At Lowell we understand the importance of having a diverse collection of library materials for children in preschool through middle school. It is one of the ways we support children's identities and understanding of others. As Jamie Campbell Naidoo writes, in a white paper titled Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children
Global understanding is part of being culturally competent. Children that exhibit global understanding can acknowledge how cultural differences, personal decisions, and social issues impact lives at a global level...The road to developing global understanding and achieving cultural competence can start in the children’s library by way of collections and programs that include cultural diversity.
As we expand our library collection, we want books that help children to see themselves in literature and look into the lives of others. We also hope that parents come to our libraries for a visit and check out books, too!
Resources for Parents and Teachers
Recently we had an open house to share with parents about our work in this area and some of the ways we identify new resources. We hope you find the list below useful.
Happy Reading from Lowell Librarians—Domi Long, Christine McDaniels, and Melissa Hill—and Director of Diversity Michelle Belton!
- We Need Diverse Books website and blog on Tumblr are good places to start.
- Teaching Tolerance’s List of Diverse Texts and Tool for Selecting Diverse Books organize books by grade level and identify which are informational and which are literature.
- Check out the Anti-Defamation League’s Books Matter and this post about summer reading.
- Go to School Library Journal’s Culturally Diverse Books Selected by SLJ’s Review Editors.
- This blog post from Demco has links to research and resources including book awards.
- The Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the University of Wisconsin School of Education has these resources related to multicultural literature.
- Welcoming Schools, a project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, has many resources designed for teachers but useful to parents as well.
- Dr. Jennifer Bryan, author of From the Dress-Up Corner to the Senior Prom: Navigating Gender and Sexuality Diversity in PreK-12 Schools, compiled this list of Gender and Sexuality Diversity Books
- The International Children’s Digital Library has free, digital books in over 40 languages, from around the world.
- While a commercial site, Bilingual Books for Kids, Inc., is a great source for identifying titles that are bilingual in English and Spanish
And some food for thought:
“'Call Me Tree’: A Children’s Book With No Gender-Specific Pronouns” by JamesMichael Nichols. The Huffington Post. 4 Apr. 2015. Web. 7 May 2015.
"How We Talk (or Don’t Talk) About Diversity When We Read with Our Kids" by Matt de la Peña. Brightly. Web. 7 May 2015.
"The Apartheid of Children's Literature" by Christopher Myers. The New York Times. 15 Mar. 2014. Web. 7 May 2015.