Diversity for Little Readers
For 30+ years, my mother was a reading teacher for elementary school children. Basically, she’s an expert in knowing what literary content is age appropriate at each reading level.
She has always impressed upon my brother and I that books are a gateway to imagination and knowledge. Her and my dad bought us children’s books about adoption to learn more about where we came from and why we had a different story than other children we knew. Since my sons are mixed-race, it makes sense that my mom would ensure that her two grandsons received books with multicultural characters. It is important for young children to not only be able to identify with main characters who look like them, but also to be exposed to an array of different stories. This is how children learn about the world and develop an understanding of other types of people. According to an NPR article, 22% of children’s books are about people of color, compared to 9% about 20 years ago. We’re steadily improving diversity in our children’s literature. Global Babies is a series of books from the Global Fund for Children, which include board books that feature children and families in cultural context from all over the world. The words are simple but the message is huge: no matter where they are from, or what they look like, all babies are nurtured with love. I honestly think everyone should have a Global Baby book on their children’s bookshelf!
My brother took it a step further and ordered personalized books for both Chase and Carter. The Mumablue publishing company use a photograph that you submit of a loved one to create illustrated characters in their adventure books. It is so awesome that this technology and service is available!! Thanks Michael!
I’m very grateful that my family made it a point to integrate these books in my sons’ library. Books like this can really resonate in a child’s mind. They’re never too young to identify with a fictional character. They’re never too young to understand the world a little better from what they see in a book. They’re never too young to learn about diversity, inclusion, and equality.
Here is another list of books with main characters of color
Do you know of any other great books that include diverse characters and stories? Please share!