Multicultural Picture Books: A Deeper Look at Your Collection

WebJunction /
Diverse BookFinder logo

Do you feel it is important to have a diverse children’s collection, but don’t always know where to start? The Diverse BookFinder Collection Analysis Tool (CAT), funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is specifically designed to help you diversify your picture book collection. This free, online resource allows you to upload a single file and get a snapshot of WHO is (which racial/cultural groups are) represented—and how—in your collection.
The Diverse BookFinder is a comprehensive collection of children's picture books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC). The project has cataloged and analyzed trade picture books fitting these criteria to surface and create

  • a unique circulating collection which focused on depictions of BIPOC characters in trade picture books published since 2002. Anyone can check these books out at any time through interlibrary loan.
  • a first-of-its-kind online, searchable database of the collection that makes it easier for everyone to locate and explore children's picture books featuring BIPOC characters.
  • real-time data on who (which BIPOC characters) is depicted in trade picture books, and how (what messages these stories send), to enable deeper conversation and change.
children reading

Photo: Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

In a recent webinar, project team members Dr. Krista Aronson and Dr. Andrea Breau provided a demonstration of how to use the CAT and the resulting report in combination with the Diverse BookFinder Search Tool to drive collection-based decisions. Andrea Jamison from Valparaiso University presented on the important role of library staff in carefully reviewing books to build authentic and inclusive library collections that counter bias and promote cultural pluralism. The webinar recording is now available in the WebJunction Course Catalog.

Another resource to check out to learn more is a series of articles authored by the project team and their Advisory Council on important topics including:

Congratulations to the project team on launching this valuable resource! We’re looking forward to hearing how library staff use the tools to strengthen and diversify their collections.