Diverse Books for Children: Building A More Inclusive Generation
As parents, we choose books based on how they would benefit our children-whether it’s a storybook for bedtime or an educational book that gives them more knowledge. Always, we choose books for our children with their benefit in mind. And, storybooks that pique the children’s interests are always a must-have for every parent. We grew up in a society where animals and fictional characters are featured as heroes of the story, and books like these have become the norm and standard of bedtime storytelling over the years!
If books with talking animals and fictional characters that do extraordinary things are considered “normal”, why don’t we see diverse children’s books the same way? Why are diverse books with people of colour as their main characters not as proliferate as books with animals on them?
A study published in Children’s Books by and About People of Color in 2017 stated that in 2016, only 8.4% of the books published featured black people. Although many studies are already conducted that emphasise the benefits of reading diverse books, especially to children of colour, only a few publishers have given attention to this niche.
In the study “Why Children Need Diverse Literature” in 2020, Katherine Castro stated that: “diverse literature is a key tool to help to build a child’s social and emotional development by encouraging empathy, positive self-esteem, and building healthy relationships”. Diverse children’s books are the key to building a more inclusive community for the next generation. When children are encouraged to read diverse children’s books while they are still young, they become more socially aware and grow up to be responsible and inclusive adults!
Diverse Books for Children: Small Shift, Big Impact
Parents are urged to read more diverse children’s books to their kids. The simple shift from a regular storybook to one with diverse characters as the hero helps the child understand the need for a more inclusive society for every colour, ethnicity, and race. Making this a norm for children while they are young moulds them to become inclusive adults that respect and understand the differences of people from different racial backgrounds.
Unfortunately, diverse children’s books are only a few on the bookshelves today. A better alternative is to get a personalised storybook for the child, where you can customise the character’s appearance with over 400 variations available. Through this, you are sure that the child is well-represented in the books that they are reading.
Every parent is encouraged to read diverse books to the children, not just people of colour. The character in the personalised book may resemble a cousin, friend, or classmate of the child. As young as they are, they are already moulded to be responsible and sensitive to the need for a more inclusive community.
Books with talking animals and fictional characters have become the norm for bedtime storytelling. Stop and wonder: if books with animals are normal and popular in children’s storybooks, why are diverse children’s books not as proliferating? Parents are now urged to read more diverse children’s books to the kids in an effort to build a more inclusive generation that’s understanding and accepting of every race, colour, and ethnic background!