Super Star Curation Team
Our Super Star Curation Team combines the super powers of librarians, teachers, psychologists, parents, academics, and other leading experts who live and breathe beautiful diverse and inclusive kids' books.
OurShelves connects their expertise directly to you.
Anastasia “Stacy” Collins (she/her/hers)
Stacy is the Research & Instruction Librarian for Social Work and Children’s Literature at the Simmons University Library. Outside of librarianship, Stacy is a children’s literature scholar and reviewer with Kirkus Reviews and Horn Book Magazine and she co-runs "Medal on My Mind," a Stonewall mock award blog. Stacy lives in Massachusetts with her wife and three very round cats.
WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS: “As a cisqueer, mixed race 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: “I am an enormous Trekkie. Like, don't bring up Star Trek to me if you don't have a cool 5 hours or so to spare.”
Cynthia Bolin (she/her/hers)
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.”
Krista Aronson (She/Her/Hers)
Dr. Aronson is a 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 on 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!
megan dowd lambert (she/her/hers)
Megan is a Senior Lecturer in Children’s Literature at Simmons University. Her book, Reading Picture Books with Children, introduces the Whole Book Approach to storytime that she developed in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Committed to queer representation in children’s books, Megan has authored A Crow of His Own and Real Sisters Pretend. Megan also writes and reviews for Kirkus and The Horn Book, and she’s working on new children’s books, including A Kid of Their Own (2020).
WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS: “I’m a White, bisexual, cisgender woman, and I’m also a mom to seven children ages 1-21 in a multiracial, foster-adoptive, blended family. I want my kids (including those my husband and I co-parent with my ex-wife and her husband) to see representations of diverse family constellations so that they feel affirmed in their own lives and open to learning about others’ lives, too. I want this for all children.”
RANDOM FUN FACT: “I love sending people mail. During the final years of their lives, I tried to send my grandparents a postcard every day. After my grandmother died in 2016, my aunt boxed up and sent the postcards to me—hundreds of them!”
Rianna Matthews-Brown (she/her/hers)
As a queer, black mom of a two-year-old whose smile will make your heart melt, 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 Director of University Initiatives at Johns Hopkins University and the Vice President of the Board of FreeState Legal, an organization that advocates on behalf of low-income LGBTQ Marylanders.