Dads Read

Sponsored by The Friends of the Marina Library; join us as we celebrate people of color! One month isn’t enough time to explore the wide range of stories that exist but we intend to try. At the beginning of the The Friends of the Marina Library's Little Kid Block Party, a local dad from Families of Color Monterey County and Dads of Monterey County will read a few specially selected kids' books featuring protagonists of color.

Representation Matters

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 and 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.
— Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop circa 1990

 Celebrating Everyday Experiences

They want to read books that engage with their everyday experiences, featuring characters who look like them. Just like any other child. White children, too, deserve — and need — to see Black characters that revel in the same human experiences that they do. Real diversity would celebrate the mundane — like a little kid going out after a snowstorm — rather than the exceptional... But if the same editors at the same publishing houses are pushing the same tales about Harriet Tubman, Dr. King, Muhammad Ali, and how Black people “overcame,” often written and illustrated by white writers and artists, well, they will have missed the opportunity to really nourish our children.
— "Black Kids Don’t Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time" by Denene Millner

Mirrors, Windows, & Sliding Glass Doors

Representation in literature is essential for children of all races. For children of color, seeing themselves reflected in the books they read is crucial. When they fail to see themselves in books, they internalize the message that society devalues and erases them, and it can negatively affect their self-esteem. For white children, having books that accurately reflect the world around them helps to build empathy for people that are different from them, and helps open up discussions about race and oppression.
— The Children’s Book World Is Still Racially Biased

When & Where?

Every second Saturday of the month from 10am to 11:30am at the Marina Library in Marina.

What Books Are Read?

Past Dads Reads have included the following: I Am Black History! • Womxn's History Month • National Bike Month • Jazz Appreciation Month • LGBTQ+ Pride Month • PoC Mental Health Month • National Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding, and Nursing Month • To Be a Drum • and La Historía del Día de los Muertos.

Who Attends?

From Santa Cruz to Soledad to Pacific Grove, families from all over attend our Dads Read. They are grandparents and caregivers; families that speak Nepali, Tagalog, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Swedish, and English; and self-identify as Chamorro, Afro-Carribean, Filipino, Choctaw, Chinese, FilAm, Mexican, Black, Indigenous, Xicana(o), Nepali, Indian, Latina(o), African American, Native American, Spanish, Latinx, Asian, Dominican, mixed-race, and/or white. Interested in more specifics? Check out the info we gather at each Dads Read below.

Creating Inclusive & Just Libraries

Our country put policies and laws in place that helped create systemic racism. The public library is a trusted institution and can help to create and model responsible, responsive governmental change. As a professional, institutional responsibility starts with me. I was at a breaking point with seeing Black pain spread across the news, watching my community suffer, and thinking, ‘What will the lives of my future children look like?’ What could I do to help make the world a better place for future generations? Libraries have a long history of social action. If the library is about building community and inclusion then they have to address racial injustice.
— Jessica Anne Bratt of #Libraries4BlackLives

Reimagining Kids Lit

Few books exist now that could serve as ‘mirrors’ for children whose experiences with police have left them feeling intimidated, angry, or fearful. However, the authors of this toolkit are hopeful that the questions we present will help library staff identify the books that serve as ‘mirrors’ as publishers, too, gain awareness of the need for these materials and increase their production. Even now, it is both possible and advisable for libraries to review the children’s books about police currently on their shelves, and make informed decisions about which to keep, based on the needs of all children in their communities. It’s what library staff do best.
— "Evaluating Children's Books about Police: A Toolkit for Librarians & Other Evaluators of Children’s Literature" via Oakland Public Library


Interested in being the featured dad at our Dads Read? Check out the Community Guidelines to get a feel for who we are and the work we do. Still interested? Contact us.