Growing up in the state of New York, the schools I attended were diverse. I had the privilege of learning with students from all around the world. My neighborhood was also a glorious mix of different cultures. I learned from a very young age, despite how different we may look, we are all the same.
Well before having my own child, the stories heard from my white counterparts about the first time their child saw a black person always amazed me, as if it was the funniest story they ever told. As if we are a part of some circus. The more I heard stories like this here in Virginia, it was safe to assume these storytellers did not have their children around anyone but their “own kind” until it was forced upon them. It always amazed me how it never registered to them how tone deaf this was.
It is our obligation
You see, as parents, it is our obligation to teach our children about diversity! No one else’s but ours. Everything starts in the home. We, their parents, will mold their influence and opinions. If you can diversify their reality, you should. Whether it be through travel, culturally diverse children’s books, restaurants, dolls or multicultural fairs, we need to normalize and celebrate our differences.
It is important to us to teach Joakim about diversification from a young age, the same way our parents taught us. It’s just as important for him to see himself when he opens a book because inclusion is important and necessary. Below, I am sharing some of the best culturally diverse children’s books we love.
- Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee. If you have a toddler you will understand this book from front to back because we spend so much time begging them not to do something. 🙂
- Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
- When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner
- We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp
- My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith. We have the Cree and English edition. This can be purchased in English only as well. This book is also one of the sweetest books I have ever read to Joakim!
- One Love by Cedella Marley
- Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke. This is my favorite because it reminds me of Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s house growing up.
- Brown Boy Brown Boy What Can You Be ? by Ameshia Arthur
- Brown Boy Joy by Dr. Thomishia Booker
- Dad Who Will I Be? by G, Todd Taylor- This book was published in 2016 and we have been reading this one to Joakim since he was itty bitty. There are 2 pages which cover social injustices happening in this country, it is incredible the fight remains in 2020.
- Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn The Lola series of children’s books are all in Spanish as well.
- So Much! by Trish Cooke. This is Joakim’s all time favorite book.
- Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Mallard
Children’s Books in Spanish
- Un Dia De Nieve/The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. We have the English and Spanish edition in one. We love this edition because it allows us to practice our Spanish.
- Abuela by Arthur Dorros. For this one, we have the English edition with Spanish phrases. There’s also a glossary for Spanish to English translation. 🙂
- Que Cosas Dice Mi Abuela/Things My Grandmother Says by Ana Galan
- El Dia en Que Descubres Quien Eres/The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. There is an English version as well.
Where to donate children’s book
- Children’s Museum of Richmond
The Children’s Book Bank- because of Covid-19 donations are only on Friday at the loading dock of the downtown location.
- Your neighborhood reading tree
For adult diversity books and businesses to support you can go here! What are some of your families favorite diverse children’s books?
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