I love books. They are my love language. I am proud to be raising kids that love books as much as I do. It’s a heady feeling getting to share a childhood favorite book with them and have them love it as much as I did. I use books as a tool for introducing new concepts and things we need to work on like patience, no biting, aim your pee IN the toilet — you get the idea. I’m always searching for books that spark good conversations and showcase parts and people of the world that my kids haven’t yet seen or experienced. Good literature promotes good conversation and it’s been wonderful to have conversations about some weighty topics with my children. You would be surprised at how much children can understand when presented with good stories and straight forward conversation.
I took a college class on how to evaluate multicultural texts to ensure that as a teacher I had a diverse and inclusive class library. Each kid needed to feel validated and SEEN by the literature (and materials/toys/etc., but that’s another post) in the class. Each kid needed to read about different cultures, races, religions, and situations outside their personal bubble to develop a broader understanding of the global community. By having access to texts that didn’t just feature people of color as slaves or Hispanic people as immigrants, the students could begin to see that differences contribute beauty to the world. They promoted interaction with children across ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
That class made a lasting impact on me and when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, it hit me hard that all the books I and friends/family had bought all featured white children or told white versions of fairytales and fables. At first, I didn’t know where to look or where to go to find good quality multicultural texts for small babies (my teaching background was geared toward second grade and up). If you are in the same boat, then you’ll be pleased to know there is a WEALTH of wonderful resources on the internet. There are people who major in sourcing diverse texts. There are foundations, groups, authors, and blogs that work hard to gather lists and teach others how to find multicultural literature that is accurate and helpful. There are subscription boxes, publishing companies, blogs, authors, IG accounts, etc. that all work toward showcasing the beauty of diverse texts.
Here are some resources offering information on building a multicultural library:
Little Justice Leaders is a monthly subscription box to help teach kids (grades K-5) about social justice. They feature activities, crafts, books, toys, and more. Also, follow along on their IG account for even more information.
The Conscious Kid has a monthly book subscription and also a plethora of articles and books lists. They are also a 501(c)3 non-profit and work schools, museums, other organizations to “promote access to children’s books centering on underrepresented and oppressed groups.”
A Kids Book about Racism uses simple language and a refined color palette so as not to distract from the important message. They also offer several other books that address important topics like anxiety, cancer, body image, failure, and depression.
A Mighty Girl is a continual favorite of mine.
Local libraries: I love our local librarians and they have a store of knowledge and expertise when it comes to the wonderful multicultural texts available to check out.