balloons Over Broadway
    1. UMN CLRC online exhibit:
    2. The Making of Picture Book Illustrations:


  1. ALSC Education Committee. (2015). Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries.
  2. From Cover to Cover. Introduction and Chapter 1 “A Critical Approach to Children’s Books” and chapter 5 “Picture Books”
  3. Bang, Molly. Picture This! How Pictures Work (all)
  4. Bishop, Rudine. (1990 Summer). Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors. Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom 6 (3).


  1. Online – Introduce yourself to the class by Tuesday, September 5. Share 1) what your interest is in taking the class; 2) What you hope to get out of it. Refer to the ALSC competencies, when necessary; 3) your twitter handle, if you have one.


Week 2 ~ Sept 13 ~ Popular Part I


  1. Riordan, Rick. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Book 1)
  2. Jamieson, Victoria. Roller Girl


  1. From Cover to Cover. Chapter 3 “Traditional Literature”
  2. Low, Jason. (2016 January 26). Where is the Diversity in Publishing? The 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey Results. The Open Book.


  1. TBD


NOTE: On Wednesday, September 27 poet and novelist Jacqueline Woodson will speak at Talking Volumes. We will not hold class that evening so students may attend this event (optional, as it requires a ticket). If you wish to attend, I highly encourage you to purchase a ticket ASAP. In place of class, we will have some sort of online class activity (TBD).

A-Z List of Texts

1. Barnhill, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon
2. Barton, Chris. Illustrated by Don Tate. Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
3. Bell, CeCe. El Deafo
4. Brown, Monica. Illustrated by Angela Dominguez. Lola Levine is Not Mean!
5. Bryan, Ashley. Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
6. Diaz, Alexandra. The Only Road
7. Duetsch, Stacia. Girls Who Code Book #1 The Friendship Code
8. Edwards, Sue Bradford and Duchess Harris. Black Lives Matter (Special Reports)
9. Engle, Margarita. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
10. Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House
11. Freedman, Russell. We Will Not be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler
12. Gino, Alex. George
13. Griffin, Molly Beth. Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell. Rhoda’s Rock Hunt
14. Harris, Robie. Illustrated by Michael Emberley. It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
15. Jamieson, Victoria. Roller Girl
16. Johnson, Crockett. Harold and the Purple Crayon
17. Jordan-Fenton, Christy and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. When I was Eight
18. Jung, Mike. Unidentified Suburban Object
19. Khan, Hena. Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
20. L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time
21. Lai, Thanhha. Inside Out and Back Again
22. Milton, Stephanie. Minecraft: Essential Handbook
23. Oppenheim, Joanne. Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference
24. Palacio, R.J. Wonder
25. Phi, Bao. Illustrated by Thi Bui. A Different Pond
26. Riordan, Rick. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Book 1)
27. Rowling, J.K. Illustrated by Mary Granpré. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
28. Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. Jingle Dancer 
29. Steptoe, Javaka. Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat
30. Sweet, Melissa. Balloons Over Broadway
31. Tan, Susan. Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte. Cilla Lee-Jenkins, Future Author Extraordinaire
32. Tingle, Tim. How I Became a Ghost
33. Ursu, Anne. Breadcrumbs
34. Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer
35. Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming
36. Yang, Gene Luen and Mike Holmes. Secret Coders Book 1

1. Moana
2. Frozen
3. Wonder (optional)


I’ve been attending the American Library Association (ALA) Annual and Midwinter conferences and Children’s Literature Association‘s (ChLA) annual conferences for more than 10 years. This year, the two conferences overlapped, and I had already committed to presenting at ALA (and seriously, who can afford both conferences every year?), so I was unable to go to ChLA. But there are some interesting things happening in both spaces that are worth talking about. The demographics of both organizations and related professions have shifted over the years, but they still remain very white (librarianship [88% white], K-12 education [82% white], and publishing [79% white].) For many years we’ve been having conversations and taking action in both associations to “diversify,” to dismantle and re-make and make space for those who aren’t typically there. This has been and continues to be exhausting. Edi is exhausted. April is exhausted. I’m exhausted. But there we were, and here we are, doing the work.

