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Diverse Books Reading Challenge

Spend your August reading BIPOC written books, with culturally diverse characters, with #ownvoices storylines. Kids, you could win a tablet. Parents, we have some prizes for you too.

**open to Canadian residents only

For the month of August, the Educational Advocacy Team (EAT) wanted to create a fun activity for children and adults to do together. One of the biggest initiatives of EAT is to diversify the literature in schools and in homes. So we thought, let's do a diverse books reading challenge.

Why is it important to have books in your home and school that reflect a variety of races, cultures, languages and lived experiences?

Books can act as mirrors or windows. When a book is a mirror, the characters in the book look, act, speak or experience life like the reader. When the book is a window, it reflects a different lived experience than that of the reader. The mirrors help the reader to feel a sense of belonging and help build self-confidence. It is important for children of all races, cultures and language groups to experience this at school and at home.

It is also important children read books that reflect races, ethnicities, cultures and languages of people in their greater community that does not reflect back their lived experience. Helping children understand and appreciate the true diversity of the world is critical to everyone feeling seen and heard inside and outside the classroom.

The Challenge

We have designed 2 challenges for the month of August: one for children up to 18 years old and one for teens and adults. We have left it open for teens to choose which challenge they want to do, as reading age appropriate books will be more challenging in the kids challenge for advanced readers.

We have provided some complex themes to explore in the reading challenges to encourage everyone to actively participate in their learning journey and take some time to research diverse literature to learn what is available and how to access diverse books.

We encourage parents to participate in this challenge with their children to allow the literature to guide important conversations with your children and with yourselves.

Download challenges

Need some book inspiration? Here is a link to all the diverse book lists MAR has published this year.

We also encourage you to ask the following questions when choosing books for this challenge:

  • Who are the authors and/or illustrators?

  • What is their background?

  • Is this considered #OwnVoices?

  • Does the author share a background and lived experiences with their character(s)?

  • Could any cultural/racial depictions in this book be problematic?

We have included an adult challenge so that you are able to model the importance of continuing to actively read and listen to #ownvoices in literature and media. In taking on the challenge along with your children, you will be able to actively work to unpack your biases, peer through cultural windows using different types of media, and possibly identify parts of yourself in what you read and listen to.

Our anti-racism journeys are life long and literature is an important tool in supporting our learning throughout our journeys. There will be tough discussions and topics to address along with beautiful stories and cultures to explore.

We hope you enjoy working through this challenge and we look forward to hearing about the new perspectives it brings you. Although it is not required by the challenge for children, we would love to hear about something new you learned while doing this challenge when you email in your filled out challenge sheet.

Pictures or PDFs of completed challenge sheets can be emailed to

Happy Reading!

Karissa Crawley, Educator and MAR Education Advocacy Team Co-Lead

Lacey McLaughlin, Education Assistant and MAR Education Advocacy Member

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