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My primary focus is on helping ensure culturally authentic and diverse literature reaches the hands and hearts of youth, thereby opening doors to the world while accentuating all of the wonderful benefits of reading.

Jennifer Graff

Associate Professor

I truly enjoy and feel privileged to work with teachers, media specialists, parents, artists, and children’s book creators who all realize the importance of ensuring that all youth have access to literature that reflects their cultures, communities, and discourses. The creation of authentic and accessible reading materials, ensuring youth have consistent and reliable access to those materials, and offering opportunities to talk with others about what they read are all essential to the livelihood of youth.

I am also honored and privileged to be able to work with culturally and linguistically diverse children from preschool to the middle grades. Their insights into their reading habits, preferences, and the ways in which their local communities and global societies contribute to their reader identities.  They epitomize Rudine Sims Bishop’s declaration that “if literature is a mirror that reflects human life, then all children who read or are read to need to see themselves reflected as part of humanity.”

My research  involves critically analyzing culturally diverse literature on both national and international scales and understanding the ways in which diverse communities of youth and early childhood educators respond to said literature. I also seek to understand the ways in literature in traditional and digital formats can become integral resources in school curricula. My collaborative work as Chair of the Georgia Children’s Picturebook Committee (Gr. K-4), Board Member of the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Literacy Association, and as  president-elect of the National Council of Teachers of English’s Children’s Literature Assembly greatly contributes to helping understand and change the narratives about reading in diverse cultures.

Learn more about Jennifer Graff.