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Children's Literature

This is a guide to the study of children's literature at Wayne State University.

Understanding the Problem

The Cooperative Children's Book Center, based out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been annually documenting books for children and teens by and about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) since 1994. CCBC's yearly diversity statistics paint a picture of enduring inequities in the children's literature field. Each year since data collection began, the American publishing industry has produced more children's books starring animal characters than children of color.

We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books™ began as a trending Twitter campaign in 2014. Today, it is a "grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people."

Mirrors, Windows & Sliding Glass Doors

Watch Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop explain her theory of "mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors" to understand the importance of diverse representation in children's literature.

Helpful Websites


Diverse Book Finder

For information on which titles are selected for inclusion in the database and why, read the Our Collection page.

Diverse Book Finder now offers a free, online tool designed to help you diversify your picture book collection. Teachers, parents, and librarians can upload a file containing ISBNs and titles for their picture book collection (including nonfiction).The CAT will cross-reference this file with the Diverse BookFinder collection to identify multicultural picture books. CAT then provides a report of who (which racial/cultural groups) is represented and how (what themes predominate for each group) within this subset of your collection. This approach reveals the strengths and gaps in the racial/cultural representation within your collection. 

Scholarly Books