Hello Activist Parents!
For many young kids, story time with their parent or guardian is one of their favorite parts of the day. It is also one way that kids learn about their world such as colors, animals, the alphabet, or numbers. Some books tackle topics relevant to kids – such as sharing, taking turns, or handling disappointment – and presents it in an accessible and fun way. Parents, grandparents, and other guardians have an opportunity to help young kids explore social diversity through books simply by being intentional about choosing books with diverse characters and diverse families.
I take my kids to a few storytimes around town. Unless it’s a Spanish storytime, the books featured generally have predictably white male characters. That this is so normal that nobody apparently notices, is just one way that communities demonstrate their lack of value for people of color. Additionally kids learn stereotypes and myths about people of color on tv, in music, on the playground, by overhearing adults, in their school books.
Parents, grandparents, anyone who gives a damn can counter these messages by bringing positive images of people of color into kids environments. Books are just one small way to do this.
It is very important to include books with everyday scenarios – whether funny, adventurous, or serious – that have people of color characters rather than JUST ones that specifically talk and teach about race. This allows for kids to relate in everyday ways and emphasizes what kids have in common.
I wouldn’t leave you empty handed. The next time you go to the library, keep these links handy!
We Read Too is a free app that works as a “book directory with people of color main characters written by authors of color”.
- Nina, author and blogger, provides a list of 11 children’s books with people of color (and where race isn’t the main point)
- Natalie Duas Lorenzi compiles 11 children’s books with people of color (and where race isn’t the main point)
- Erica shares10 Culturally Diverse poetry books, and 21 Picture Books with Diverse Characters.