Filling the Gaps: Improving Representation with a Reverse Diversity Audit

With close to 200,000 books on its shelves, the S-Collection proudly reflects a wide variety of identities, experiences, and points of view. Not content to rest on their laurels, though, the S-Collection’s librarians are always seeking to improve its inclusiveness and representation. That’s why this past semester, iSchool graduate student Anthony Martinez and SSHEL’s head librarian Nancy O’Brien undertook a “reverse diversity audit” which is when you take a list of books about a selected type of diversity and determine how many of those books are on your shelves. Guided by a variety of authoritative book lists, bibliographies, and awards lists, Anthony scoured the stacks to compare what the S-Collection already has to what’s recommended it have. To date, the audit has checked for hundreds of books, specifically those featuring children of military families, children who are Indigenous, and children who are transgender or gender nonconforming. The results were that a number of wonderful titles in each category were added to the collection. The library is very excited to welcome each one to the S-Collection shelves. To give readers a taste of those titles, the following list includes some of Anthony’s favorite finds from the transgender/gender nonconforming audit.

Estrela, Joana
My Own Way: Celebrating Gender Freedom for Kids. 2022 (Picture book)
“Small children are often asked to choose between a gendered binary – “boy” or “girl,” “pink” or “blue.” This colorful picture book smashes these stereotypes and encourages the reader to follow their own way. With vibrant illustrations and concise, poetic text, this powerful book teaches young children that there are no limits in what you can do and who you can be. Translated from the original Portuguese by award-winning transgender poet Jay Hulme.” — Provided by publisher.
(On order)

Ford, JR and Vanessa Ford
Illustrated by: Kayla Harren
Calvin. 2021 (Picture book)
“A transgender boy prepares for the first day of school and introduces himself to his family and friends for the first time. Inspired by the authors’ own transgender child and accompanied by warm and triumphant illustrations, this authentic and personal text promotes kindness and empathy, offering a poignant and inclusive back-to-school message: all should feel safe, respected, and welcomed.” — Provided by publisher.
SE. F7526ca

Hirst, Jo
Illustrated by: Naomi Bardoff
A House for Everyone: A Story to Help Children Learn about Gender Identity and Gender Expression. 2018 (Picture book)
“At lunchtime, all of Tom’s friends gather at school to work together building their house. Each one of them has a special job to do, and each one of them has a different way of expressing their gender identity. Jackson is a boy who likes to wear dresses. Ivy is a girl who likes her hair cut really short. Alex doesn’t feel like ‘just’ a boy, or ‘just’ a girl. They are all the same, they are all different – but they are all friends.” — Provided by publisher.
HQ1075 .H56 2018

Lukoff, Kyle
Illustrated by: Luciano Lozano
Call Me Max. 2019 (Picture book)
“When Max starts school, the teacher hesitates to call out the name on the attendance sheet. Something doesn’t seem to fit. Max lets her know the name he wants to be called by — a boy’s name. This begins Max’s journey as he makes new friends and reveals his feelings about his identity to his parents. Written with warmth and sensitivity by trans writer Kyle Lukoff, this book is a sweet and age-appropriate introduction to what it means to be transgender.” — Provided by publisher.
Q. SE. L9696ca

Mayeno, Laurin
Illustrated by: Robert Liu-Trujillo
One of a Kind, Like Me / Unico Como Yo. 2016 (Picture book)
“Tomorrow is the school parade, and Danny knows exactly what he will be: a princess. Mommy supports him 100%, and they race to the thrift store to find his costume. It’s almost closing time – will Danny find the costume of his dreams in time? One of A Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo is a sweet story about unconditional love and the beauty of individuality. It’s a unique book that lifts up children who don’t fit gender stereotypes, and reflects the power of a loving and supportive community.” — Provided by publisher.
(On order)

Neal, Trinity and DeShanna Neal
Illustrated by: Art Twink
My Rainbow. 2020 (Picture book)
“A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.” — Provided by publisher.
Q. SE. N255my

Pessin-Whedbee, Brook
Illustrated by: Naomi Bardoff, Naomi
Who Are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity. 2017 (Picture book).
“What do you like? How do you feel? Who are you? This brightly illustrated children’s book provides a straightforward introduction to gender for anyone aged 5+. It presents clear and direct language for understanding and talking about how we experience gender: our bodies, our expression and our identity. An interactive three-layered wheel included in the book is a simple, yet powerful, tool to clearly demonstrate the difference between our body, how we express ourselves through our clothes and hobbies, and our gender identity. Ideal for use in the classroom or at home, a short page-by-page guide for adults at the back of the book further explains the key concepts and identifies useful discussion points.” — Provided by publisher.
S.305.3 P9265wh

Rhodes-Courter, Ashley
Illustrated by: Haley MacKenzie
Sam is My Sister. 2021 (Picture book)
“Evan loves being a big brother to Sam and Finn. They do everything together ― go fishing, climb trees, and play astronauts. But lately, Evan notices that he and Sam don’t look like brothers anymore. Sam wants to have long hair, and even asks to wear a dress on the first day of school. As time goes by, Evan comes to understand why Sam wants to look like a girl ― because Sam is a girl. Sam is transgender. And just like always, Sam loves to dream with Evan and Finn about going to the moon together. Based on one family’s real-life experiences…” — Provided by publisher.
SE. R3466sa

Shraya, Vivek
Illustrated by: Rajni Perera
The Boy & the Bindi. 2016 (Picture book)
A young boy becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi, and asks her to explain what it is and why she wears it. She tells him that the red dot is commonly worn by Hindu women to indicate the point at which creation begins. When he wishes to have one of his own, she agrees to it, and teaches him about its cultural significance, allowing the boy to discover the magic of the bindi, which in turn gives him permission to be more fully himself.
PZ7.S5591473 Bo 2016

Silverman, Erica
Illustrated by: Holly Hatam
Jack (Not Jackie). 2018 (Picture book)
“Susan thinks her little sister Jackie has the best giggle! She can’t wait for Jackie to get older so they can do all sorts of things like play forest fairies and be explorers together. But as Jackie grows, she doesn’t want to play those games. She wants to play with mud and be a super bug! Jackie also doesn’t like dresses or her long hair, and she would rather be called Jack. Readers will love this sweet story about change and acceptance. This book is published in partnership with Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.” — Provided by publisher.
SE. Si395ja

 Anthony Martinez