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Open Right

Jessica Walton: Diverse world? Diverse books!

Session Info:

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.


  • The story of Introducing Teddy
  • The author’s experiences with diversity
  • Diversity in our community and world
  • Diversity in picture books and MG/YA books
  • Storywriting (optional)

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