Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

Tough Conversations – Resources to Share

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In my personal networks over the past few months, the question, “How do we talk to the kids about this?” has repeatedly surfaced as these continue to be challenging and unjust times. Every time I read or heard this question, I was reminded of the value of being a part of ALSC. Every time I read or heard this question, I was able to share an ALSC booklist, resource, or an article developed by (or which featured) our members.

Below are the resources I’ve shared with friends and family, incase it is also helpful to you in supporting your own families and communities:

  • Tough Topics booklist (grades K-8): Personally, what I appreciate about these lists is that, in addition to the titles, they also include trusted resources for adults to explore.
  • Unity and Justice booklist
  • #LooktoLibraries Resources: In particular, I have shared the Tough Conversations Tip Sheet. (A warm shout out to ALSC member and blogger, Chelsey Roos, for this content!)
  • I love this quote ALSC President, Kirby McCurtis, provided ilovelibraries recently: “’Children and their caregivers can turn to books for solace and support during times of crisis. Through their stories and illustrations, books can help children understand, navigate, and survive these experiences,’ McCurtis explains. ‘A child who might not be ready to talk about a loss or struggle may find an acknowledgment of their sadness when reading about a similar experience in a book.’” I share this article whenever I can to show the value of connecting with a local children’s librarian.
  • Another article I’ve referred to, which advocates for the value books can have in encouraging conversations about race, features ALSC Member and ALA 2018 Emerging Leader, Tasha Nins. In an article for Star Tribune, Tasha stated, “’Even if they don’t have the answers, children’s books can start those conversations and can lead to more learning for the adults and the children.’” Yes! Thank you, Tasha!
  • I’ve shared many of the booklists and programs linked in our Supporting Diverse Communities Toolkit as well.

From our Children & Libraries journal, to recorded webinar sessions, I’m sure there are many other pools to dip into for additional resources. Thank you to our members for working together to provide us with these tools, which have been instrumental in facilitating difficult and honest conversations with children.

The brainstorming and timely and impactful work continues. For example, our Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee has opened a survey to seek direction on a project they are planning, focusing on trauma, young children, and library services. Please consider informing this project by completing the 5-minute survey. I look forward to learning what comes of this.

Have you come across anything not already listed in this post to support difficult conversations or to support children and families during this time? Feel free to share in the comments. You may also wish to consider recommending resources to add to our Serving Diverse Communities Toolkit.

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Elizabeth Serrano (a.k.a. Elly) is ALSC’s Membership and Marketing Specialist. She can be reached at Please feel free to reach out to her to say hello, ask your ALSC questions, or to talk about Disney’s latest movie, Soul (she loved it, of course).


  1. Emily Mroczek

    Thanks for this roundup Elly! Well done

    1. Elizabeth Serrano Post author

      Thanks Emily! 🙂

  2. Amy Olson

    I wish they would update the ALSC tough topics titles – it hasn’t been updated since 2019!!

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