Find Kids' Books On Gender, Abuse, Divorce, & More On Scholastic's New Instagram

by Cat Bowen

When children need answers to life's tough questions, they look to their parents for guidance. But where do parents look when they need help with how to respond to their children's curiosity? Parents have been largely on their own before, but now, thanks to the new Scholastic Bookshelf on Instagram, there's a new resource available to help families educate their children on some of life's hardest issues.

Utilizing the power of social media, the new Scholastic Bookshelf was designed for parents to have an easily navigable resource to help them tackle subjects ranging from gender to race to healthy eating. Each post features one topic, and in the description boxes are several books to choose from depending upon the age of the child. The linktree in the bio will connect you to the book or Scholastic Classroom magazine excerpt, along with conversational prompts, provoking questions, and guides for reading on further on the subject.

To test out the service, I went to the new Scholastic Bookshelf Instagram page and chose LGBTQIA (designed with a rainbow) to see what sort of books and questions would be offered. I was happily surprised to see a diverse array of authors and stories posted — like my personal favorite Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender — but I was disappointed to see that there were no books for young readers under age 9, and did not immediately see the conversational prompts. With other subjects — like addiction — there were more resources available.

The page is beautifully laid out, and the graphics make it easy to filter through what parents and teachers might need. The books are all published by Scholastic, so if you purchase them through your school, there is a financial benefit for your institution, which is great.

But while this is a very progressive move for a publisher to take, and they are clearly taking a stand on the issues by publishing this in this way, I hope they continually add and expand this resource. I'd love to see the topic of Black Experience. While they offer posts on diversity, cultural traditions, and Civil Rights, there is no singular post on Blackness or being Black in America, or Black Lives Matter, even though there are tons of books in this vein published by them. They are doing the hard work of trying to have equal representation, but I would love to see a few more pointed posts.

All in all, it's a wonderful resource that I hope continues to grow.