Black History Month 1991 was an auspicious occasion in the Education Library at UBC. Yvonne Brown, an experienced elementary language arts and secondary English teacher, and Richard Moore, a staff member at the Education Library, looked around and observed an absence of Africa and Black People in the visual and literary representation in the learning materials in the Faculty of Education at UBC. As two African-Canadians of the Diaspora they felt it was their duty to provide leadership in filling the information gap.
Yvonne and Richard began by mounting the first Black History Month display in the library. They followed up by asking the Education Library to cull the outdated and stereotypical material and place them in the archive. The whole library staff gave their unconditional support to acquiring the finest books, picture books, social studies and cultural kits, young adult fiction, and films for, by and about the human condition of Africans on the continent and in its Diaspora. This collection serves the reading and curricula needs of children from pre-school through grade 12. With such a fine collection, Yvonne and Richard began to offer workshops to schools and community groups to introduce this rich literature.
A number of colleagues volunteered their labour to make the Africa and Diaspora Children's Literature Project (ADCLP) such an object of pride that we want to share it with the world. First and foremost we must acknowledge the steady commitment of the whole Education Library staff since 1991. Many thanks to Janice Austin, Cathaleen Finnegan, Tim Atkinson, Darrell Bailie, and Howard Hurt for their kind and generous support over the years.
Chris Ball, Head of the Education Library, has continued to support our project.
Aleteia Greenwood built upon and expanded the the information Yvonne and Richard had collected, producing a searchable database as part of her master's in Library and Information Studies program.
Jo-Anne Naslund, Instructional Programs Librarian for the Faculty of Education, made ADCLP an integral part of the instructional program for the teacher education program, which prepares at least 1,000 teachers annually. Thanks also to Linda Dunbar, Reference Librarian at the UBC Education Library.
Prof. Ron Jobe, international expert in children's literature, both donates regularly to the collection and includes this literature in his course on multicultural children's literature.
In 2002, Dr. Graeme Chalmers, The David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education at UBC was kind enough to provide funding for Lorna Coke, a student in Curriculum Studies, to help with research. Dr. Chalmers also included African and Diaspora literature in the work of the Chair during his tenure.
Sally Chee, a student in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, also contributed annotations and reading level analyses for works listed in ADCLP.
Doug Brigham, eResources Librarian at UBC, added many more titles to ADCLP, and helped make the information available through this wiki. Special thanks go to Elena Pederson, a staff member at the Education Library at UBC, who designed the logo for our wiki.
While African and Diaspora literature produced in the United States is fairly well represented, the collection needs to expand to include more titles published in all countries and languages on the African continent, Great Britain, Caribbean, Canada, Europe and elsewhere. We hope that the wiki platform will encourage openness and collaboration from individuals around the world. All African and Diaspora materials for children are welcome here.
Descriptions, reviews, critiques, information about authors and illustrators, lesson plans, cultural information -- everything you add will make ADCLP stronger and better. Let us make ADCLP a testimony to the power of this literature for all the children of the world.