The week before the ALA and ChLA conferences, The Lion and the Unicorn published the essays that my colleagues and I wrote about being Women of Color (WOC) scholars in the majority white #KidLit field (huge thanks to Kate Slater and Karin Westman). Our essays are gathered together under the title #WeNeedDiverseScholars, a nod to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement. We submitted these essays last fall; since then, we have been working hard to launch a new peer-reviewed, online, open access journal, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature (RDYL). Our journal makes space for voices and topics that are traditionally underrepresented, rejected, and delegitimized in the academy. Folks’ enthusiastic support of our #WeNeedDiverseScholars essays and new journal has been rewarding, but the whole thing has also been emotionally, psychologically, and intellectually exhausting. But we’re doing the work.

I know folks at the ChLA conference talked about our essays, our journal, the lack of diversity, and the macro and microaggressions toward POC/Native folks and scholarship. Phil Nel blogged about our essays, and ChLA president Kenneth Kidd talked about them in his presidential address. I heard the “Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Changing the Culture and Practices of ChLA” roundtable, facilitated by some of the most woke members of the association, was legit. It was a packed room. Folks showed up to do the work.

Meanwhile, on Saturday at ALA, Edith Campbell, Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Irania Patterson, and I gave a presentation to a full room of (mostly white and mostly female) children’s librarians about how to more radically interpret the 2015 ALSC competencies. It was thrilling to see so many folks wanting to learn and do the work, but the work isn’t easy or comfortable. In addressing Competency VII, I asked participants to reflect not only on “the effects of racism, ethnocentrism, classism, heterosexism, genderism, ableism, and other systems of discrimination and exclusion within the profession” (Competency VII.5) and in our lives, but also to think about the effects of homogeneity and whiteness. I asked them to think about whether or not they are recruiting and mentoring (Competency VII.8) people who look like me, like Trayvon, like Philando, to LIS, or if they’re recruiting and mentoring more people who look like them. It’s uncomfortable, but let’s ask the questions. Let’s do the work.

I also heard, in different spaces, some white women use[d] the words “inclusive” and “welcoming” to describe our association. The first time, my head whipped up and I did a double take. Remember when novelist Chimananda Adichie told a white man he didn’t get to define racism? It’s not up to the majority to determine whether or not the space is/has become welcoming and inclusive. Those sentiments are aspirational, not reflective. Do we have to remind folks that we’re not there yet, that we haven’t been for a long time? (Thanks, Dr. Nicole Cooke, for addressing this at the Saturday ALSC membership meeting.) But yes, let’s get there. Let’s do the work.

Speaking of not there yet – many folks, especially WOC, who have come up before in both ALA and ChLA have worked hard to make these spaces safe. We thank you for your work and your sacrifices, for smashing ceilings and paving the way. But the way is still long. We’re not there yet, and we won’t be for a long while. Those of us coming up now are still fighting to be seen as human. This is the ongoing work.

So, like Edi and April, I am exhausted. But there remains work to be done, and there are others coming up after us. We see you. We’re here for you. We do the work for you, and for the young people we all serve.

Caldecott and CSK Award winner Javaka Steptoe said in his Caldecott speech, “I ask that we all keep fighting, and that we take this attitude with us in our day-to-day business. Please don’t feel overwhelmed — we can all pick an individual focus, and in this way everything will get accomplished. You will become better. We will become better.” (Here’s his CSK speech).

“We will become better.” I believe this too. And so, exhausted or not, overwhelmed or not, the work continues. We’re doing the work. Let’s get to work.

