I write a lot about how important it is for juvenile readers to see themselves in entertainment media, so I'm pleased to say that diverse YA books just got easier to find, thanks to Kirkus Collections: a new project from Kirkus and book distributor Baker & Taylor.
As introduced by Kirkus Children's & Teen Editor Vicky Smith, Kirkus Collections creates curated lists of books about members of nine marginalized communities: Black, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, First/Native Nations, Multiracial, Religion, LGBTQIAP, and Disability. Smith says the folks behind Kirkus Collections can use this broad categorization data "to curate lists: 'Black & Disabled'; 'Latinx Read-Alouds'; 'LGBTQIAP Love Stories'; 'Teen Romance with Male Asian Love Interests' (a small but, we hope, growing collection that may provide some redress of the wrongs wrought by Long Duk Dong and others of his ilk)." The books are also subdivided into three categories — Identification, Learning, and Inclusion — according to what role race, religion, and other factors play in their narratives.
Unfortunately, Kirkus Collections isn't tailored toward helping parents select the right books for their families. Instead, the new system assists library, school, and retail book-buyers in diversifying their collections. Although Kirkus Collections will help children find books that reflect their experiences, it cannot do so directly. Be sure you drop a hint to your local librarian or bookseller about this awesome new tool, and use the OurStory app from We Need Diverse Books to find books that reflect your family's experiences and identities.