Talking to Our Kids About Diversity
Due to recent events, I am not even sure how to write an intro to this post without coming off sounding superior, color-blind, or tone-deaf…When I write in this space I am writing about me (and by extension my family) and my perspective, period. Yes, I dispense advice sometimes because I have been a parent for 24 years, I have 14 kids, I have things from my own life and experience to share. Let’s be clear, I don’t have this parenting thing nailed. I fail on a regular basis.
I Don’t Have the Answers, But I Do Have Black Sons
For those of you who are new here...I have 14 children. I have one African daughter, two African sons, one African-American son, one biracial daughter, and nine white children. From the time our first child was born, I always sought out diversity in books and toys. One of the first dolls she ever owned was brown. Her first Bible depicted Jesus and the other Bible Characters as black. If you read my book reviews here, diversity is something I am always on the lookout for and comment on in my reviews.
I Want My Children to Fall in Love With the Diversity in the World
I have always made an effort to show my children there is a whole wide world out there, that is very different than our life in this little corner of the Pacific Northwest. We have done this through books, movies, toys, friends, and world travel. I know racism and white privilege exist (I am raising black children). I won’t add to that conversation here, but I do want to share with you some great books that show diverse characters so you can grab a few for your children as well.
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When a prince sets out to find a princess to marry, he soon discovers this is not a simple task. There is no shortage of so-called princesses, but how can he tell whether or not they are what they claim to be?
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
What happens when differently-abled people become super-abled? Andy Zach tells that story in this short (100 page) novel.
Who better than Sesame Street to teach us that we may all look different on the outside—but it’s important to remember that deep down, we are all very much alike. We all have the same needs, desires, and feelings.
In Japan, Kei plays Freeze Tag, while in Uganda, Daphine likes to jump rope. While the way they play may differ, the shared rhythm of their days—and this one world we all share—unites them.
The Paper Kingdom tells a pleasant story about immigrant parents who are working hard to make a better life for their son. This book isn’t too sappy or sentimental. The author writes this book from her own memories of having to go to work with her immigrant parents occasionally.
A Life Like Mine profiles children from all over the globe leading their lives in different and fascinating ways.
Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.
In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.
Percy loved the pictures of all the babies in the book. I loved the diversity of the babies. If you read my book reviews, this is always something I look for in picture books. I believe all children need to be represented.
Ada Twist’s head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie—stars of their own New York Times bestselling picture books Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer—Ada has always been endlessly curious. Even when her fact-finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments don’t go as planned, Ada learns the value of thinking her way through problems and continuing to stay curious.
Dig in to this fun and informational book that explores foods from 13 countries around the world. Meet characters from countries including Sweden, Peru, Pakistan, Nigeria, and more as they enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be inspired to try something new and learn about other cultures. Let’s eat!
From the Creators of Hair Like Mine, Skin Like Mine is a fun, easy-to- read for beginners as well as advanced readers. An entertaining yet creative way to address and celebrate diversity among young children. Guaranteed to make you smile and a bit hungry.
Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
This simple yet powerful picture book–from a New York Times bestselling husband-and-wife team–tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events, I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. By choosing only pictures to tell their story, the creators underscore the idea that someone can be an ally without having to say a word.
I Am Not a Fox
This charming book tells the story of Luca the fox, who doesn’t feel like he fits in anywhere. Not with the dogs, not with the foxes, not with anyone. The truth is, everyone has time when they feel like they just don’t fit in. This book shows kids how to cope with the feelings of being left out or not part of the group.
Yes, this really is a kids book about racism. Inside, you’ll find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens.
Emma and Josh heard that something happened in their town. A Black man was shot by the police.
“Why did the police shoot that man?”
“Can police go to jail?”
Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.
With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?Children Just Like Me: A New Celebration of Children Around the World
Children Just Like Me is a comprehensive view of international cultures, exploring diverse backgrounds from Argentina to New Zealand to China to Israel. With this brand new edition, children will learn about their peers around the world through engaging photographs and understandable text laid out in DK’s distinctive style.
Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.