Centering the lived experience of generational poverty

For Immediate Release
Mon, 09/27/2021


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing & Media

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Drawing from her own lived experience, in “Profiles in Resilience: Books for Children and Teens That Center the Lived Experience of Generational Poverty,” published by ALA Editions, author Christina H. Dorr shines a light on some of the cultural values that exist across both rural and urban poverty, inviting teachers, librarians, and others who work with children from low-income families to see them in their cultural context and appreciate the values they bring to the classroom or library. She spotlights a range of books for children and teens that offer literary mirrors to low-income children, as well as windows to more economically privileged readers, enabling all young readers to celebrate our common humanity. And she also shares the work of ten authors and illustrators familiar with poverty, offering insights into the sources of their stories and the ways storytellers’ lived experience can influence their creative works and make their characters more authentic. You will discover:

  • an introduction which explores what it’s like to grow up in generational poverty, including its long-term effects on children, the roles played by intersectional and institutional racism, the power of family, and how reading can act as powerful catalyst;
  • biographical sketches of Elizabeth Acevedo, Jason Reynolds, Cynthia Rylant, Kelly Yang, and other authors and illustrators;
  • inspiring profiles and books spanning age ranges, genres, and formats that chronicle the lives of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sonia Sotomayor, John Lewis, Wilma Mankiller, and other people who were raised in generational poverty; and
  • four appendixes which spotlight even more stories of resilient individuals and fictional characters.

Dorr, PhD, is a retired school librarian with more than 30 years' experience. She has also taught literature, literacy, technology, and library science courses for the past 17 years as an adjunct instructor for five universities in Ohio, including Kent State University and the Ohio State University, where she had earned a doctorate in education with a specialty in literature and literacy. She has written book reviews, columns, articles, and interviews for various journals, presented at numerous state and national organizations, and served on several book award committees for the American Library Association. Co-author (with Liz Deskins) of “LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens: Providing a Window for All,” she is also co-editing (with Meghan Harper) the forthcoming second edition of “Reference Sources and Services for Youth.”

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