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Should America Read This Book?: Home

Everything you will need to research Ms. Consalvo's Should America Read This Book? project.

Should America Read This Book?: A Resource Guide

Here are the resources you will need for your project in Ms. Consalvo's Honors American Literature class.

In the left column are links to articles, book chapters, and websites, organized by hashtag. The hashtags are also clickable--try them!

On the right are literary databases for finding information about books, authors, and literary criticism. Below, is a search widget for four EBSCO databases that could contain information about teaching and learning literature. You can search all four of them directly from this page (if you're searching from home, use the passwords in the box below).

Questions? Just ask. 

Websites by Hashtag


Decolonizing the Classroom: Lessons in Multicultural Education                                  A professor of education recalls two teachers from his own high school education who embodied opposite approaches to the diverse students in their classrooms. Decolonization is not only about which texts we study, but institutional attitudes towards students' own knowledge and culture.
Decolonizing the Classroom: Step 1 From the National Council of Teachers of English, an essay outlining the methods by which teachers can decolonize their teaching practice. 
Decolonizing Our Classrooms Starts With Us From the PBS Teachers' Lounge, this article invites teachers to analyze the ideology behind their teaching as a first step in decolonizing the classroom.
It's Time to Decolonize That Syllabus A young PhD student attempts to create a decolonized American literature syllabus for the college course she is teaching and comes under considerable pressure to make it more "canonical."


How the #DisruptTexts Movement Can Help English Teachers Be More Inclusive This in-depth introduction to #DisruptTexts for teachers and parents comes from Mindshift, a public radio initiative about educational issues. 
#DisruptTexts The homepage of the #DisruptTexts organization includes resources for teachers, blog posts, and this important statement of principles.
National Council of Teachers of English--In Dialogue A series of short academic essays by English teachers and professors of English education focused on the role school policy plays in antiracism and inclusion work.
Disrupting Texts as a Restorative Practice This short essay from one of the founders of #DisruptTexts lays out the two broad approaches to an antiracist literature curriculum: replacing texts, and teaching old texts through new critical lenses.


The Danger of a Single Story Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie delivered one of the most influential TED talks of all time in 2009, when she told the story of growing up in Nigeria reading only British children's literature, and believing that stories had to me about white people who lived far away and looked nothing like her. Watch the video, or read the transcript here.
Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors: The Enduring Impact of Rudine Sims Bishop’s Work  In 1990, the late scholar Rudine Sims Bishop wrote that books serve as windows (looking out on the world), mirrors (a way to understand the self), and sliding glass doors (a path into a different future), and argued that the books Black children were taught in school either rendered them invisible, or showed them only harmful stereotypes. In the 30 years since, Dr. Bishop's metaphor has guided teachers, parents, and librarians to choose texts that can serve as mirrors and windows to all children. Requires school password. Full text is available as a pdf in the upper left corner of the page. 
Nuance Versus Novelty: Examining What Constitutes Literary and Rigorous Texts     

The author argues that teachers need not sacrifice academic rigor when replacing certain canonical texts with young adult literature that students will find relevant to their lives. Explores the definition and purpose of academic rigor in the debate over which books should be taught in school. Requires school password. Full text is available as a pdf in the upper left corner of the page. 

Research & Policy: Stories "Still" Matter: Rethinking the Role of Diverse Children's Literature Today    The need for diverse books is not new! In fact, since the the 19th century, parents and teachers have sought representative literature for children. This article connects that history to the 21st century necessity of helping all children see their lives reflected in the books they read and study, and provides the research to support the crucial role of representation in literacy development. Requires database password. 
Culturally Diverse Literature: Enriching Variety in an Era of Common Core State Standards   The authors explain the importance of high-quality, culturally diverse literature K-12, outline the challenges teachers face in selecting diverse texts while also following curriculum mandates, and offer suggested books and strategies.
We Need Diverse Books We Need Diverse Books is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to put "more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children."


A Classic Debate               In this article from Literacy Today, an educational equity consultant explores both the advantages and disadvantages of teaching canonical literature and suggests seven strategies for teaching canonical works with a fresh perspective. Requires database password. Full text is available as a pdf in the upper left hand corner of the page. 
English Literature--Without the Empire Nostalgia                                  A PhD student at Cambridge University argues that students' demands for more diverse texts can also be satisfied by considering canonical authors in light of the global cross-currents that stimulated and inspired British authors from the 16th century onward.
"The Horror" of Structural Racism: Helping Students Take a Critical Stance Using Classic Literature

How can teachers use a classic text, particularly one notorious for its racist depictions and assumptions, to teach today's students? By teaching critical thinking. "This essay challenges the idea that 'outdated' literary works have no place in today's multicultural classroom, as it connects critical literacy concepts to classic works and explores how such concepts are inherent in our society based on the ideas presented in the literature. Using Heart of Darkness, this work connects structural racism to Conrad's novella and explores how students can examine how structural racism is inherent in our society."

Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Antiracist Literature Instruction for White Students This is a link to a Google Books preview. Use the pulldown menu next to "Front Cover" on the top right to select the chapter entitled "Unearthing Whiteness in Canonical Texts About Racism" on page 51. This chapter explores how teachers can teach books such as Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird by reading these old texts in new ways. You might find other chapters useful, too. 
"Teaching Huckleberry Finn in an Era of Tenuous Race Relations," chapter in Critical Approaches to Teaching the High School Novel
Reinterpreting Canonical Literature
This is a link to a Google Books Preview. In this chapter, the authors explain why and how to teach Huckleberry Finn, teaching students to interpret the text with new lenses. You might find other chapters useful, too.


#OwnVoices A blog post from YA (and autistic #OwnVoices) author Corinne Duyvis, who started the #OwnVoices hashtag in 2015 "to recommend kidlit about diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group." Here, she outlines the concept in more detail.
Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with “Classic” Books That Are Also Racist This article from School Library Journal outlines some of the problems with beloved classics, including books like To Kill a Mockingbird or Huckleberry Finn that examine racism, but deny agency to marginalized characters and paint white protagonists as saviors. The librarians interviewed promote #OwnVoices novels to their students.
The Struggle between Diversity and #OwnVoices An #OwnVoices author draws the important distinction between diversity of characters and diversity of authors, and addresses some of the backlash from white authors. 
#OwnVoices: Why We Need Diverse Authors in Children’s Literature A disabled #OwnVoices author explains how #OwnVoices authors enrich readers' understanding of the world by writing authentically and honestly about their lived experiences.


This first set of databases contains literary criticism about specific books and authors, as well as articles about literary history, contemporary issues, and critical lenses.  (See the box at the bottom of the column for user ID and password information.)

With this customized search widget, you can search four relevant EBSCO databases at once. Here, you will find articles about curriculum, teaching, educational theory, and librarianship that will help you develop your argument about what kinds of books students should read. (See the box at the bottom of the column for user ID and password information.)

Curriculum & Education Search
Limit Your Results
  • Select / Deselect all
  • Academic Search Premier
  • ERIC
  • Professional Development Collection
  • Teacher Reference Center

Logging into the Databases from Home


From school, clicking on any of the database links will get you directly in to any database.

From home, you need login credentials. These are subscription databases, which means that someone (either the state of NJ or Northern Highlands) has paid for you to have access, so you have to prove that you are entitled to access them. Click on the image below to access the Google Doc containing the passwords. You must be signed in with a Northern Highlands account to view these passwords.



Having trouble? Email the librarian at, or stop by the Library.


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Julie Goldberg
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