We live in a world full of diversity—diversity of experience, background, belief, and identity. To make sure kids grow up into adults that can celebrate and participate in that diverse world, they need to see their own experiences, as well as the experiences of others reflected in the world around them.  

A great place to start is by ensuring that our children have exposure to books and literature that accurately represent and celebrate the diversity of the human experience. Seeing the world from a different perspective teaches empathy and fosters curiosity. Media shapes our childrens’ perception of themselves and others, so it’s vital for them to see positive and meaningful representation of people of different skin colors, nationalities, languages, and cultures.  

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Here are some useful resources for finding age-appropriate diverse books for your Girl Scouts to explore: 

OurStory from We Need Diverse Books 

WNDB is committed to allowing all children to see themselves reflected in the pages of a book, by making sure they have access to books and literature featuring diverse characters. WNDB distributes free books to low-income schools, offers mentorships and funding for BIPOC authors, and provides an app to help young readers and their caregivers find diverse books. This web-based tool is free and allows you to search by reading level from babies to teens, genre, story elements, and the identities and experiences of the characters.  

Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books 

This guide from TeachingforChange.org offers methods and guidelines for assessing and analyzing children’s media, to help you avoid books that portray misleading information, harmful stereotypes, or other negative messaging. 

Maya’s Book Nook 

Five-year old Maya and her mother run Maya’s Book Nook, a website dedicated to promoting literacy and language skills through diverse children’s media. Besides entertaining book reviews and recommendations, you can also find tips for engaging young readers and helping them develop critical thinking, memory, and comprehension with related activities and discussion questions. 

The Most Popular Children’s Books from Every Country in the World 

Enjoy a trip around the world without leaving home by sharing the experience of what kids in other countries are reading over and over and over. This article includes handy links to find all of the titles that are available in English! 

Multicultural 2021 ALA Award-Winning Children’s & YA Books 

 The American Library Association’s awards are among the most prestigious, making this list a terrific place to find some of the best new children’s books that also celebrate diversity.  

It can be a challenge to find quality diverse children’s literature; According to data on books by and about Black, Indigenous and People of Color published for children and teens compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, fewer than a third of new children’s books published in 2020 portrayed BIPOC and/or Latinx characters and experiences.  

Part of our Girl Scout commitment to anti-racism includes teaching our girls the values that will set them up to be a sister not just to every scout, but to everyone they meet in their lives. I hope you and your girls find new stories to share, learn, and explore the diverse world we live in together!

What’s Next: 

  • Looking to take the next step in exploring how to be anti-racist with your troop? Check out these Girl Scout tips on fighting racism. 
  • Check out these books that every Girl Scout (and parent) will love! 
  • Support your community as a Girl Scout by learning about and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community
     

Carrie Hirsch—A lifelong artist, Carrie started her career as a freelance illustrator before shifting roles to in-house graphic designer for a major travel guide publisher and a feminist press, and she’s now enjoying her job as the Senior Graphic Designer for GSNorCal. In her free time, Carrie loves to paint, but when she’s not creating art, she loves hiking and camping with her girlfriend and getting outdoors to find inspiration for new artwork. They live in a cute little house in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a cute little black cat named River.