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Let’s Talk About Diverse Books

Post by Autumn Winters
Posted June 15, 2014 in NoveList Plus, Readers' Advisory News

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The #weneeddiversebooks campaign highlights a critical issue that librarians have long recognized: the issue of diverse characters being represented (or underrepresented) in books for children and teens. Articles in the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly brought this longstanding backstage discussion to the forefront for the general public.

So, what can librarians do to connect patrons with the diverse books that they may now be especially interested in finding on the shelves?

We're excited to announce that NoveList has sixteen brand new or newly updated Recommended Reads Lists focusing on the topic of diversity. These lists, found under the topic "All Kinds of Lives" spotlight books that feature characters who are living . . . well. . . all kinds of lives! These lists are based on characteristics shared by the protagonists -- for instance, our Asian Teen Lives list includes Tiffany Trent's steampunk romance The Tinker King, Kay Honeyman's historical fiction The Fire Horse Girl and Marlene Goo's humorous realistic fiction Since You Asked.

NoveList Recommended Reads -- Asian Teen Lives

What kinds of groups are included in All Kinds of Lives? For starters, there are lists featuring African American characters, GLBTQ characters, Latino characters and characters living on the autism spectrum. While books featuring diverse characters are part of all the Recommended Reads lists, the All Kinds of Lives section provides easy access to books that feature characters who have circumstances in common with the young people librarians serve every day.

Of course, diversity is a vital and ever-changing subject. We are excited about the changes wrought by the #weneeddiversebooks campaign and all the great new diverse books already in the publishing pipeline. If you have ideas for lists or books featuring an aspect of diversity that is not already covered in All Kinds of Lives, please let us know! As Jacqueline Woodson said in her NPR interview following her panel at BookCon, "We need books, and those books are the books that represent all of us."

Looking for All Kinds of Lives?

In NoveList, look for All Kinds of Lives in the Recommended Reads area:

Diverse Books in All Kinds of Lives lists