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  • Rabia Khokhar

Picture Books: Identity+Building a Sense of Self

It is important that we are using books in our learning spaces to help our students build their identities and a strong sense of self. Students need to be seen through an asset based lens for all of the intersectional identities and experiences they bring to learning spaces.

The books we share can help them see reflections of themselves and others in their local, broader and global communities. The books we share can also help springboard important conversations around the importance of names, exploring our similarities and differences and disrupting neutrality and colour blindness.


Often, in schools we focus too much on our 'similarities' so that we can 'control' and keep the conversations 'neat'. We need to talk about our differences, not as a deficit but simply as an aspect of our humanity. This can then help us think about how our experiences in the world are different and lead to further conversations that will help students become critically conscious. We need to talk about our skin colours so that we can disrupt ideas around 'colour-blindness'. We need to 'see' each others colour because that is part of our identity and story.

In having these conversations, we will help our students develop their identity and a strong sense of self. Learning about their own identities will help students learn about the identities and experiences of their fellow classmates, school and community members.

I hope that the book recommendations below will help us continue to have these important conversations with students. We must always ensure that the resources we use are reflective, responsive and the 'right fit' for our students, communities and context.



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