My name is Mrs. D. and I am an author of children's books. Currently, I’m juggling many projects including several new books. I love to write. I love this beautiful language. I write because I have something to share. I write because maybe someday, someone in this world may need my experience. I write for one simple reason. I love how it makes me feel: free.
Take a look in the mirror at your friends at your neighbors at your community members. Now take a look at the bookshelves in your home. Do the characters and stories in your children’s books represent the amazingly, beautiful diversity in your world?
RAISING GLOBAL CHILDREN:
If you are a follower of The Educators’ Spin On It, then you know one of my parenting goals is to raise globally aware children. Affiliate links to books included in this article.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WANTING AND HAVING A DIVERSE BOOK SHELF
I really struggle with finding high-quality, high-interest diverse books within our families budget. After thinking about this challenge of mine, I realized that I can not be the only one looking for diverse books. I can not be the only one wanting to raise globally aware children accepting of other cultures. I can not be the only one who WANTS my children to read diverse books. So I have decided to make a difference in MY bookshelf and hopefully yours too! After reaching out to LEE & LOW BOOKS, I am going to show you how to build a LOVE diverse BOOKS package for your family every month this school year. Our theme for September will be FAMILY! They will be sending their 3 books picks to me and I’ll be showing you how I make a #LOVEdiverseBOOKS package for 3 different ages. Stay tuned for more information! With a special thanks to Keilin Huang for sharing more about LEE & LOW with us and tips for assessing your own book collection!
LEE & LOW BOOKS
By Keilin Huang LEE & LOW BOOKS has been publishing diverse children’s books for the past 21 years and we’re proud to say that we’ve seen some progress when it comes to diversity in children’s books. From articles in the New York Times to the #weneeddiversebooks campaign that went viral, diversity has become a huge topic of discussion. Attached is a list of 50+ children’s books, all featuring a variety of characters and cultures. While it’s important for kids to learn about important historical events that have impacted today’s societies (the Civil Rights Movement, Japanese internment camps), LEE & LOW strives to publish books that also depict children of all backgrounds doing things any child would do: gardening with their grandparents, hula-hooping in their neighborhood. These “mirror” and “window” books allow children to relate to characters that are similar to themselves, but it also introduces them to new cultures and people that they may not have learned about before. Included in this list are several books from our other imprints, which has expanded our range of diverse books that we are able to provide. TU BOOKS is our young adult imprint that focuses on the science fiction, fantasy, and mystery genres. The imprint addresses the gap in these genres, which oftentimes feature white characters. CHILDREN’S BOOK PRESS, which LEE & LOW acquired in 2012, and SHEN’S BOOKS, acquired last year, has allowed us to expand even further in publishing multicultural books. As one of the first multicultural children’s book publishers, acquiring CHILDREN’S BOOK PRESS has allowed us to increase our number of bilingual books, while SHEN’S BOOKS focuses on introducing readers to the different cultures of Asia. With the population of the United States changing rapidly, it’s all the more important to provide books that children will be able to relate to. The list below provides books with historical significance, as well as stories that children of all ages and backgrounds can relate to.
EIGHT TIPS THAT ARE HELPFUL IN CHOOSING BOOKS TO DIVERSIFY YOUR LIBRARY:
1.Does your book list or collection include books with characters of color? LGBTQ? Differently-abled? 2.Does it include books with a main character of color? LGBTQ? Differently-abled? 3.Does it include books written or illustrated by a person of color? Of different nationalities, religions or sexual preference? 4. Are there any books with a person of color on the cover? Do the characters on the book covers accurately reflect the characters in the book? 5. Think about your student population. Does your list provide a mix of “mirror” books and “window” books for your students—books in which they can see themselves reflected and books in which they can learn about others? 6. Think about the subject matter of your diverse books. Do all your books featuring black characters focus on slavery? Do all your books about Latino characters focus on immigration? Are all your LGBTQ books coming out stories? 7.Do you have any books featuring diverse characters that are not primarily about race or prejudice? Consider your classic books, both fiction and nonfiction. Do any contain hurtful racial or ethnic stereotypes , or images (e.g. Little House on the Prairie or The Indian in the Cupboard)? If so, how will you address those stereotypes with students? Have you included another book that provides a more accurate depiction of the same culture? You can read the full blog post here
For more tips on building a diverse bookshelf click here. Looking for a reading records, game boards, and motivational activities for your home or classroom? I highly recommend this Reading Kit. There is even a section for your kids to read around the world.
Follow along #weneedmorediversebooks and their own hashtag #LOVEdiverseBOOKS