Selecting Diverse Books
Multicultural literature is critical to include in all library collections, whether the community your library serves is diverse or more homogeneous. Acting as counterstory, multicultural literature “gives voice to those who have been taught to hide their emotions” [Delgado, 1989, p. 2440]. It speaks to the power of the individual and the collective, shows youth of color and native peoples defining themselves and engaging in problem solving, and emphasizes the importance of self-reliance and self-determination [Tatum, 2009]. It also allows youth in the dominant culture to see how the world looks from someone else’s perspective. It challenges their assumptions, jars their complacency, and invites them to action [Delgado, 1989, p. 2440]. As Richard Delgado notes, “stories are the oldest, most primordial meeting ground in human experience. Their allure will provide the most effective means of overcoming otherness [and] of forming a new collectivity based on shared story” [Delgado, 1989, 2438].
Selecting diverse books can be challenging. Here we offer a number of tools to help, including:
Delgado, Richard, Storytelling for oppositionists and others: A plea for narrative. The Michigan Law Review Association, 87 (1989), 2411-2441.
Tatum, Beverly Daniel, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” And Other Conversations About Race. New York: Basic Books, 1997.