The Diverse BookFinder is a collection of more than 2,000 children's picture books featuring people of color and Indigenous people (IPOC). It is not a list of recommended titles.
This distinction is important to understand before going further.
Ok, So What Is the Diverse BookFinder?
We've reviewed and cataloged children's trade picture books published since 2002 and featuring IPOC characters, to surface and create:
We strive to collect all depictions of IPOC characters in trade picture books published since 2002. Anyone can check these books out at any time through Interlibrary Loan.
We offer a first-of-its-kind online, searchable database of our collection that makes it easier for everyone to locate and explore children's picture books featuring IPOC characters.
We provide real-time data on who (which IPOC characters) is depicted in trade picture books, and how (what messages these stories send), to enable deeper conversation and change.
Why Not Include Only Recommended Picture Books?
The Diverse BookFinder is not a list of recommended titles. While we highlight books by trending topics, it is our intention to collect every book published or reprinted since 2002, not just the “good” ones.
In this way, we're able to provide data-driven insight and add to the broader discussion about diversity in children's literature in a way never done before. So, not only do we highlight books by trending topic, but perhaps more meaningfully, we can highlight trends within the broader world of multicultural picture books.
Only through gathering a complete collection of all multicultural picture books will we be able to learn more about who is represented and how - enabling us to identify trends and advocate for change.
Including all titles allows people to discover that, for instance, the majority of picture books currently published featuring Brazilian characters focus on soccer.
Writers, publishers, teachers, librarians, parents and others can use this information to push for a broader and better range of representation – by creators, by publishers, and on bookshelves everywhere.
Multicultural Picture Book Data: A First-Ever Look
Since founding, we've collected and cataloged over 2,000 multicultural picture books published since 2002 and now our data is available to the public - live and free for your use. We invite you to review the first-of-their-kind live-data charts on our home page that examine the disparities in current representation in children's picture books.
You may also dive deeper and look at how representation breaks down when you consider different racial and cultural groups.
Currently these are available for:
Asian/Pacific Islander/Asian American
First/Native Nations/American Indian/Indigenous
Middle Eastern/North African/Arab
To help encourage a fresh look and deeper examination of this data, our team is putting together some thought-starter questions for you, your classrooms and libraries to ponder.
How to Search Our Book Collection
ATTENTION: Before using our search feature, we strongly suggest you review this information and why we don't just include the "good" books. Though we don't recommend titles, if you are looking for books on a specific topic, check out these highlighted books.
Using the Diverse BookFinder Search feature allows you to search the most complete collection of multicultural picture books to identify a broad range of titles of interest.
When you find something you're interested in, you can access professional or cultural reviews, make purchases from Google Books, or borrow any of our books through interlibrary loan -- all through our website. More information about how to do all of this can be found below.
To start a search of our book collection
Click on Search the Collection in the toolbar at the top of our homepage to access our online database.
We offer a couple of search options, including an open search where you can type in anything of interest (e.g. "birthdays", or "dragons")
And, filters that utilize our unique language to more effectively explore books according to who is featured (which racial/cultural group), and how (book-category) or the story's take home message(s). Learn more on our category chart.
You can also combine filters to find, for example, biographies of Native Americans, African folktales set in Kentucky, or Cross Group titles featuring Latinx and Asian characters.
Understanding Our Collection Data: By the Numbers
Following each filter topic in the Search bar, you will see a number in parentheses indicating the number of times we see this filter topic emerging in books across our collection. Higher numbers mean more frequent emergence. These numbers are live and update every time we add a book.
When you click on any Race/Culture group, you can examine the distribution by categories. This gives a snapshot of how each racial/cultural group is represented in current picture books; for instance, how many characters of each group are featured in books about racial struggle (Oppression), about cultural particularity (Beautiful Life), or that do no make race or culture central to the story (Any Child).
In this case we can see that characters of Asian descent are most often depicted in stories focused on teaching about Asian culture (Beautiful Life) or in stories of old (Folklore). We ask you to consider what this means. Although cultural stories provide excellent mirrors in which Asian children can see themselves reflected, and windows into Asian culture for children from another background (Rudine Sims Bishop, 1990), we wonder whether an emphasis on these stories emphasizes that Asian children are largely "different" or "other", or that their culture existed long ago and far away. We argue for balanced portrayal that captures the full humanity of every group both historically and in our modern world (note: these are live numbers. These numbers were pulled in October, 2018).
We provide the same information on our website in graphic form. On the homepage you can see who is represented in children's literature.
What About Book Reviews?
We currently provide 2 mechanisms for accessing book reviews
- Clicking on any title listing will take you to an individual book page. Simply select the Bates Library Catalog button and scroll down a bit to read available professional reviews (e.g. SLJ, Book List, Kirkus).
2. We also provide cultural reviews to help you identify books that have been identified as problematic by experts from the racial/cultural group depicted in the book.