All of us who love reading books to our children know that falling in love with the characters and the heart of the story of a book are essential. When my sons were toddlers in the ‘80s they loved listening to me read Goodnight Moon to them EVERY single night. The storyline was great, the child and the animal characters were endearing, but I longed to find children’s books with people of color.
It was extremely difficult for me to find books with people of color that didn’t reinforce stereotypes or marginalize or erase people of color from the pages. Today, I can locate quality diverse books that are beautiful, enjoyable and broaden my grandchildren’s understanding of all members of the human race. These books help them see the world through someone else’s eyes.
Reading across a diverse spectrum can be the icing on the cake of a phenomenal reading experience.
Here are SEVEN of my favorite suggestions as to why we should read diversely:
- Diverse books inspire us to be the authors of our own stories.
- Walking in another person’s shoes builds empathy.
- Diversity in books can turn non-readers into readers.
- Reading diverse books helps expand our world view of others who don’t look, speak, eat, worship, share the same backgrounds or think like we do.
- Diverse books allow all children to see themselves as an important part of our global, contemporary society.
- Multicultural books encourage children to learn compassion as they walk in the shoes of the character’s unique experience.
- Our world is diverse and reading allows children to mentally visit different places, experience others viewpoints, meet and interact with humans from many walks of life.
Here are 6 titles you and your children may enjoy:
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
A toddler plays peekaboo with her family and you are invited to join the fun!
Dreaming of America by Eve Bunting
This book tells the true story of Annie Moore, who was the first immigrant to land at Ellis Island.
Saltypie by Tim Tingle
A powerful family saga that describes the hardships a Choctaw grandmother experiences when she leaves Oklahoma and moves to Texas.
One Green Apple by Eve Bunting
Farah is from a new country and doesn’t understand or speak English. During a class field trip she discovers that there are lots of things that are the same as they were in her home country.
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Two girls break the rules as they engage in a friendship at a fence that segregates the white side of town from the black.
Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
Mia’s abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can’t read the words inside.
Blog Post Written by Cathy Bridges
Do you have suggestions for books that feature diverse characters? Leave them in the comment section below.