What Does a Writer Look Like?

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What does a writer look like?

Students are building their vision of the world based on what the see at school and at home. When I was in school, there was only one picture of a writer in my head: an old, wealthy white man. I never knew that a writer could look like anything else. I want my students to know that writers come from all cultures, backgrounds, countries, ages, religions; that they identify with a wide range of identities, genders, abilities, and more. I firmly believe in the old adage You can’t be what you can’t see, and it’s my job to make sure that my students know that they can be anything. At the bottom of the display hangs a mirror, so that when students look at these amazing authors and think about the work that they’ve added to our library, they see themselves standing amongst them.

The most important part, for me, is the mirror and the words attached: The world is waiting for your story. 

It was so much fun finding a mix of writers that my students would know and recognize, and other authors that they might not be familiar with yet. I also tried to include a wide range of writers, from graphic novelists to musicians, from fantasy authors to realistic fiction.

The writers included in our display include:

  • Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X, With the Fire on High)
  • Chris Colfer (The Land of Stories series)
  • Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give, On The Come Up)
  • Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down, Ghost series, and more)
  • Yuyi Morales (Dreamers, Just a Minute, and more)
  • Meg Medina (Merci Suarez Changes Gears, Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass)
  • JK Rowling (Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy, and more)
  • Cece Bell (El Deafo)
  • Vashti Harrison (Little Leaders, Little Legends, and more)
  • Kwame Alexander (The Crossover, Solo and more)
  • Maurene Goo (The Way You Make Me Feel, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, and more)
  • Kelly Yang (Front Desk)
  • Tahereh Mafi (A Very Large Expanse of Sea, Shatter Me series)
  • Neal Shusterman (Unwind series, Challenger Deep, and more)
  • Sandhya Menon (When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle with Love, and more)
  • Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087, Grenade, and more)
  • Jack Gantos (Dead End in Norvelt, Joey Pigza series, and more)
  • Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters, and more)
  • Hena Khan (Amina’s Voice, Under My Hijab, and more)
  • Marie Lu (Legend series, Warcross series, and more)
  • Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book, Fortunately the Milk, and more)
  • Matt De la Peña (The Hunted series, Last Stop on Market Street, and more)
  • Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala, We are Displaced, and more)
  • Alex Gino (George, You Don’t Know Everything Jilly P)
  • Nicola Harrison (Montauk)
  • Lin Manuel Miranda (Gmorning Gnight, Hamilton)
  • Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind, Blended, and more)

What do you do to help your students see themselves as writers?

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