I have had a lot of questions recently from people who are noticing that their storytimes mainly feature white creators and are looking for ideas and resources and booklists to help them feature more diverse authors and musicians. Here are some resources that might be helpful to you as you look for GREAT diverse books and music to share with young kids. I bet others have found even more, and I’d be happy to add to this.
Looking for great books to use for storytime that feature diverse characters? Here are a few resources:
Diverse Book Finder provides information about picture books with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) characters, and has some nifty tools for searching by subject and interest. It is a collection of all books, not just the ones that are recommended, though they try to flag books that have been identified as problematic.
SLJ’s A Diverse Booklist for the Under-5 set (not all good for storytime, but probably many would be )
We Need Diverse Books has a whole collection of lists—some of these will be good for storytime, some won’t be as good for that purpose, but wow, all would be useful for other kinds of programming or collection development! Award winners, blogs,
Cooperative Children’s Book Center, based right here in Wisconsin, has some very useful resources that I trust.
Pay attention to new books coming out, read reviews, watch the Cooperative Children’s Book Center and South Central Library System’s CCBC Shorts webinars! Here’s one from November and one from May 2019 about picture books, many of the books featured are by and about people of color.
What about music?
- I got a great message from Julie at New Richmond that she is re-thinking the music she uses in storytime to make sure she is featuring BIPOC musicians, as well. One resource she has found helpful is an Instagram post by some of her favorite kid musicians, The Okee Dokee Brothers (who are white). They were asked to compile a list of musicians of color, and they came up with a good list.
- I found this blog post with references to some excellent musicians of color
- A top ten list from a children’s musician herself, Gigi Gumspoon
Resources about talking to kids about race in storytime. I am pretty sure that this sounds uncomfortable to many of you, but it is definitely something parents are looking for guidance about, and it doesn’t have to be a really big deal.
Talking to Kids about Race in Storytime resources by Jessica Anne Bratt, Grand Rapids Public Library. She includes some book recommendations, and also great suggestions for introducing friendly, positive, upbeat conversation topics and tidbits for kids and families (just like you’d introduce an early literacy tip):
- Guest blog post for jbrary
- Tool kit
- Archived webinar from Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference 2019: Slides Recording Handouts (Resources) Handouts (Tips Sheets)
Two more resources from ALSC (thanks to Tessa Michaelson Schmidt for reminding me!)