Books: Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors

This article was published on January 10, 2021.

As we look towards Black History Month, my family does many things to honor and celebrate Black History. One way we further extend our knowledge of Black history throughout the year is by reading books by Black authors.

A common metaphor used to describe books is by comparing them to mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. I love this metaphor, as I am constantly reading and often find this comparison very true and relatable.

Books are firstly compared to windows. Picture this; you have just stepped into the library and you start walking down the long rows of bookshelves. You aren’t looking for anything specific, but you keep your eye out anyway. Suddenly, a book catches your eye, and you stop to look at it. You open the book and read the blurb on the inside cover. When you look through a window, the window allows you to see into another room, atmosphere, environment, etc., but the glass is in the way, so you aren’t able to walk right into the place you are looking at. When you opened the book you didn’t know what you were going to be reading about, but the blurb soon gave you some of that information. But let’s say so don’t want to read the book, or you wait to read the book till later. Without turning that first page, you cant step into the world the author has created for you. Like a window, you can see where you can go, but without taking the step to open the door or in this case, turn the page, you will never get to learn and enjoy the place you were admiring or wondering about. This leads me to the next object a book is compared to.

Next, books are compared to sliding glass doors. So, you have the book in your hands, and you have read the blurb so you know some of what you will be reading about. Once you turn the page and start reading, you will be able to experience the world inside the pages. A sliding glass door is often made of glass, so like a window, you can see what you could be reading about. Turning the page and reading the first paragraph is as simple as sliding that glass door.

Finally, books are compared to mirrors. When reading a book, there may be many things that you relate to, but there can also be many things that you didn’t know, realize, or agree with. Some examples are opinions, viewpoint(s), time, religion, race, age, and culture. Many times, when you learn something new, you start to think about your own opinions, age, race, religion, etc. When you look at a mirror, you see your reflection and can see yourself. You wouldn’t have been able to see yourself without the mirror, no matter how hard you tried. So when you learn something new, you can reflect on yourself, your society, government, family, neighborhood, dog, potato chips, etc. Without the book written by another person who is different from you, you most likely would not have been aware of the different people, perspectives, and ways of life around you.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found this metaphor as interesting as I do! Here are some of my favorite middle grade/YA Black authors. All of these books are contemporary, fiction, middle/YA books, and are not considered as history books. Yet, I have found that if you read and pay attention you will find pieces of history that have affected your peers today. I recommend reading all the books each author has written but I included just my number 1to get you started:

Sharon Draper: Blended

Nic Stone: Dear Justyce

Kwame Alexander: Crossover series

Jason Raynolds: The Track series

Angie Thomas: The Hate U Give

Ibi Zoboi: Pride

Jewell Parker Rhodes: Towers Falling

Lisa Moore Ramee: The Good Kind of Trouble

Jacqueline Woodson: Brown Girl Dreaming