How To Choose Culturally Sensitive Books

When looking into different children’s books to examine for bias ask yourself these questions:

  • Examine the illustrations: Does the book  avoid or perpetuate stereotypes? Are there token characters? Are the characters from diverse backgrounds?
  • Are diverse characters cast in marginalized or peripheral roles or are they integral for the progression of the story?
  • Are there positive interpersonal character relationships?
  • Does the book feature characters with different lifestyles or is it the same cookie cutter family?
  • Is the book empowering or does it send a message of pity?
  • Does the book address positive character traits and actions?
  • Who wrote the book? Was it an author who identifies with the characters of the story?
    • Example: An African American author of a book about African American people.
  • Does the book use words that imply judgement about another group of people?
    • Examples: “savages,” “backwards,” “primative”
  • Will the book be interesting to the reader? Will students who identify with the characters see the book as a source of pride? Would you?

These questions were based on the very comprehensive guide for choosing anti-biased, culturally sensitive children’s books for your library.

The above article is from Social Justice Books which is a great resource for educators and parents who are trying to navigate the multitude of children’s books there are out there. This can really help narrow down and select the most socially conscientious books.

Happy Reading!


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