Black Wonderings Project

By Morgan Dew-Jones and Nat Johnson-Tyghter

The OISE Library and OISE’s Registrar’s Office and Student Experience are excited to share the Black Wonderings Project display on the ground floor of the Library. The display highlights a selection of children’s literature that came out of a collaboration several years in the making!

Black Wonderings drawing created by Faduma HassanIn 2022 the OISE Library and OISE’s Registrar’s Office and Student Experience, kicked off an exciting new project to grow the library’s collection of children’s literature celebrating Black lives. The aim of the project was twofold: first, to determine the scope of the OISE Library children's literature collection of Black authors, stories, and characters; and second, to make recommendations on resources to bring into the collection, and on future collecting practices.

Deborah Peart of the Registrar’s Office and Student Experience, along with two MT students Faduma Hassan and Lydia Tsegaya, brought the idea of a specialized collection of Black authors, stories, and characters to the OISE library team. OISE Outreach Librarian Desmond Wong and Lenora Huynh and Morgan Dew-Jones, student interns at the OISE Library, recommended a reverse audit to determine the scope of OISE’s children’s literature collection, and to guide future collection practices. Integral to this process was setting clear criteria for resource selection. Deborah, Lydia, and Faduma presented the idea of using themes such as Black joy, excellence, and resilience as the criteria for selection. Based on those criteria, the Library team set out a methodology to compare OISE’s library catalogue to resources on the market that fit the selection criteria. Books were searched using specifications around dates, age ranges, and subject categories, generating a list of nearly 2,000 books. This list was then cross-referenced and compared against OISE’s library catalogue to assess which titles were already part of the collection and which needed to be added.

The resulting Black Wonderings Project has become the ongoing curation of a quality collection of Black focused children’s literature available at the OISE Library. It contains positive, reflective, and inspirational Black childhood experiences, and the assurance of Black authored counter-narrative preservation. These books are accessible to the University of Toronto community, with particular attention paid to OISE teacher candidates and culturally relevant pedagogical practices. We hope the Black Wonderings Project will direct students toward texts that promote positive self-identity and contribute to the cultural awareness of all students.Photograph of the Black Wonderings book display at the OISE Library

The Black Wonderings Project is ongoing! We will continue to build the collection of joyous resources celebrating Black stories and characters in children's literature. The OISE Library is displaying a selection of the titles on the list in a new display case on the ground floor of the library. Keep an eye out for further developments, and please reach out if you have any questions about accessing material relating to Black authors, stories, or characters!  


The Black Wonderings Project was co-created by OISE’s Registrar’s Office & Student Experience and the OISE Library. Thank you to Master of Teaching students Faduma Hassan and Lydia Tsegay, who participated in the 2022 Master of Teaching, Black Future Pathways Work-study Program, for their knowledge and commitment to the foundation, curation, and naming of the Black Wonderings Project. Thank you to Faculty of Information Students Lenora Huynh and Morgan Dew-Jones, interns at the OISE Library, who conducted a collections inventory to support the project. Thank you also to Nat Johnson-Tyghter, Graduate Student Library Assistant at the OISE Library, who prepared and maintains the display. Finally, thank you to Deborah Peart, Assistant Director, EDI Recruitment & Engagement and Desmond Wong, Outreach Librarian at the OISE Library for supporting this project.

The original artwork (above left and in the physical display) was made by Faduma Hassan.