Text Selection

How to choose books that address social justice

There are a lot of books out there. When selecting a text it's important to be thinking about representation and bias. There are many anti-racist, anti-bias text tools you can choose from to help you with this work (see below). Eventually, these guiding questions become the lens in which you review texts and you won't need to use them as often. Until your mind is trained to see these things, they are important tools to use.

Selecting Diverse Texts, Learning for Justice

Screening for Bias, Washington State OSPI

Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children's Books, Social Justice Books

How to choose Indigenous Texts

The first thing I do when reviewing a text from an Indigenous perspective is reading what Dr. Debbie Reese, author of the blog American Indian Children's Literature, says about it. If she hasn't reviewed the text, I just don't use it. We continue to cause significant harm to Indigenous people in many ways, including the ways we refer to them in our books. Dr. Reese emphasizes these points when reviewing texts:

  1. Is the book by a Native author or illustrator?

  2. Does the book, in some way, include something to tell readers that we are sovereign nations?

  3. Is the book tribally specific, and is the tribally specific information accurate?

  4. Is it set in the present day? If it is historical in structure, does it use present tense verbs that tell readers the Native peoples being depicted are part of today's society?

Other Book List Resources

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain