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As a queer disabled author with a transgender parent, Jess Walton is no stranger to diversity. Is the diversity we see in the world represented in the books we read? If not, why not?
Jess will read her book Introducing Teddy, a story about a teddy bear who knows in her heart that she is a girl teddy, not a boy teddy, and then talk about her family and the reasons for writing this book. Jess will explain that some authors are writing into the gaps when they can’t find the books they need.
She’ll introduce students to the importance of diverse representation so that people can see themselves and their families in the books they read, but also the importance of reading outside of our experiences to improve empathy and understanding.
Jess will bring along and talk about a range of texts that represent diversity well, books that are appropriate for the age range and reading level of the students.
This session is also available in a longer workshop format which includes story writing.
Kids are dealing with a world where toys, clothing and even books are being ‘sorted’ for them into boys and girls sections. Jess will ask the kids to sort a selection of items into three piles: boys, girls and both. If the children have decided to allocate it to a particular gender, Jess will help […]
In 2015, Jess Walton wrote a picture book to explain gender identity to her young son, and to ensure that the diversity in his family was represented in the books on his shelf. A year later Jess had teamed up with a talented illustrator, published a Kickstarted book, worked with an agent and editor from […]
In this session Jess will get kids thinking about what it means to be yourself and be a good friend, the two main concepts explored in her picture book Introducing Teddy. Jess will help the kids understand what it means for them to be themselves (what/who makes them feel happy and comfortable? What is special […]