Let's start out with a drop of honesty here - I'm on vacation. It's the first full day, and we're at the beach, and it's raining, but I really wanted to stay engaged and keep this conversation going, so here I am.
But this post will be more information and less conversation.
We've been exploring way to diversify your collection of books - personal or professional - but mostly your classroom or home library. Any place where kids are browsing, really.
Thus far, we've talked about the importance of providing diverse and inclusive literature, how to assess your own collection, and ways of thinking about readers as they relate to text. In light of the recent events regarding racial violence, this kind of discussion and examination is most important.
One of the questions, I get asked the most is, "Where do I get good books about diversity?" When considering books to add to your collection, it's important to think about these factors:
Who wrote the book? Is the author a credible source for the material she presents or is this person appropriating another culture, race, etc.?
How are the diverse characters in the book portrayed? Are they stereotyped, generalized, or victimized?
What types of narratives support the book? For example, are characters of color ONLY seen in a plot line that shows them coming up from poverty? Is a story about a different-abled character ONLY about over coming the disability?
Is the book relevant and relatable?
I have some trusted sources for books that I go to time and again for recommendations and thoughtful discourse on diversity and inclusion with regard to kids' books. They offer some of the latest publications, support diverse authors, and work to raise awareness on issues surrounding inequity in representation. When you're thinking about adding books to your collection, start with these site - they won't steer you wrong:
The Brown Bookshelf: I recently discovered this site when a friend made me aware of a "virtual rally" they hosted featuring authors talking about race. I watched it with my own children and enjoyed a great discussion around it. They're doing a lot to promote authors of color. Check them out.
The American Library Association (ALA): Every year the ALA comes out with its list of Notable Books for kids. I've been following the list for about the last five years and have been impressed with increasing diversity of its selections. I've found the books on this list to be some of my favorite - powerful stories written with skill, grace, and resolve. Their books are also broken down by age, and there is something for every level of learner there.
A Mighty Girl: I love the purposeful mission of this site. I also love the obscure women they highlight and the books they emphasize. This is a great place to find biographies to fit any kid's interest.
Diversity in YA Books: They try to bring attention to books and authors outside the mainstream. They offer lists, reviews, and other helpful resources geared toward making diverse lit accessible.
Multicultural Children's Book Day: I love that their missions is to "not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries."
Goodreads: Yes, they do have a book list for everything. While this is not my go-to source of choice, it does help to hear recommendations and see who else is reading newly released titles.
Scholastic: Again, while this is not my first choice of sites, it can be helpful, especially when it comes to finding books that are level-specific. But do beware of the perspective and bias of some of these titles, as they are more mainstream.
I'm so grateful for the support of you loyal readers. Thanks so much for sharing and bringing awareness! Follow Story Trekker on Facebook.Get innovative resources for teaching diverse and inclusive novels and follow the Story Trekker store on Teachers Pay Teachers.