Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul’s research and work stem from an unyielding commitment to anti-bias and antiracist pedagogy and practices. She has taught middle school students for twenty years and develops curricula that centers the work of racial literacy in K-12 schools. As the co-founder of the Race Matters Committee in her former school district, Sonja spotlighted and centered issues related to race and racism and provided faculty and staff with the language and tools to facilitate conversations with students about race.
In her role as Director of Diversity and Equity at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP), Sonja leads professional development for staff developers, teachers, and administrators and guides the development of culturally responsive and antiracist curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school students. She is the host of The Black Creators Series, a collaboration with TCRWP and Candlewick Press, where she leads educator-focused discussions and highlights the powerful ways the works of Black authors and illustrators can live in classrooms. Sonja is the co-founder of the Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy, an annual institute that provides professional development that supports educators around the globe in using their power and position to transform systems including individual classrooms, districts, and communities. And as Senior Advisor of the Heinemann Fellows, Sonja guides an accomplished group of educators as they engage in individual action research that addresses pressing issues and challenges in the field of education.
Sonja has adapted the #1 New York Times Best Seller Stamped (For Kids), published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, which has earned starred reviews by Kirkus and School Library Journal, and was selected as one of the best nonfiction/informational books of 2021 by Parents Magazine, School Library Journal, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library. She is the co-author of four books published by Heinemann: Teaching Interpretation: Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning (2014), Flip Your Writing Workshop: A Blended Learning Approach (2016), Breathing New Life into Book Clubs: A Practical Guide for Teachers (2019) and Critical Literacy: Unlocking Contemporary Fiction.
Sonja is a frequent presenter at national conferences and works with educators around the world providing professional development on antiracist curricular and schoolwide practices.