We Need Diverse Books and SLJ Release Booktalking Kit

The We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Booktalking Kit is now available for download.

WNDB_KitThe We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Booktalking Kit is now available for download.

WNDB and School Library Journal (SLJ) have partnered to produce the kit, which is designed to highlight children’s literature about diverse characters and/or written by diverse authors, according to an announcement by WNDB. The kit gives teachers, librarians, and booksellers the tools they need to discuss these works with their students, patrons and customers. Hard copies have been distributed by the American Booksellers Association (ABA) via ABA’s Spring 2015 Children’s White Boxes. The kit is also available online at diversebooks.org and www.slj.com.

The Booktalking Kit includes:

An introduction and WNDB campaign 1-sheet

  • Three lists of 10 WNDB picks (Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Picture Books), selected by WNDB librarians, with a brief description that emphasizes their universal appeal, with suggestions for comparative titles, and “Perfect for….” recommendations
  • Shelftalkers (akin to the 3×5 cards bookstores have on their shelves calling out recommendations) for each WNDB pick
  • Shelftalkers for comparative titles to direct readers to the WNDB pick
  • A WNDB sign for display by teachers, librarians, and booksellers

“Contrary to popular belief, diversity does sell,” says Sarah Hannah Gómez, a WNDB librarian. “That’s why it was so difficult to put together this list and whittle it down to only 30 titles. In the end, I think our first toolkit shines light on some amazing books and hits all sorts of identities to create a collection that is truly representative of our world.”

The WNDB Booktalking Kits are inspired by the “Cheat Sheet for Selling Diversity” presented by Newbery Honor-winning author Grace Lin during the We Need Diverse Books panel at BookCon 2014. In her tenure as a bookseller, Lin saw firsthand how easy it was for people to pigeonhole diverse books into a “special interest” box, according to WNDB. She found that pitching books by using their universal hooks is the most effective way to sell them to readers.

“The WNDB Booktalking Kit represents a significant next step toward expanding awareness of diverse books,” says SLJ Executive Editor Kathy Ishizuka. “From middle grade and high school titles to picture books, WNDB has provided a rich range of selections that we hope will be shared widely, not just within the library and book community, but to schools and families as well. The shelftalkers and cards for finding comparative diverse titles are creative tools that, as the kit says, represent a ‘point of discovery’ for diverse books, and School Library Journal is proud to support this project.”

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