I realize I have failed as a diverse books reviewer. To be sure, I had the best intentions, but then things got away from me. Sure I talk about diversity and how kids want to read about characters who look like them. I talk about it but not enough. Recently, while attending KidLitCon in Sacramento the theme of the conference was Diversity. Right up my alley!
But I realized I am not doing enough.
I realized I can do more.
From now on I will do better.
From now on I will diligently seek out books with diverse characters. I’ve been lax about identifying diverse characters but now I’m on fire! If you want me to review a book, your MAIN character needs to be diverse in some way shape or form. According to the genius of Mitali Perkins, books with diverse characters need to pass a certain waterline to be truly diverse. Read this post to understand.
Not only do kids want to read books about characters who look like themselves, they need to learn about other cultures. Here’s an example: a friend’s child recently started school and the other children wanted to touch that child’s hair. They were curious; they’d never seen hair like that before. They meant no harm, they just wanted to learn about the child’s hair. The problem is two fold:
- A child’s body is her own and no one else has the right to touch it without permission
- The other children had never been exposed to other race or ethnicity so they were intrigued about this new experience
None of this is the child’s fault. Kids will be kids. The parents, however, are at fault for not exposing the child to different race and ethnic experiences. My pumpkin went through a similar experience when she was little. It’s not fun to be identified because you’re different. My point is these situations can be eliminated by exposing your children to different races, ethnicities, and abilities early in their lives; through books. There are many good multiculturally diverse books around.
Find them and share them with your kids.
I promise I’ll help.