Here’s the thing about “diverse” children’s books: some of them… not so great. You know, the books about Native Americans that lump them together, idealize them, put everybody in teepees, get the history wrong, and more. Books about Asian Americans in which everyone’s an alike-looking, broken-English-speaking foreigner. And the huge disproportion of books about black and Latino families in which everyone’s poor and life’s a never-ending struggle! Many are good, quite good. But the near single-storying of black and brown people also feeds harmful stereotypes and denies the diversity of our experiences and the fullness of our humanity.
And then there’s this: many parents confirm and kids report that too many “multicultural” offerings are straight-up boring.
All to say: yep, We Need Diverse Books AND we might need help distinguishing the wheat from the chaff in what we already have. Here's an evolving list of resources that will help.
A super short list that will grow — with your submissions!
Princeless comic book compilation series, Writer Jeremy Whitley, Illustrators Various. Recommended for ages 8 to 12
Reading Mike Jung’sUnidentified Suburban Object with My Kids, Part I.
In which we talk about confronting “weird questions” (or racial microagressions) with a little help from … an alien. And Part II. In which an alien inspires reflections on transracial adoption. Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung. Recommended for ages 8 to 12
Looking to create an anti-bias library or evaluate/review books yourself? These articles and frameworks about evaluating representation in children’s literature can help you think about bias in children’s books and other media.