Read Wider

A picture of different people reading with the text Read Wider.

" Inspire lifelong empathy through your library. "

Our Read Wider program encourages kids, teens, and adults to read own voices stories, explore movies and music, and learn more about others' experiences. Each month we will provide downloadable lists of books, movies, music, and online resources along with a resource tracker for reading wider. These lists are specially curated each month by our collection librarians. They put great effort into providing the best resources that highlight important persons, authors, and stories both past and current.

Check our event calendar for events and discussions related to each heritage and identity recognition month.

What is own voices?

The Seattle Public Library gives a great definition and brief explanation stating "#OwnVoices is a term coined by the writer Corinne Duyvis, and refers to an author from a marginalized or under-represented group writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group. Note: Not all literature with diverse perspectives is own voices literature, which is important to consider when you're reading to broaden your point of view." (post by Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library staff, Seattle Public Library).

Resource Trackers

We will provide downloadable resource trackers for each heritage and identity recognition month. These resource trackers for kids and teens or adults are a great way to record and highlight your favorite books, movies, music, and online resources for this month. Teens can choose to use the kids and teens or the adult resource tracker. 

Book, Music, Movie, and Resource Recommendations and Lists

Each month our collection librarians will put together lists of books, movies, music, and more that best represent own voices stories and/or important histories and people. These lists are available to download on each month's event page. Use these lists to find great recommendations or as a place to begin your Read Wider journey if you don't know where to start. To access each month's recommendations and lists click on the links in the List of Heritage and Identity Recognition Months or visit our events calendar.

Diverse BookFinder

Diverse BookFinder is a comprehensive collection of children's picture books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC). This organization aspires to be the go-to resource for librarians, educators, parents, book creators, and publishers who seek to create collections in which all children can see themselves -- and each other -- reflected in the picture books they read. Find book lists, author interviews, literary trends, and more! Explore Diverse BookFinder.

List of Heritage and Identity Recognition Months

Black History Month (February)

National Women's History Month (March) 

Arab American Heritage Month (April) 

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May) 

Jewish American Heritage Month (May)

LGBTQIA+ Pride Month (June) 

National Immigrant Heritage Month (June) 

Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month (September-October) 

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October) 

Native American Heritage Month (November)