For immediate release | May 21, 2013

Using diversity in YA literature to open the doors of reading

CHICAGO—The full spectrum of diversity extends far beyond race, ethnicity, and celebrations of cultural pride. Surveying the landscape, “Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors through Reading,” published by ALA Editions, shows how YA lit now includes the wide range of our increasingly diverse society. Edited by Jamie Campbell Naidoo and Sarah Park Dahlen, this contributed volume presents chapters on the representations of culture groups that are often ignored in examinations of diverse youth literature, while also examining more common cultural groups through a new lens or perspective. Helping meet the informational, recreational, and cultural needs of today’s youth and those who serve them, this timely book:

  • Provides context by sketching out the historical trajectory of diversity in youth lit;
  • Organizes titles into sections that range from familiar themes (African American, Asian, Latino, Muslim, and queer) to the lesser known (such as literature dealing with incarceration, transnational adoption, cognitive disabilities, and homelessness);
  • Offers guidelines for evaluating and selecting the best in diversity literature;
  • Suggests youth-tested programs and strategies to promote multicultural books in the library and classroom.

Naidoo is an associate professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies and founder of the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference. He teaches and researches in the areas of early childhood literacy, multicultural and international children’s literature, and diversity in librarianship. He is a former children’s librarian and school librarian, and his current research specializes in public library services and programs to Latino children and library services for LGBTQ families. He is a member of REFORMA and has served on numerous children’s book award committees. Editor of the book “Celebrating Cuentos: Promoting Latino Children’s Literature and Literacy into Classrooms and Libraries,” he is also the author ofRainbow Family Collections: Selecting and Using Children’s Books with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Content,” which was published in 2012.

Dahlen is an assistant professor of library and information science at St.Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. She teaches courses in library materials for children and young adults, library services for youth, storytelling, and introduction to library and information science. Her research interests include representations of the Korean diaspora in children’s literature, children’s librarianship, transracial adoption, social justice, and Korean diasporic history. She has served on several children’s book award committees and is currently serving as the chair of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association’s Literature Awards Committee for Children’s Literature.

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Related Links

"Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors through Reading"

"Cart’s Top 200 Adult Books for Young Adults: Two Decades in Review"

"Serving At-Risk Teens: Proven Strategies and Programs for Bridging the Gap"


Jill Davis

Marketing Manager

American Library Association

ALA Editions