Book Review Tool
This tool will help you to select and use books to challenge gender stereotypes, embrace diversity and celebrate individuality.
Stereotypes are views about a particular group that are applied to everyone in the group. Examples include: all girls like playing with dolls and all boys like playing with trucks. Stereotypes can be harmful, as they can impact on the way children think and feel about themselves, and how they interact with others.
As a general guide, books with characters that challenge or break traditional ideas about gender roles and femininity/masculinity provide examples of good role models. Characters will be shown positively and celebrated for their uniqueness. Ideally, these characters and their attributes are seen as being ‘normal’ rather than ‘different but okay’. This helps to normalise people who do not conform to stereotypes and expectations relating to gender, culture, disability etc.
The book review tool does not recommend getting rid of any books, even if they are less diverse or inclusive. Rather consider how to use these books to have conversations with children about how the books could be more gender diverse and inclusive.
It’s important to consider all aspects of a book including storyline, characters and illustrations.
How to use this checklist:
- Look through the checklist before reading the books. This will help you to identify what to look for when you analyse the book.
- Read the book.
- Complete the checklist by selecting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for each question.
- Some questions might not fit with or apply to the book. In this case, just tick the N/A column.
- At the end of the assessment the book will be rated:
Green – promotes gender equity and diversity
Orange – includes aspects of gender equity and/or diversity
Red – does not promote gender equity or diversity
- Use the rating as a prompt when having conversations with children about the book.