The lack of diversity in children’s books is an ongoing concern, and it doesn’t really seem to be getting better. We can all think of a children’s picture book or novel with African-American or Asian-American characters but they are few and far between. And when it comes to books with Latino characters, there seem to be even fewer, even though it is the largest growing ethnic group in the U.S. So what can children’s librarians do to help?
Several youth services librarians launched “We Need Diverse Books,” a campaign to bring awareness to this issue. Be sure to check out their website listed above; they have news, book reviews, links to other related sites, a calendar of events, and other timely information.
One of the best areas is the question feature; you can ask something and get great suggestions. For example, someone asked for Science Fiction with diverse characters, and received several suggestions of young adult titles that would be great to offer library patrons.
The website of Lee and Low publishers is also very helpful. Of course, they promote the books they publish because the mission of this publisher is to offer diversity in children’s books. But they also have quite a bit of information on diversity in children’s books in general, including magazine articles and statistical studies that spell out the diversity gap.
On their blog post (listed above), they offer links to several other publishers known for the diversity in their children’s books. They also list blogs relating to the topic, all of which contain many booklists and other resources. So check out both of these websites to find more about great children’s books that reflect our culturally diverse communities.