March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

A Diversity & Cultural Literacy Toolkit

The following is a list of recommended resources, including articles, videos, and other content, used in our various in-person and virtual training sessions and workshops on diversity and cultural literacy for librarians. This list is by no means comprehensive; it represents a starting place for further exploration, reflection, and discussion. And while some of the resources are geared specifically to folks selecting or evaluating material for children and teens, the vast majority of the content is applicable to librarians or educators working with students or patrons of any age—from birth to senior citizens. This list was originally compiled as a supplemental resource for workshop or course participants, but it can also serve as the first step in self-directed learning around issues of cultural competence. We invite our community of readers to add their own go-to resources in the comments section.

The WHY of It

Image from Lee & Low’s Diversity in Publishing 2015 survey results.

The Danger of a Single Story TED talk by Chimamanda Adichie

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors (1990).

Lee & Low Diversity Baseline Survey (2015)

Publishing Statistics on Children’s Book about People of Color and First/Native Nations… from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Diversity Gap in Children’s Books by Lee & Low

Picture This: Reflecting Diversity in Children’s Book Publishing by Sarah Dahlen Park

Diversity in Publishing Doesn’t Exist—But Here’s How It Can by Chris Jackson via Literary Hub

Why Publishing Is So White by Rachel Deahl, with reporting by Anisse Gross, Claire Kirch, Diane Patrick, and Judith Rosen via Publishers Weekly

Key Concepts

Stereotypes & Tropes

When You’re Invisible, Every Representation Matters by Native Appropriations

Disability Tropes via Disability in Kidlit blog

Contesting Ideology in Children’s Book Reviewing by Dr. Debbie Reese (page 37)

What Are Microaggressions? from Derald Wing Sue

A Visual Representation of Everyday Microaggressions

We’re a Culture, Not a Costume PSA campaign from Ohio University

Accuracy or Bias? On Prejudicial Characters in Children’s Literature and Beyond by Justina Ireland via Book Riot


National Association of Black Journalists Style Guide

National Center on Disability and Journalism Style Guide

National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Stylebook

Society of Professional Journalists Diversity Toolbox

Evaluation & Selection

Doing a YA Diversity Audit (Part 1) by Karen Jensen via the Teen Librarian Toolbox blog

Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books via Social Justice Books: A Teaching for Change Project

Reviewing Through a Diverse Lens: Keynote Lecture by K.T. Horning

The DIG (Diverse and Inclusive Growth) Checklist for evaluating digital media from KIDMAP

Anti-Oppression, Social Justice Curricula, and Allyship

Anti-Oppression Guide from Simmons Library, Simmons College, created by Stacy Collins, Research and Instruction Librarian

Anti-Bias Framework for Teaching from Teaching Tolerance

A Collection of Resources for Teaching Social Justice from Cult of Pedagogy


This toolkit is an evolving document. We encourage you to add your own recommended resources in the comments. The editors will periodically update the above list with new content.

Kiera Parrott About Kiera Parrott

Kiera Parrott is the reviews director for School Library Journal and Library Journal and a former children's librarian. Her favorite books are ones that make her cry—or snort—on public transportation.



  1. Traci Cope says:

    Wow! This is such an impressive collection of articles and information, all in one place and clearly organized.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to cull so many quality resources. I am Looking forward to diving into this reading and furthering my education. I passed it on to a group of folks at my school who are also working on these things.

    Thank you!

  2. Myra Zarnowski says:

    Thank you for this extremely useful collection of resources. I look forward to delving into it and sharing it with my undergraduate and graduate students.

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