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Mirrors and Windows

When you make your life about books, there are some terms that you hear over and over again. Sometimes it can take a little while to understand completely what those terms mean, and other times it just clicks.

One of these terms is “mirrors and windows.” Mirrors are stories that reflect the reader, whether they are tall, short, fat, skinny, white, black, Asian, gay, straight, transgender, an only child or one of 10, dealing with mental illness or dealing with bullying. All stories are important, and every reader should be able to find a story that reflects them.

When you read a book that doesn’t have a character that reflects you, but is more about viewing others and different experiences, that is a window book — and they are just as important. There are mirror and window books that have a huge impact on a readers’ understanding of themselves and of others. Here are some books that may fit into either category (depending on the reader), and have had an influence on me as a reader.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon. When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree (description taken from Novelist).

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. Sixteen-year-old Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs (description taken from Novelist).

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn’s alternating viewpoints (description taken from Novelist).


Can you see your own reflection?

Find a mirror or a window

Abbey is the Teen Librarian at the West End. She tends to read anything that someone hands her, but truly enjoys reading history and young adult novels.

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