Watch our expert discussion, featuring academic Dr Helen Adam, and author Melissa Keil, as they discuss the importance of representation and diversity in children’s literature and practical ways to ensure all children are heard and seen through stories. 

On Tuesday 19 October at 7pm (AEST), Story Box Library hosted this informative and practical speaker series event for all educators, librarians and families looking to learn more about the importance of diversity in children’s literature, with practical tips and information to help assess school, home, or organisation libraries for authentic diverse representation.

Watch Professional Development events on our Resources page, only available to active subscribers.

Whose story gets to be shared? Creating a diverse library

When: 7pm (AEST) Tuesday 19 October

Duration: 1.5 hours, including 30-minute Q&A

This event will focus primarily on cultural and linguistic diversity in children’s stories, as Dr Helen Adam’s particular area of interest, but the knowledge gained from her research can be applied to other areas of diversity such as LGBTQIA representation, neurodiversity, gender diversity, disability representation. 

One of Story Box Library’s main priorities has always been to champion stories and storytellers who represent the voices and experiences of people who have long been missing from children’s literature. In 2020 we challenged ourselves to investigate our own role in representation. Read more about the research by Dr Helen Adam, which informed a cultural diversity audit undertaken by Story Box Library in 2020.

About the experts

Dr Helen Adam

Helen Adam is a Senior Lecturer and researcher at Edith Cowan University in Perth. She has lectured and written on the subject of children’s literature for the past 13 years. Helen’s writing and research addresses the role and importance of quality literature in the social and emotional well-being of the child. Helen’s lecturing and writing highlight the potential and importance of quality literature in developing critical and creative thinking, ethical understandings, personal and social capabilities and intercultural understandings – all of which are highlighted in the Australian Curriculum and The Early Years Learning Framework and are important to all children. She has recently completed her Doctor of Philosophy studies on the topic: Investigating the use of children’s literature to support principles of diversity in long day care centres. Helen has previously served as a judge for the Children's Book Council of Australia Eve Pownall Award for Information Texts, and is a reviewing editor for the Australian Journal of Teacher Education.

Melissa Keil

Melissa Keil is a writer and children’s book editor. She is the author of three YA novels: Life in Outer Space, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl and The Secret Science of Magic. Her short story, Sundays, is featured in Begin, End, Begin, the #LoveOzYA anthology. Melissa’s books have been shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award, The CBCA Book of the Year (Older Readers) award, and have been translated into many languages around the world.

Nicole Brownlee

Founder and CEO of Story Box Library, Nicole started her early career as a teacher, majoring in Literature, and while studying, worked in various bookshops becoming an experienced children’s bookseller. Working at Allen & Unwin Publishers in her early twenties, Nicole got to experience the world of publishing first hand. Following her passion and devotion to high-quality Australian children’s literature, Nicole founded Story Box Library through a successful Pozible crowdfunding project, now with over 350 stories and subscribers across the globe.

Amelia Otto

Amelia has a decade of experience in education as both a primary classroom teacher and teacher librarian. She is passionate about children's stories, in particular picture books, and the benefits of using them within the school curriculum to engage and excite students in all areas of their learning. She believes that through stories children can make meaningful connections to others and the world around them.