Please find here a document where our panelists have compiled resources to help with putting the 2015 ALSC Competencies into action: 2017ALSCHandout (PDF)


St. Catherine University’s
Master of Library and Information Science Program presents

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, MacArthur GENE-IUS, and award-winning graphic novelist
Gene Luen Yang

Asian America in Graphic Novels: An Evening With Gene Luen Yang

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm
Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium, Whitby Hall
St. Catherine University
2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105


Yang Gene Luen - American Born ChineseYang-BoxersSaints

Co-hosted by the St. Catherine University Master of Library and Information Science Program, Library, Friends of the Libraries, Education Department, Multicultural & International Programs & ServicesAmerican Library Association Student ChapterProgressive Librarians Guild, Student Governance OrganizationEndowed Mission Chairs, and Addendum Books.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking is free on campus after 5 pm. St. Kate’s campus map.

Contact: Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen, MLIS Program (, for updated event information.

Save the date flyerYangGene-StKatesJuly12-SaveTheDate (please download and share)

RSVP to the Facebook event!

A Gene Luen Yang Reading/Viewing List

  1. Ahlin, Charlotte. (2016 Sept 23). Who Is Gene Luen Yang? 9 Things To Know About The “Genius” Grant-Winning Graphic Novelist. in Bustle.
  2. Benedetti, Angelina and Cindy Dobrez. (2007 Spring). Gene Luen Yang Wins 2007 Printz Award. YALS.
  3. Chaney, Michael A. (2011 Summer). Animal Subjects of Graphic Novels. in College Literature 38(3).
  4. Chen, Irene (Chen Ying-Yu). (2009). Monkey King’s Journey to the West: Transmission of a Chinese Folktale to Anglophone Children. in Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature 47(1).
  5. Gomes, Cheryl, with James Bucky Carter. (2010). Navigating through Social Norms, Negotiating Place: How American Born Chinese Motivates Struggling Learners. in English Journal 100(2).
  6. Schieble, Melissa. (2014). Reading Images in American Born Chinese through Critical Visual Literacy. in English Journal 103(5).
  7. Serrao, Nivea. (2017 May 2). Fresh Off the Boat: Read pages from the Free Comic Book Day comic. in Entertainment Weekly.
  8. Song, Min Hyoung. (2010 March). “How Good It Is to Be a Monkey”: Comics, Racial Formation, and American Born Chinese. in Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 43(1).
  9. Stratman, Jacob. (2016) “How Good It is To Be a Monkey”: Conversion and Spiritual Formation in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese. in Christianity & Literature 65(4).
  10. Yang, Gene Luen. (2012 July 9). Charlotte Zolotow Lecture 2011 – Gene Luen Yang. UWMadisonEducation.
  11. Yang, Gene Luen, Marek Oziewicz, and Emily Midkiff. (2014 Jan). The “Asian Invasion”: An Interview with Gene Luen Yang. In The Lion and the Unicorn 38(1).
  12. Yang, Gene Luen. (2013 Nov 25). Gene Luen Yang. on Sound and Fury: The Angry Asian Podcast.
  13. Yang, Gene Luen. (2014). A Mistake in The Shadow Hero. DiversityinYA tumblr.
    1. Cavna, Michael. (2014 Dec 9). THE SHADOW HERO’: Author Gene Luen Yang admits research error through new comic. The Washington Post.
  14. Yang, Gene Luen. (2016 July 20). Gene Luen Yang Episode #063. on Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast.
  15. Yang, Gene Luen. (2016 Sept 13). EPISODE 28: CREATING STORIES WITH GENE LUEN YANG. on The Asian American Voice.
  16. Yang, Gene Luen. (2016 Sept 21). Graphic Novelist Gene Luen Yang | 2016 MacArthur Fellow. MacArthur Foundation.
  17. Yang, Gene Luen. (2016 Dec 2). Why comics belong in the classroom | Gene Yang | TEDxManhattanBeach. Tedx.
  18. Yang, Gene Luen, Greg Pak, Phil Yu, and Jeff Yang. (2017 May 12). Episode 8: They Call Us Gene Luen Yang and Greg Pak. on They Call Us Bruce Podcast.



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