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Diversity in Children's Literature

Explore diverse books and resources

General Diverse Book Search Tips

Welcome to the Diversity in Children's Literature Guide!

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Click through the tabs on this welcome page for general search tips to help you locate diverse children's literature.

For hints on exploring specific topics, check out the other tabs in this overall guide. Each section includes search tips and example books, as well as links to teaching resources and further information.

Search in the Right Place

Follow the steps to limit your search to the Teaching Materials Center and use good TMC search strategies: Searching the TMC

Searching in the TMC

Start Simple

  • Begin your search with surface-level cultural concepts​: Holidays, foods, etc​.
  • Wording such as "bilingual" will help to find books that incorporate other languages
  • Deep concepts are usually embedded within the text... some of these are more easily searched than others​. For instance, a book about a certain holiday will also contain ideas about values, traditions, and beliefs which may not necessarily be in the book's description.

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Be Specific

  • If you just use terms like "diversity" or "multicultural", you won't find the full range of multicultural literature that's available. You will be limited to only books with these words somewhere in the description.
  • Look for the name of a specific country, culture, race, or identity that you're interested in. If you're not sure where to start, try looking through this guide for ideas!

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Combined Topics

Looking for a book about a certain non-cultural topic (e.g. family, friendship, mathematics...) that is also culturally specific?

  • Collection Discovery
    • Search the TMC in Collection Discovery: Diverse Picture Books Across the Curriculum to find picture books across the commonly taught disciplines, such as math, science, and more. The Social Studies category especially emphasizes perspectives and events from marginalized groups.
      • You can use books directly from the list, or use the topics you see as inspiration for keywords and subjects to find more!
  • ONESearch
    • Search for the non-cultural topic first
    • Then browse your results for cultural books
    • For instance, if you need a cultural book on gender roles... start with gender (or related terms), and then browse or narrow those results​
    • You don't know what diverse topics or cultures might be featured, so narrowing too much with "AND" might not always work! Either stick with browsing, or be flexible and try out different terms.
  • Google
    • If you still can't find it in ONESearch, search the web. You should add a phrase such as "picture books" or "children's books" along with your topic and a broad concept like "culture" or "diversity."

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Use Outside Resources​

There are many resources out there which can give you ideas along with reviews of the books. Book lists are often compiled by experts who know good quality children's literature.

  • Use the Children's Literature Database (they also publish themed book lists). Find this database on the Databases tab in the TMC Guide.
  • Search Google for "children's literature", "picture book lists" or similar phrases along with your topic (e.g. "African American picture books").
  • Use this guide for ideas! You'll find examples and links to lists for specific topics.

children's lit database