New database explores diversity in children’s books
The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literacy (NCACL) has launched a cultural diversity database designed to help librarians, teachers, parents and readers find books that ‘feature Australia’s culturally diverse population’.
The database, which has taken 18 months to put together, includes 340 books aimed at young people from early childhood to late secondary, with links to the Australian Curriculum and the Early Years Learning Framework.
Users can search the database for key concepts such as racial identity, cross-cultural relations, immigration, and asylum seekers, with some concepts focusing on positive outcomes (friendship, empathy and tolerance) and others on negative ones (racism, conflict and loss).
A second database is currently under development that will focus on books by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
NCACL director Belle Alderman told Books+Publishing that the cultural diversity database is ‘the third such database in the world, with the US and Canada having produced similar ones’.
The late bookseller Lu Rees began NCACL in Canberra in 1974 to collect, document and preserve material relating to Australian children’s literature and share it with teachers and teacher-librarians via outreach activities.