Canadian Children’s books celebrate diversity

February 11, 2016 at 9:05 am 1 comment

Submitted & tweeted by Natalie C., one of our fabulous librarians: 



At the 2016 Ontario Library Association Superconference, Sheila Barry (Groundwood Books), Scott Robins (Toronto Public Library), Jenny Kay Dupuis (Hamilton-Wentworth DSB) and Fatma Faraj (Branksome Hall) led a lively discussion that touched on some of the best Canadian children’s books reflective of diverse populations and how librarians and instructors can promote and use these resources.

Key ideas:

  • When selecting materials, try to expand your concept of diversity to include different socioeconomic backgrounds, and types of families. Students want to see themselves, their families and community represented in the books they read.
  • “Diversity” should refer not only to the stories we tell, but also to the authors & illustrators telling these stories.
  • Diversity doesn’t have the be the primary theme of the books you select; diverse elements can be present without being overtly addressed.

How can you get started with diverse books?

Challenge students to read outside their comfort zone!  Follow #ReadHarder on Twitter and host a Read Harder challenge at your own school featuring diverse books. Check out the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for inspiration.

Integrate resources into your classroom. Work with your school Teacher Librarian to ensure these resources are easily available in the school library/learning commons and integrate the literature into your classroom programming/activities.

Review the #WeHaveDiverseBooks resources at this websiteAnnotated by educators Fatma Faraj and Larry Swartz, this guide contains K-12 book selections that reflect a number of key diversity themes, including Abilities, Religion, Culture & Celebrations, and Gender Identity and Expression.  Browse categories of resources and reading lists at the 49th Shelf.

Check out these books recommended by the panel:





For a more comprehensive recap of the discussion, view tweets from the session. And contact the Library  for more information on culturally relevant – responsive literature and education. 

Natalie C., Reference Librarian


Entry filed under: Books, Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Growth mindset Free film fest for teens at TIFF this weekend

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Diverse Books: OLA jot notes | TDSB Professional Library  |  February 21, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    […] One of my favourite sessions from last year’s Super Conference was a panel hosted by Teacher-Librarian Fatma Faraj on the importance of promoting children’s books reflective of diverse populations – #WeHaveDiverseBooks. You can read my blog post on last year’s session here. […]


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