Fostering Racial Literacy with Children's Literature

Talking about issues related to racial justice is difficult in today's political climate. Given the uptick of reported incidents of racism that students of color are experiencing in schools, alongside recent developments with state laws, educational policies and instructional practices connected to anti-racism and equity, this webinar will focus on children's literature that supports racial literacy development.

This webinar aired live on September 19, 2022. 

Learning Objectives

1. Participants will learn about components of racial literacy development. 
2. Participants will become familiar with titles of children's literature that support racial literacy development.
3. Participants will make connections among critical inquiry and critical literacies to inform their approach to instructional strategies with selected titles.

ALSC Core Competencies
  • Cultivates an environment for enjoyable and convenient use of library resources, specifically removing barriers to access presented by socioeconomic circumstances, race, culture, privilege, language, gender, ability, religion, immigration status, and commercialism, and other diversities. (1.7)
  • Models customer service with children, families, and their caregivers that is culturally respectful and developmentally appropriate, and works to overcome systems of oppression, discrimination, exclusion, and ethnocentrism. (2.5)
  • Designs, promotes, presents, and evaluates a variety of diverse programs for children, with consideration of equity, diversity, and inclusion; principles of child development; and the needs, interests, and goals of all children, their caregivers, and educators in the community. (3.1)
  • Demonstrates knowledge, management, use and appreciation of children's literature, multimodal materials, digital media, and other materials that contribute to a diverse, current and relevant children's collection. (4.1)
  • Advocates for and purchases materials by and about underrepresented communities, addressing the need for more representation of marginalized groups. (4.3)


  • Dr. Grace Enriquez is a Professor of Language and Literacy at Lesley University. A former English Language Arts teacher and literacy staff developer, she bridges her work with teachers and students with ethnographic and critical research in high-needs urban populations to examine their responses to literacy instruction in school contexts. Specifically, her scholarship focuses on children’s literature for social justice; critical literacies; reader response; intersections of literacies, identities, and embodiment; and the teaching of writing. Grace’s work has been published in a variety of national and international refereed journals. She also serves on national literacy committees and editorial review boards. She is the Children's Literature Department Editor for the children’s literature review column of Language Arts, as well as co-author of The Classroom Bookshelf, a blog published weekly by the School Library Journal.

  • Dr. Detra Price-Dennis is an Associate Professor of Education in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, in the Communications, Media, Learning Technologies, and Design program. Detra serves as Co-Director of the Reimagining Education Online Advanced Certificate Program, and is the founding director of #JustLit - a media based project that seeks to provide multimodal resources about literature, media, and social change in education. Her scholarship draws on ethnographic and sociocultural lenses to examine the intersections of literacy education, technology, and curriculum development as a means to identify and amplify equity-oriented pedagogies in K-8 classrooms. She sits on the board of directors for the Literacy Research Association, co-hosts the National Council of Teachers of English’s weekly Member Gatherings for literacy educators, and is the Chair of the National Council of Teachers of English Assembly for Research. Her professional background includes work as an elementary school teacher, an administrator of a graduate teacher education program, and an Assistant Professor of Literacy Studies and Elementary Inclusive Education.