We Need Diverse Books believes that readers of all ages need to see themselves and their experiences reflected in the pages of books. Statistics compiled annually by the Cooperative Children's Book Center reveal that the representation of diversity within children's publishing is, frankly, dismal. Walter Dean Myers' influential column for the New York Times in 2014 outlines the core issues at stake: "Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?"
Many of the books on this list have been challenged or banned in the recent wave of censorship targeting public schools and libraries. We encourage you to keep up with the book banning news (we recommend Book Riot's Censorship News Roundup) and by consulting Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children's Books, which you can find in the Reference Collection (main floor, Beck Hall side).
On this guide, you'll find just a small sample of books for Children and Young Adults that support our commitment to diversity and representation. Please search the library's catalog or chat with a librarian to find additional resources.
Diversity metrics and critiques:
Book blogs focused on diversity
Browse this list of diversity book awards for children and young adults, compiled by Michigan State University Libraries.
Our Reference and General Collections contains several guides and studies about multicultural children's literature. Reference books are on the main (second) level, Beck Hall size. General Collection books with call numbers starting with Z are also on the main floor in the middle column of shelves. General Collection books with call numbers staring with L are on the third (top) floor, middle column of books right near the elevator.
This is a VERY small sample of the diverse young adult books in our library. Head to the Young Adult section in the library and browse our shelves. The Young Adult collection is located next to the Children's collection on the bottom floor, south end (Olin side).
Here are just a few books for younger readers (and young at heart readers) that celebrate and explore diversity. Find them - and more - in the Children's Collection (bottom floor, south side, look for the bright blue banner).
The Gustavus Library is committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all our patrons. We acknowledge that harmful and outdated language or terminology exists in catalog records for our materials, though, and we would welcome your help in identifying such instances.
If you encounter any language that you consider to be harmful or offensive to yourself or others, please use this form to report it and suggest alternative language. We will contact the Library of Congress to request that changes be made whenever we come across items under their purview and will supplement our own descriptions with more respectful terms as necessary. We also direct you to our entire Harmful Language Statement for more information.