Teach Middle East Magazine Apr - Jun 2020 Issue 3 Volume 7 - Page 40
MIRROR BOOKS AND WINDOW BOOKS
THE ARABIA READERS COLLECTION AND CHILD IDENTITY IN THE GULF REGION
BY: FAWZIA GILANI-WILLIAMS AND RHIANNON BALL
hink about the books in your
classroom; the ones you read
regularly with your students,
even the ones that you see
on sale in the bookshops at the mall.
Where do they come from? And
who are the main characters? They
probably come from the USA or the
UK, and probably feature characters
that, although well-loved, are entirely
Anglocentric. They serve as window
books and not mirror books. But what
exactly are window books and mirror
Window books make the strange
familiar. They acquaint children with
people from other lands, with various
cultures, a variety of cuisines, an
ensemble of customs, and curious and
colourful costumes that are different
to their own. Window books cultivate
Term 3 Apr - Jun 2020
humanity. They emulate the Qur’anic
sentiment of universal humanity and
affability, promote integration, and
lead to moral literacy and emotional
intelligence. Children are better
equipped to stave off negatives like
racism and prejudice, discrimination
Mirror books promote positive self-
esteem in children. They mirror
the child and all that is familiar
to the child such as family, home,
community, lifestyle, clothes, food,
school, buildings, animals, landscape,
daily practices, culture and religion.
They reflect the child and endorse the
child’s lifestyle. They connect children
with what is meaningful to them in
terms of their heritage and history.
Mirror books play a very crucial role in
the development of a child’s positive
self-identity formation because they
give a child a sense of place and a
sense of belonging. Children feel
a sense of dignity and honour for
themselves, their parents, family,
peers, faith, community and nation.
Children who develop a strong sense
of identity generally make a positive
impact on the world around them.
They go on to do grand things in life.
They love who they are and they love
Both types of books are important.
However, in terms of developing a
positive self-image it is important that
children are given an opportunity to
read mirror books from an early age.
This is why the majority of books that
children in the USA and UK have are
Anglocentric. It would be peculiar