Kirkus Collections helps librarians build and continually update collections curated with both literary merit and inclusive content in mind. Our lists focus on diversity in adult, children’s, and young adult literature and are the result of a process that builds on the diverse voices of Kirkus’ reviewers, and the work of the editors of Kirkus Reviews, with input from diversity experts, ensuring that our selections meet current standards of accuracy, sensitivity, and respect.
With Kirkus’ diversity collections for young readers, the groupings go beyond race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability to consider the desired reading “experience.” This consideration of experience—categorized as learning, identification, or inclusion—is integral to the effectiveness of Kirkus Collections’ recommendations, as it addresses the demand for contextual information around diversity content. For example, is the reader looking for a book to learn about a historical event or tradition (experience: learning); is she trying to find a coming-of-age story with a main character who experiences similar social and family dynamics (experience: identification); or does she want a rollicking science fiction book with a hero who looks like her (experience: inclusion)? Using Kirkus Collections, a librarian can help her find all three.
All selections are recommended not only for their thematic match and reading experience, but also for their literary and artistic merit. Before being added to a list, the quality of the writing and/or illustration in each book must meet the discerning standards of Kirkus Reviews, the toughest and most authoritative voice in book recommendations since 1933. With some exceptions, books included in the collections feature protagonists from marginalized groups, not sidekicks, so that readers see characters of color and of diverse faiths, LGBTQIAP characters, and disabled characters doing rather than helping. Within each broad category, further standards include scrutiny for stereotyping, consideration of accuracy, and avoidance of tired, damaging tropes.
Because the first priority of Kirkus Collections is to get diverse collections of books into libraries across America, we partnered with Baker & Taylor, the country’s leading library wholesaler. We aim to make ordering our recommendations as simple as possible—no need to set up accounts with new vendors, no need to learn yet another technology solution. Kirkus Collections are available in Title Source 360, where you can view the full lists, identify duplicates already in your inventory, and order the books just as you do any other title from Baker & Taylor.
In order to ensure that books selected for Kirkus Collections meet current standards of sensitivity and respect, all Kirkus reviewers must participate in a training that will help them identify problematic tropes and representations. Where possible, young readers’ literature with diverse subject matter and protagonists is assigned to reviewers who have “lived experience” of the subject matter, to identify both those books that resonate most with cultural insiders and those books that fall short.
A book in Kirkus Collections that is designated Lived Experiences is the product of a creator with insider experience of the marginalized identities depicted, whether they have to do with race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexuality, gender, disability, or more.
The designation of a book as Lived Experiences is an independent editorial decision made by Kirkus’ editors based on a book’s contents and what we are able to determine from publicly available information about the identity of the author and/or illustrator at the time the book is added to the Kirkus Collections. The designation is not a marketing term, and it is not made by the book’s publisher.
Trust Kirkus Collections to find diverse books that meet modern standards of sensitivity and respect as well as high expectations for literary merit, and introduce children to a more personal, more profound reading experience.
Because the first priority of Kirkus Collections is to get diverse books into libraries across America, we have partnered with Baker & Taylor, the country’s leading library wholesaler. We aim to make ordering our recommendations as simple as possible—no need to set up accounts with new vendors, no need to learn yet another technology solution.Ordering is easy as can be:
The Kirkus Prize
The Kirkus Prize is among the richest literary awards in America, awarding $50,000 in three categories annually.See the 2020 winners.
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