Sets Us Apart
Sets Us Apart
Sets Us Apart
QUALITY: Stories that ignite imagination, wonder, and possibility.
DIVERSITY: Racially and ethnically diverse, LGBTQ+, disabled, feminist, and other traditionally under-represented characters.
EXPERTISE: Our team brings expertise from academia, librarianship, teaching, psychology, child development, anti-oppression work, and parenting to our book review process.
LIVED EXPERIENCE: We prioritize authors/illustrators who share the under-represented identity featured in their story. Each Curation Team member has the lived experience of being under-represented in kids' books.
Stacy is the librarian for Children's Literature and Social Work as well as the Curriculum & Research Team Coordinator at Simmons University Library. She was named a 2021 Mover & Shaker for her work dismantling systemic barriers and disrupting status quo inequities in children's literature and librarianship. Outside of librarianship, Stacy is a children's literature scholar and reviewer, a book guide author, and an anti-oppression educator. They also co-run "Medal on My Mind," a Stonewall mock award blog. Stacy lives in Massachusetts with their wife, toddler, and very round cats.
WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS: "As a queer, nonbinary Black woman who sits at the intersection of a number of other non-normative identities, I've never seen my whole self in a children's book, though I have seen and fiercely connected to pieces of myself. Those moments were critical, not only for the validation but for the fact that it came when I was young and didn't even know that's what I needed."
RANDOM FUN FACT: "The character Ms. Frogbottom from the Ms. Frogbottom's Field Trips series looks exactly like me--right down to the glasses and purple hair. The character is basically a Black Ms. Frizzle, which is awesome. The illustrator and I have never met so it's all a Twilight Zone coincidence, which is even more awesome."
Cynthia has practiced as a school psychologist in the early childhood and elementary school settings for 10 years. Cynthia now spends most of her time caring for her two young boys. She remains connected to early childhood education by teaching preschool music at a nursery school co-op and directing an elementary school musical for the local public school. Cynthia has degrees in Psychology and Music from Florida State University and a Master’s and Educational Specialist degree in school psychology from The College of William and Mary.
WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS: "I'm a mixed-race cisgender woman who is married to another cisgender woman. We are the parents of two boys. It is so important to our family that our kids see our family represented in the literature they consume, but it is also deeply important to us that the books they read help them to understand and embrace the diverse world around them. We want to raise children who are socially conscious and prepared to advocate for social justice for all humans."
RANDOM FUN FACT: "I am a musical theatre junkie. I have never had a day that couldn’t be made better with a showtune. On my luckiest days, I get to spend time singing and acting in community theatre."
Dr. Aronson is Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Psychology at Bates College. Her work focuses on how children process and understand race as well as the effective use of picture books to enhance intercultural relationships and self-understanding during childhood. Her own identity as a biracial woman deeply informs her work, which is represented online through the Diverse BookFinder: a unique circulating collection of nearly all of the picture books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC) published since 2002; an online searchable database of this collection; and a source of critical data about who (which BIPOC characters) is depicted in trade picture books, and how (what messages these stories send).
WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS: "Lots of reasons! Personally, as a biracial mother raising multiracial children, I'm always looking for books that render their experiences visible/valuable and expose them to stories that open their minds to others' experiences. As a Psychologist I know how absolutely important this is for their emotional, social and academic development. For more about how I got into diverse children's literature and to learn about some of my research on the topic, check out this Diverse BookFinder blog post."
RANDOM FUN FACT: "I love to bike -- indoors, outdoors, with my family, or alone!"
As a queer, black mother of two incredible little people - five year old Solomon and one year old Selah - Rianna knows deeply the practical and structural challenges, and opportunities, around connecting high-quality, intersectional, age-appropriate diverse books to all children. Rianna is the Deputy Chief of Staff at Johns Hopkins University and is on the Board of FreeState Justice, an organization that advocates on behalf of low-income LGBTQ Marylanders.
WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS: "It's the only way to counter generations of misinformation, oppression, racism, transphobia, homophobia (and the list goes on and on). We have to tell our stories, elevate our voices, and affirm our existence."
RANDOM FUN FACT: "My wife, kids, and I love a good old fashioned dance-off! We push back the furniture and bond over music and dancing."