GUEST ARTICLE: We Need Diversity

8:00 AM Tif Sweeney 3 Comments

Deb from Read Write Tell is here to address a very important topic today:  
DIVERSITY.  Read on.  Weigh in.  Recommend.


We Need Diversity

There is a twitter movement afoot and it is made of awesome.

Here it is:

Out of that grew a twitter account called We Need DiverseBooks and the official site on Tumblr.

Out of that grew an opportunity for We Need Diverse Books to attend THIS.

What a great opportunity to keep the dialogue going and keep it out there!

The purpose of all of this is to speak to the publishing industry about the ongoing need for diversity in the books that are published for the children and young adults. And on a personal note the students I work with on a day to day basis are made of diversity. There are First Nations and Filipino children; there are those who are of African and Asian descent. There are students who come from conservative religious backgrounds and those whose great grandparents emigrated from Sweden. We are of many backgrounds, colors, cultures and it is amazing.  I see them respond to books they see themselves in whether that be based on the color of their skin, their culture, their background. It creates an even deeper connection to literature which in turn allows us to make deeper connections to them. Talk about empowering!

For me the ideal would be being able to reach for a book, put together a book display or provide a series of book talks by simply going to the stacks and pulling what I need with the same ease that I can pull together any display. Have we come a long way from when I first started working for public libraries back in 1986? Yes we have. But, I think there will come a day when showing and sharing diversity will be easy as walking to the bookshelves and every other book shows the diversity we have the privilege of working with.  Even as I type this I think, idealistic? Maybe, but how wonderful that we are, with movements like We Need Diverse books moving toward the ideal!

In the meantime,  let’s add even more diversity into our own reading. Need some suggestions? Check out the following links:

Here are a few authors to check out (personal favorites)

While you are at it, why not pick a book or two from Lee andLow Books!  

And once you have built yourself a list of good reading, why not check out The 48 Hour Read-a-thon?  You will never guess what the theme is. Well, you probably just did. Diversity!


Deb is one of our own Armchair BEA team members and blogger at Read Write Tell.  After working for many years in the public library system and as a professional storyteller she now is an elementary school librarian and aspiring writer of picture books and middle grade novels. 


  1. I love reading books based and even written in other cultures. To date, Children of Dust or The Twelfth Imam and outstanding reads based elsewhere. Besides giving glimpses into the culture, it really lets you know more about them when you know little.

  2. I loved best Ramadan Ever I need to see if that author has written more books