It is indeed an official national holiday today! You can join the discussion about the importance of diversity in children’s books by using the hashtag #ReadYourWorld all day long on social media. Today I’ll be suggesting some links to helpful resources as well as a selection of books from various regions as you read around the world.
To get started, we have to acknowledge that there is a serious lack of diversity in our children’s books. What does it mean when kids are not reading about positive role models from cultures other than their own? What does it mean when children of color do not see themselves represented in the books they read?
(Graphic is from Lee and Low Books – you can see their original post here.)
I am passionate about encouraging my daughters to recognize the good gifts that everyone has to contribute to our world. As she so often does, Maya Angelou says it best:
Find out more about this new holiday: Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Huffington Post Article: “Why Diversity in Children’s Books Really Matters”
New York Times Opinion Piece: “Where are the People of Color in Children’s Books?”
I love this blog, and the author’s attempt to find children’s books from every country of the world. Be sure to contribute your own suggestions: Kid World Citizen: Read around the World
Cross-Cultural Book Recommendations (just a few of our many favorites!)
I should also mention that while the books below represent various cultures around the world, MANY Barefoot Books (like this one and this one) intentionally feature children of different colors and families and abilities. I probably don’t have to tell you that multicultural diversity is not just about knowing our world; it’s about knowing your neighborhood. Enjoy your multicultural reading, friends!!
North America: Off We Go to Mexico!
Central America: The Wheels on the Bus (in Guatemala!)
South America: Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail: A Story from Chile
Europe: Tales from Old Ireland
Middle East: The Girl with a Brave Heart
West Africa: Catch That Goat! A Market Day in Nigeria
East Africa: Mama Panya’s Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya
Southern Africa: The Tortoise’s Gift: A Story from Zambia
South Asia: Elephant Dance: A Journey to India
Southeast Asia: Dara’s Clever Trap: A Story from Cambodia
East Asia: Never Trust a Tiger: A Story from Korea
If you’re interested in purchasing any of these through Barefoot with Daphne, we just launched our big winter sale a few days ago PLUS you can get 1 free book for every 3 you purchase with the offer code NEWYEAR.
Be sure to comment with any of your family’s favorite multicultural reads. We always love recommendations from others : )