Black History : Literacy

Julia E. Torres

Today, more than ever, the presence of Black librarians is crucial. As part of my work this month, I’ve chosen to highlight the work of Black librarians who work with youth or youth literature. Julia is an expert in secondary writing and reading instruction. She is a recognized education leader in her school district, a 2018-20 Heinemann Fellow and a teacher/activist committed to education as a practice of freedom. Julia is a co-founder of Disrupt Texts. She proves that librarians change the world, one mind, one book, one child at a time.

Name: Julia E. Torresthumbnail_julia-75

Library: Montbello Campus Library (Denver Public Schools)

What book(s) are you currently reading? Well-Read Black Girl (Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves) by Glory Edim, Lima: Limón by Natalie Scenters-Zapico, Black Wings Beating by Alex London

What practices do we need to disrupt right now, this week in school libraries?  We need to consider the ways that our own biases and/or fears about what types of books and/or authors are appropriate for patrons may be limiting social advancement.  We are living in a sort of Renaissance for books by and for people from groups that have historically been underrepresented and oppressed.  It’s important for us to see this as an opportunity for intellectual and social development beyond conditions that have existed in the past, rather than being fearful of engaging in conversation around books containing lived realities that haven’t been mainstreamed and are thus labeled “foreign”, “non-relevant” or in the worst cases, “inappropriate”.

Where can people connect with you online? My blog:, Twitter: @juliaerin80 and FB: Julia E. Torres

5 thoughts on “Black History : Literacy

  1. I’m another Julia fan! I also think we can intentionally disrupt texts by choosing another culture (opposite of your own) to advocate and investigate twice a year. I was recently challenged to welcome non-Black kids to the Black History Club to align ourselves with our unity in numbers. I’m still chewing on this (mainly to make sure that doing so doesn’t make our participants feel marginalized). But Julia is spot on, we must put aside our biases to make social progress meaningful with gusto and intent. Purposeful Progress.


    1. Kudos to you for doing that! We’ve got to stop thinking that Long Way Done or Black Panther are only for Black people. Black history is truly American history, so we all need to get on board and learn it. Purposeful Progress.


    1. I truly admire and appreciate the work Julia does however, I think you’re putting a lot on her here! I think we need to move away from this hero model we’ve developed and realize that we all have a part in this, we all have work to do and we do it for our children.


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