What do mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors have to do with books?

June 30, 2022

Book Harvest promotes and shares books that portray all children, honoring diverse backgrounds, languages, abilities, and perspectives, and including stories by and about people of color. We believe that books should serve as mirrors and windows for all children: in order to become avid readers and to reap the full benefits of lifelong literacy, children have to see both themselves and worlds beyond their own in the stories they read.

We are inspired by the work of Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s seminal essay, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.”

“Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books…When there are enough books available that act as both mirrors and windows for all our children, they will see that we can celebrate both our differences and our similarities, because together they are what makes us all human.”

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop
Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop explains the meaning and significance of Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.

Book Harvest works every day to provide books to children and families that are “Mirror, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” into the lives of all children everywhere. At Book Harvest, we are committed to providing high-quality culturally inclusive books to children and families.

Here is Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors in action:

  • Book Drives: We provide materials that explain Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors and encourage book drive captains to share this perspective with their participants. While we welcome all donations of new and gently used children’s books, we are always especially grateful for diverse and inclusive titles!
  • Books on Break: We purchase brand new, high-interest titles that tell culturally diverse stories and feature characters from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. These books go home with tens of thousands of elementary students just before summer break.
  • Dream Big: At our cornerstone event, celebrated on MLK Day each year, we celebrate our big dream of books and literacy for all children as we honor the legacy of Dr. King.
  • Informal learning spaces: Laundromats, barbershops, health clinics — in all these everyday places where families spend time, we stock bookshelves filled with free books in which children recognize themselves, through which they become eager readers on the laps of their parents while the laundry spins or in the barber’s chair as the clippers buzz.
  • Featured Five: We recognize monthly holidays and cultural celebrations by highlighting five culturally inclusive books each month. All five are then added to our Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors wishlists.

While our list of books is constantly growing, you download our latest edition of the M/W/SGD list by age below.

Family Space Now Open!