Why Diversity Matters in Children's Books

A white paper from the Association for Library Service to Children demonstrates why diversity matters in books and programs for children. OPL will be featuring some favorite books with people of color and of different backgrounds and abilities next week as part of our "Dia" celebrations.

Kids at LibraryThe lack of people of color in children's books has been a recent  topic of discussion.  For those that want to understand the issue more, the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has published a white paper on The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children.  

The author, Jamie Naidoo Campbell, recognizes and demonstrates that children need both to see their own culture, and others' cultures, portrayed authentically in their media-rich environment:  

By the time they are toddlers, children have begun to develop a sense of self that is informed by the world around them. ... All children want to see images that reflect themselves and encounter stories in their native language and within the context of their personal cultures. Diverse, culturally authentic materials in library collections allow all children to meet people like themselves and develop an appreciation for the beauty of their culture and the cultures of others. Children’s book author and illustrator Christopher Myers observes that books can also serve as road maps leading children to their destinies. Through the stories they encounter, children develop “an atlas of their world, of their relationships to others, [and] of their possible destinations” 

Next week, as a special blog feature during our Dia celebrations this month, we will be featuring daily picks of some of our recent favorite books featuring people of different backgrounds and abilities, and we hope you will add your suggestions too.  Stop by to explore, and talk with us about what you are looking for. Our job is to make the library's collection relevant to you, and wonderful for your children. 


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