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Children's and Young Adult Literature: We Need Diverse Books

This guide is a starting place for exploring children's and young adult literature

We Need Diverse Books

"Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book"

We Need Diverse Books


The Diverse Book Reading Challenge: The Danger of a Single Story

At the 2018 American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibit, a session entitled "Native YA Today: Contemporary Indigenous Voices and Heroes for the 21st Century & Beyond" featured a panel of Indigenous authors: Cynthia Smith, Eric Gansworth, Dawn Quigley, and Joseph Bruchac. When asked by an audience member how individuals can better identify American Indian stereotypes and problematic issues in children's/YA books, the panel responded with the advice to read 100 books written by indigenous authors.  

Purpose of the Diverse Reads guides

The TDRL believes in creating inclusive reading and educational experiences for all students, but to accomplish this, educators must understand the importance of accurate and positive representation of diverse identities in books written for young people. Therefore, the pages of this guide are meant to serve two purposes: 

  1. Provide a place for educators and caregivers to learn more about diverse representation in children's/YA literature through reading inclusive books.
  2. Provide a place for readers to find books that reflect their own lived experiences and the experiences of others which are not depicted in the majority of books being published. 

We highly encourage educators to begin the 100 book challenge for themselves, and for everyone to incorporate as many books with positive and accurate representation of marginalized identities as possible into their classrooms and homes.

NOTE: While we have done our best to only include books with positive reviews/feedback, the authenticity of diverse representation in these books has not been evaluated by TDRL staff.  We highly recommend evaluating individual books for authentic representation before making recommendations to young people

Diverse Reads Guides

American Indian/First Nations


Additional guides coming soon...

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