As avid advocates of diverse books of all kinds, but especially diverse children’s books, we work hard to share carefully curated lists of children’s books.
Our amazing writers have shared impressive lists of wonderful books about diverse families, notable women through history, countries and cultures that kids may not know a lot about, the immigrants who make up our melting pot, tons of historic heroes of color, history told from perspectives that have been left out of school textbooks, YA books that tackle tough topics (and children’s books that do the same), and even groundbreaking graphic novels that present new kinds of heroes for our kids to admire.
We have a lot of ways we all track down the pool from which to choose, and now there’s one more great resource worth sharing: The online Diverse Book Finder.
Visit DiverseBookFinder.org for huge array of diverse books put together by academics, psychologists, children’s publishing professionals and librarians who care deeply about diverse representation in the books on our kids’ shelves.
It’s important to note that in their own words, that while they do offer some curated book lists, that’s not the main purpose of the site — you can turn to sites like Cool Mom Picks or Brightly or the publishers of all the annual “best of” lists for that.
What the Diverse Book Finder really offers is a vast, growing research collection of illustrated children’s books (grades K-3) all published in the last 15 years.
So why isn’t it curated?
The goal is for them to create enthusiasm for discovery, identify trends, and even call out blind spots that present opportunities; for example, the publishers describe that the majority of books featuring Brazilian characters revolve around soccer, and surely there’s more to this vibrant culture that would interest children.
They also do include books that include stereotypes and misinformation, and state that they’re currently developing a way to flag those books that contain harmful or inaccurate representation so you can have the most information before making a choice.
In other words, definitely don’t assume that every book here as one worth reading, without first cross-referencing it with another trusted source.
What parents will really like however is the categorized search function.
It’s really fun to spend a little time poking around Diverse Book Finder and searching with filters to discover something incredibly specific you may looking for: Children’s books set in Afghanistan. A Caldecott-winning picture book featuring a female heroine. A picture book of First Nations folklore. Or a children’s biography focused on themes of oppression directed toward Asians or Pacific Islanders.
The latter search happens to be how I came across Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story. Paula Yoo and Lynn Wang’s book (above) about the struggles of Asian-American actors in 1930s Hollywood. It looks wonderful and I’m not sure where else I would have come across it.