Let’s start with some tips for being intentional as you assess your existing collection and build your library. Check out:
- An Updated Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books
- Checklist: 8 Steps to Creating a Diverse Book Collection
- How to Build an Anti-Bias Library
- Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism
- Teaching for Tolerance’s Toolkit for Picture Imperfect
- Creating an Anti-Bias Library
- …and if you really want to dive deep, there’s a whole book about it: From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books by Kathleen T. Horning.
Next, there are lots of online libraries and booklists to help you find the diverse, anti-bias children’s books you need:
- The Children’s Peace Education & Anti-Bias Library contains lots of books organized by the chapters of Louise Derman-Sparks’ and Julie Olsen Edwards’ Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves:
- Teaching for Change Bookstore also has 12 recommended booklists organized along similar lines
- …in addition to all these awesome book lists on topics ranging from Afro-Latino to Malcolm X
- The 6 Elements of Social Justice Ed. website contains an extensive annotated list of children’s literature (for elementary-aged kids) organized by Bree Picower’s Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design
- The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin has a treasure trove of book lists including one of my favorites, 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know
- The School Library Journal has also recently put together a list of diverse children’s books for children under 5 and has lots of other books lists including:
- Lee & Low Books is a publisher that specializes in multicultural children’s literature and they have lots of great recommendations including this great list of books for the beginning of the school year.
- And their blog post, Where Can I Find Great Diverse Children’s Books?, has lots of suggestions of publishers, blogs, awards, and bookstores to check out.
- The Children’s Book Council (CBC) maintains this long list on goodreads
- American Indians in Children’s Literature has several recommended book lists for children of all ages, starting with board books for infants and toddlers
- The app We Read Too showcases hundreds of books written by authors of color w/ characters of color
- The Brown Bookshelf also has lots of great lists of books that are written by African American authors or contain a majority of African American characters
- Every year, the Rainbow Project of the American Library Association releases booklists of children’s books (birth to 18) with significant LGBTQ content and the blog, Gay-Themed Picture Books for Children, has lots of well-organized recommendations
- Latin@s in Kid Lit has ever-growing lists of books as does !Colorin Colorado! and Vamos a Leer
- I Am Your Neighbor features booklists across a range of topics and age groups with an eye to featuring stories by and about refugees, immigrants and other “new arrival” groups
- There are also lots of articles and blog posts coming out recently:
- Like this list from Cool Mom Picks called How to talk to your kids about prejudice with the help of 12 of our favorite books
- And this list, 60+ Resources for Talking to Kids About Racism, from Create With Kids contains lots of great kid’s books that provide opportunities for having conversations about race and racism
- Bino & Fino have put together these two great lists of books that celebrate Black kids!
- Bicultural Mama is also a good place to check out. I love this recent list: 5 Picture Books by Asian American Authors for Back to School Reading
- Even the Guardian has a big list: Diverse voices: the 50 best culturally diverse children’s books
- …and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
It’s also important to note that despite the existence of all these fantastic resources, there is still a lot of work to be done. For example:
The We Need Diverse Books campaign is actively working to improve the diversity in children’s literature (while simultaneously highlighting existing literature on their webpage and on social media). And there are lots of ways for you to get involved! Here are three ideas:
- Write your own story!
- Hop on social media using #weneeddiversebooks
- Sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/book-publishers-and-review-journals-help-increase-diversity-in-books-by-asking-publishers-to-be-transparent-about-staff-diversity
Lastly–but certainly not least–it’s super important to remember that while ensuring that you’ve got a library full of diverse, anti-bias children’s literature is necessary, it is certainly not sufficient. The really critical piece is what you do with these books. Research has shown that simply increasing the diversity of books and other media that young children are exposed to is ineffective in reducing bias (Aboud & Levy, 2000). Rather, parents and teachers must select and use these materials wisely and thoughtfully. In short, the books don’t do the work for you; they simply provide opportunities to have the conversations you need to have, to model the kinds of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors you want your little ones to learn.
This piece was originally posted by Megan Madison on her personal blog.