NCACL Cultural Diversity Database

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This comprehensive database includes 340 books concentrating on the cultural diversity of Australia. Readership ranges from early childhood to young adult, providing a large scope. Created by the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature, experts in the fields of literature, libraries and education were involved in its development and trials.

Books can be searched through many parameters, including author and illustrator, key concept such as empathy, migration and family, allowing for a wide range. Other search parameters include audience type and links to the Australian Curriculum and Australian Early Years Framework (EYLF), making this a valuable resource for teachers and educators of all ages. Formats can also be searched using the top search bar.

Search results are comprehensive, for example, when searching a picture book with the concept of conflict, the results include conflict and racial conflict. The 34 key concepts are listed in the drop down menu for perusal. One can also see the entire list here.

These concepts, according to the page through the above link, are intended to reflect aspects appearing in the books to which they are allocated. Familiar to users, they have been selected from frequently used search terms in library catalogues, research databases and bibliographies relating to cultural diversity.

You may be surprised to know of the exclusion of books by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. It is explained on the website that this is because in 2019, the NCACL will be researching for a separate database, which will identify books by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Something to look forward to!

Search tips are available for users through this link.

However, I found this database extremely easy to use and had little use for these helpful tips.

It is so important, in our ever-changing world with its increasing global and multicultural nature, along with the increase in influences of social and multi-media, that our young people are exposed to a diversity in literature. Not only does this enable them to live in another’s shoes, but it also enables them to read more widely and diversely, thus becoming critical and diverse users of texts.

I cannot recommend this database enough. Its links to the Australian Curriculum and EYLF make it invaluable to all educators. Academics researching diversity in Australian children’s and young adult literature will find this resource invaluable.

Reviewed by Liz Derouet

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