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2.4.1: Parallel Populations and Categories of Books

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    Sharing books that call attention to or emphasize multiculturalism by depicting the co-existence of characters who are culturally, racially, or ethnically diverse may be a useful starting point. Choose books in which the main and/or secondary characters are illustrated with various skin colors, facial features, hair styles, and clothing styles. Be careful to choose some books that celebrate diversity and difference rather than only sharing those that present a “colorblind” mentality, which can give the false impression that differences are unimportant or even problematic (Husband, 2018; Winkler, 2015). As an alternative to this colorblind mentality, practice cultural competence by actively looking for and sharing books that positively represent the cultural identities of your storytime attendees and communities served by your library. For example, you can read book reviews from journals, international publications, IndieNext Reviews, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), or the online book lists recommended below.

    A further step toward diversifying your book selection is to purposefully select books that intentionally represent historical and contemporary cultural experiences of a parallel population—an underrepresented or marginalized group, such as African Americans, American Indians, or Asian Americans. One way to find such books is to choose books that have won an award for representing a parallel population, such as the awards listed later in this section. Another is to incorporate informational texts, such as biographies, articles from children’s magazines, and/or information and multimedia from online sources, about important historical and present-day people and events related to a parallel culture. In order to consistently practice and celebrate diversity, these texts should be shared throughout the year, not only during designated times such as Black History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month (Naidoo, 2014).

    Awards to consider:

    Online book lists:

    Other online resources:

    2.4.1: Parallel Populations and Categories of Books is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.