Books take you on adventures and away from reality. A good book absorbs you so fully, you feel as if you know the characters within the pages. We want all children to experience that love of books and to learn about the world at the same time.
Stack those shelves
A lot of us have responsibility over the reading collections of small people and while we do, it’s a great opportunity to fill them, to the brim, with inclusive and representative children’s books.
Because children’s books tell multiple stories, there are often hints, in the illustrations or the narrative about what family life is like for other people, Children learn about the traditions and lifestyles of others and what ‘normal’ looks like for some families. Accepting there is no one way of being normal is a superpower all children could do with.
Speak up or move over
By reading a diverse selection of books your child will start to gain an understanding of whether they need to take up more space and speak up, or make room for others whose voices aren’t heard as clearly. The more they read, the more they will be empowered to do what they need to.
It’s good for all children to see themselves in stories. Being seen is part of being validated and again, part of understanding how normal it is for everyone to be different.
Diversity in families
Stories will often show relationships. With a diverse and inclusive bookshelf, children will see that a man can be in a relationship with another man, that some mums have jobs, that some families only have one parent. That lesbian couples can have children. They learn that the world is full of families and they are all different.
Realistic representations of people with disabilities will teach children not to have limited expectations of others. Stories where characters aren’t defined by their disabilities are just more reflective of how life is and we want that for our children.
How do you do it?
Obviously buy book boxes from us which will give you a steady supply of books from all over the world, from a diverse range of voices, from a varied cast of characters.
Choose books written by authors who are from a different country to you, with characters who practice different traditions. In the narration of stories and in illustrations children can learn so much about families, absorbed incidentally to the storyline.
Choose books set in different countries, that perhaps reveal important details about culture and language.
Choose books that feature characters with disabilities, working women, children who live in high rises.
In short, don’t keep buying books that feature middle class white boys going on adventures, written by celebrities. It will make them believe the world is very small.