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An Interview with Ezra Hyland

We’re into the second week of February but it’s not too late to launch an African American Read-In in your community. If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than this wonderful set of clips from a Colorín Colorado interview with Ezra Hyland who teaches at the University of Minnesota and is a member of NCTE.

Here are a few of the many powerful words you’ll hear from Ezra when you watch:

“When you have children in school and the literature doesn’t look like them, it doesn’t sound like them, it does not deal with their issues, you’re pushing them out rather than inviting them in.”

“When we have a country that is increasingly of color, then we have to have images in the classroom, images in industry, images in politics that reflect the composition of the country.”

“Literature and language are life, you know. Amiri Baraka, I heard him say one time – he was quoting someone else, paraphrasing someone else – that human beings don’t make up stories, but it’s our stories that make us human. And so literature is the repository of our stories and the repository of our humanity, a reminder of our humanity.”

“We need diverse books because diverse books reflect the world as it is, not the way the world never was and the way the world never will be.”

Special thanks to Lydia Breiseth of Colorín Colorado for compiling this interview and video.