See What We See (SWWS) is a coalition of writers, scholars, educators, librarians, and activists who believe that books reflect what is valued in society and can therefore shape people’s attitudes and actions towards one another.
Our commitment to social justice—and not only diversity—requires that we vigorously defend the social justice, treaty, and civil rights gains of the latter half of the twentieth century by working towards a body of children’s literature that includes the histories and lives of all people who live in the United States, especially as told by writers of color.
See What We See has three primary objectives:
- To promote engaging books for young readers that accurately reflect the many cultures, distinct traditions, and varied realities of Indigenous and people of color in historical and contemporary contexts.
- To expose and track inequity in children’s publishing.
- To provide substantive, critical reviews of children’s and young adult books in order to create awareness of the omissions, myths, stereotypes, and distortions that misrepresent Indigenous and people of color.
At See What We See we take our inspiration from the Council on Interracial Books for Children (CIBC). From 1965 until the mid-1980s, the CIBC made a difference in how people looked at books by providing critical analyses of popular, classic, and award winning books and fighting to reduce the many barriers that prevented people of color from participating in the children’s publishing industry.
We seek to engage in constructive dialogue with publishers, editors, writers, illustrators, book reviewers, educators, librarians, families, and community activists. We intend the content of this site to be rigorous yet readable and accessible to all. We hope especially to reach caregivers, teachers, and professors of pre-service education students because they introduce children to the books that will shape their perception of the world.
The See What We See Reviews Database
The SWWS reviews, drawn from coalition collaborators and beyond, are intended to 1) help teachers, caregivers, and librarians make informed choices, 2) guide writers, editors, and illustrators as they create materials for children, and 3) ultimately, to hold the publishing industry accountable.
The SWWS database is a unique, non-commercial project with no funding ties to the publishing industry. The books reviewed are categorized as Recommended, Recommended with Caveats, and Not Recommended. They include new titles and also many of the classics in children’s literature.
The SWWS reviews database links to reviews on many sites including American Indians in Children’s Literature, Edith Campbell’s Crazy Quilts, Zetta Elliott, Reading While White, DeColores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children, Latinxs in KidLit, Disability in KidLit, Africa Access, Rethinking Schools, Booktoss, CCBC, and Teaching for Change.
- Edith Campbell, Assistant Librarian, Indiana State University, @crazyquilts
- Sarah Park Dahlen, Associate Professor, Master of Library and Information Science Program, St. Catherine University, @readingspark
- Zetta Elliott, author and educator, @zettaelliott
- Laura Jimenez, PhD, Lecturer, Boston University, @booktoss
- Marilisa Jiménez García, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Lehigh University, @MarilisaJimenez
- Jean Mendoza, PhD, American Indians in Children’s Literature
- Deborah Menkart, Teaching for Change, @teachingchange, @sojustbooks
- Brenda Randolph, Outreach Director, Howard University Center for African Studies and director of Africa Access
- Debbie Reese, PhD, American Indians in Children’s Literature @debreese
- Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania and Humanizing Stories Initiative @Ebonyteach, @HealingFictions
- Nancy Tolson, PhD, Assistant Director of African American Studies, University of South Carolina
To learn more about See What We See, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an author or publisher who wishes to submit a book for review, please mail to: Teaching for Change, 1832 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001