In 1990, Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop first posited the concept of windows and mirrors as it applies to children’s literature.
Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. 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. (Continue Reading from Reading is Fundamental)
It is our hope that these lists of fiction titles that feature characters that have been historically underrepresented in children’s literature will provide windows and mirrors for the children of Westport and help to develop the empathy our society needs.