Where do you locate picture books that showcase interracial families?
After being the recipient of a book baby shower (for which I am grateful for the outpouring of love and support), I realized that 97% of all the books focused on white families with white kids or books that had animals as the main character. The majority of the books did not show interracial families, such as my very own.
This led me to question and seek out my local bookstores in trying to identify picture books that showed interracial parents or interracial families. The local bookstores did not seem to have many books that either had non-white main characters or interracial families, even when I stopped and asked for assistance.
As a librarian, I began researching the various library catalogs, children literature databases, and websites for books, trying to identify books that I could bring home to my daughter, who is of Ethiopian descent. The search results brought back a few hits, but not a lot with which I wanted to start to build my home library with.
If I, as a librarian, were having trouble with my local bookstores in trying to locate books, and the library catalog was not descriptive enough to identify the race or ethnicity of the characters in the book, how could families, who did not have the library databases at their fingertips, find and build a collection of books that represented their family?
This project was initially started with the idea of locating books that showed interracial families. As other members began to be interested in the project, the topic expanded to include LGBTQ+ families, as a parent from the daycare in which my daughter attended, asked me about books that represented her family.
As I looked around my world of friends, colleagues, and neighbors, I soon learned that families needed books as tools to help explain different family dynamics. Be the change that you want to see. As a librarian, I felt charged with creating a database that could benefit more than just my daughter and me.