Diversity in Children’s Literature

The past week has been hard on everyone. Doesn’t matter what side you are on, this has been hard. It has been really hard on our children, especially the ones who are starting to really understand the meaning behind things. All of the comparisons between the recent White House riot and those by BLM sicken me. We had a local politician make comments about boycotting “leftist” establishments and it was the straw that broke this camel’s back. When I heard that, the image that honestly cames to mind are the “Juden” signs that Jews in Europe had to put on their stores to mark them as “unclean” and the “whites only” signs that used to exist in the south. Ok, end political rant, back to why this is important.

This is important because kids learn a lot about empathy from what they read. ​Multicultural literature is considered books by and about groups that have been marginalized and disregarded by the dominant European American culture.  While many often think of multicultural literature as titles that focus on characters of different races, the term encompasses all parts of society that struggle to “see themselves” in mainstream children’s literature.

As if you didn’t already know, I am a big believer in the value of diversity in the books that our children read. I think it is incredibly valuable for children to “see themselves” in their reading material and I also think it is vitally important to look in the window at how others live. I mean, I went a little overboard on my multicultural project for one of my classes.

It is nearly impossible to understand how others are living if you have no knowledge of their situation. In a recent interview on the blog of We Need Diverse Books, the following was said (highlight added)

In telling the story of how his father came to America, Doyin Richards tells the story of many immigrants, and opens the experience up to readers of all backgrounds. Here is a moving and empowering story of how many different people, from different places, make us great.

JoAnn Yao, We Need Diverse Books

So I am super excited that we are entering the final weeks before the 2021 celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day! This awesome annual event makes us stop and take note of all of the amazing books that are being published these days featuring multicultural children and storylines. We need to be reading diverse books every day, but I love watching the explosion of reviews leading up to the day, and as a co-host, I make sure to go through as many of the reviews as possible. I’m actually afraid to face this year as we have SO MANY reviewers and SO MANY books.

I can’t wait to share in the giant Link-up on January 29th, but until then, here are some other great resources for books about racism and inclusion:

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