Finding Books for Kids that Embrace Diversity
As a young child I absolutely loved reading books! I want my daughter to share in that love. Right now it seems like we might be on the right path because her favorite word is “book”. Once she gets started, we end up reading the same book over and over again. Although I can now recite most of her books verbatim, I am loving that she enjoys being read to. It’s obviously time to expand her library and that is what I’m working on now. As a woman of color, I would like to expose my daughter to books with people that look like her. It appears that there is not a huge selection of books that fit that criteria. I must admit I’m very disappointed in the lack of books that contain minority characters.
It is very important that children are exposed to a diverse range of characters as they grow and learn.
Children who are able to see representation of themselves in their learning environment, are more confident, have a better self-esteem, and can be more eager to learn. Children need to know that no matter their sex, race, or religion they can achieve whatever they dream
With advances in technology, the ability to learn is literally at our fingertips.
There is music, videos, and games all around us, encouraging us to learn. With all of these learning opportunities, people of color and girls are often not represented. If you are a parent to a minority child, you have probably encountered the same problem. It can be very frustrating!
I have created a list of books that feature minority and/or female characters. They also encourage children to embrace their differences and to be great. Each book listed below includes a brief summary and why it can be appealing to children. Let’s get our children reading!
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Books to be enjoyed by Infant and Toddlers
Baby Dance features a poem being recited to a little girl by her father. The father and daughter dance as the poem is being recited.
What makes this book great: This book is very simple to read, but allows you to engage with your child in a fun way. It also features a father and daughter being playful and dancing with each other. Children of all colors are able to see a minority family interacting in a healthy and normal way.
123 Book teaches the numbers 1-10 while featuring African American Children.
What makes this book great: Many of the educational books that are produced for children, do not feature any children of color. It is important that little ones are able to read stories that feature not only non-black children, but also children who look like them.
What makes this book great: Counting with “ Contando Con Frida features the story of a Latina, while also introducing children to the Spanish language. It is a great way to introduce young children to the Mexican culture.
What makes this book great: It is a quick and simple read, but it shows a nuclear family of color in a positive and loving light (it is also currently my daughter’s favorite book).
Books to be enjoyed by School Aged Children:
This book features 40 African American Women who accomplished extraordinary things. Some of the women like, Sojourner Truth, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks, and Maya Angelou are more recognizable. Others like, Gwendolyn Brooks, Bessie Coleman, and Augusta Savage are not.
What makes this book great: Little Leaders Bold Women in Black History does a great job of highlighting the achievements of women of color across various spectrums. Girls and women of all ages can learn about real women who were able to achieve, despite challenges they faced. This book is a must have in your library!
The follow up to Little Leaders Bold Women in Black History, this book features 40 women creators from around the world. Through hard work and dedication, the women featured, have accomplished amazing things in their fields of study.
What makes this book great: Little Dreamers Visionary Women Around the World features women of all backgrounds. It again shows young girls that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.
Mary Had a Little Glam is about Mary, a little girl, who is full of personality. Mary starts school and realizes that other children in her class are not as eccentric as she is. Mary embraces her differences and encourages others in her school to do the same.
What makes this book great: Mary is confident in who she is and is not intimidated by being different. She is full of glamour, but is also not afraid to encourage others to be great. Mary encourages others to be comfortable in your skin and not conform to what others may think is normal.
This is a coloring book that features 22 pages that promote confidence, independence, and positive self-esteem for girls.
What makes this book great: This coloring book can be used for girls of all ages. Coloring itself, is a good form of self-care. When you utilize coloring with positive statements that promote positive self-esteem, it takes self-care to the next level!
What make this book great: You’re Perfect the Way You Are encourages young girls to embrace their differences and love their bodies just as they are. It is a great way to encourage positive self-image.
What makes this book great: Through Zoe, this book encourages girls to not give up and work hard to achieve their dreams. The main character is also a Latina girl.
What makes this book great: I’m a Pretty Little Black Girl celebrates the differences between girls of color and encourages them to love themselves. The issue of colorism within the black community is prevalent and this translates to black children. This book encourages little girls of color to love their differences and to love each other.
Summary: Sassy is a young dancer who fears that she will not be able to accomplish her goals because of her big feet and long legs. This book follows Sassy’s journey as she works to try to earn a spot in a summer dance program.
What makes this book great: Dancing in the Wings highlights body features that many girls are ashamed of. The book does a great job of encouraging girls to embrace their beauty and not allow the thoughts of others prevent them from achieving their goals.
What makes this book great: Until recently, Katherine Johnson, was a little known heroine. She had to overcome racial discrimination as well as gender discrimination in a male dominated field. This book shows little girls that the sky is the limit to what they can achieve.
The main character of this book is a young girl who walks through her neighborhood finding the rhythm with all of her senses. She engages with her friends and her environment to find the beat and rhythm.
What makes this book great: I Got Rhythm encourages children to enjoy the world around them. The little girl in the book is finding joy by being in tuned to natural sounds that are occurring around her. This book receives bonus points because she is a girl of color rocking Afro Puffs!
What makes this book great: The story an example of minority characters being portrayed as kings and queens.
Reading is a fundamental part of learning and development for children. Introducing reading early to your children is important to their future academic growth. Including books that include diverse characters and that promote positive messages helps to engage children more in reading and learning. It also helps with positive self-esteem and long term goals. The list included with this post is a small sample of the diverse children’s books that are available.
If you would like to encourage your children to read, consider a monthly book subscription. With Lillypost. you can receive 3-4 age appropriate books per month for your 7 week old through 7 year-old child. Join Lillypost today!
What’s your favorite book to read to your child? Do you own any from the list? Share with us below!
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