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Missing Adventures: Diversity and Children's Literature - Brynn Welch - TEDxEHC

We've always had plenty of mirrors. It is not just children from diverse families who benefit from diversifying our libraries.

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All of our children benefit. Literature should not only provide a mirror of our own experiences, but also a window into others' lives.

We can begin to teach appreciation for differences to young children by reading books about diverse people and cultures. Libraries and educators need to ensure that every family in their area knows the value of shared reading. They need to make sure literacy is an activity that embraces every language and culture, and does not just promote one. There should be no obstacles to shared reading for any family.

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That is why we need more diverse literature in our public and school libraries. Amanda Peet is one actress turned author that is part of the needed change-not just for her children, but for all children. US Edition U. News U. HuffPost Personal Video Horoscopes.

Newsletters Coupons. Terms Privacy Policy. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. We really do need diverse books for reasons that far extend literacy.


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But it's not as easy for some mothers to read to their children as it is for most of us. Not all families have access to books in their language. Not all children have mirrors, books that reflect themselves and their families. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Knowledge is Power. Get some. Grow wise. Make history. Even though this is a parody first, it works surprisingly well as a picture book for children. Who Are You? It introduces gender as being experienced through the gendering of our bodies, our activities, and our identities.

My favorite part is the wheel included, where you can mix-and-match different gender expressions, bodies, and identities. This delivers just what the title promises. Errol notices that Teddy, his best friend, seems to sad. Tilly is afraid, though, that she will lose her friends if she tells them. Errol assures her that she is still his best friend, and he just wants her to be happy.

This is a cute, gentle introduction to people transitioning. Her family, recognizing this struggle, all come together to prepare a gift to show Peyton that they accept her and teach her about what being two-spirit means. This is a book I think every elementary school library should have. She explains what it is and its cultural significance, and when he asks for one of his own, she happily gives him one in his own color—yellow.


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He is allowed to express himself and his difference through the bindi, while participating in his culture and history. Like many of the books on this list, it represents diversity on multiple axes, so this could just as easily be read to learn about cultural diversity. When a dragon attacks his kingdom and he is fighting to defend it, he is rescued by a knight in shining armor, and they instantly fall in love. They marry and live happily ever after.

This is a charming, Disney-esque fairy tale story that should help combat the heteronormativity of the typical book in the genre. Morris loves make-believe and dress up, and his favorite thing to dress up in is his tangerine dress, in which he has many adventures. This is a story about a kid who is a shapeshifter.

Born when both the sun and moon were in the sky, they delight in being a little bit of everything. They are a shapeshifter, growing wings or fins or horns or all at once. When the kid goes to school and gets teased, they stop shapeshifting, only to find that their classmates want them to be either a boy or a girl. Going back to school as their glittery, shape-shifting, nonbinary self, they manage to find some commonalities after all, and start to teach the other kids how to develop their own wings, fins, and horns.

Children’s Literature and Culture (CHLC)

A mix of nonbinary representation and metaphor of imagination and difference in general, this works on both levels. It is absolutely beautiful, though, and portrays the love story of Ruby and Sapphire, two gems aliens whose love allows them to become someone new together: Garnet. Their relationship is not accepted in their society, but they find a place to be themselves, one that celebrates their love. Alongside the story are mini versions of Sapphire and Ruby reacting to the events as they unfold, providing commentary and contrast.

The style is reminiscent of a classic Little Golden Book.

Children’s Literature and Culture (CHLC)

The collage style illustrations feature photos of mothers taking care of their children, whether by feeding them, protesting for their rights, or making money by cleaning houses. On Our Street acts as a gentle introduction to kids asking about poverty and homelessness. That said, it does mention mental illness and refugee status. For kids first noticing homelessness and poverty in the world around them, this is a good first step in introducing them to the topic.

They can still be friends, even if they are different. This achieves the same ends as the kind of book it parodies, but by centering autistic kids, it prevents the othering of neurodiverse readers.

Why More Diversity in Children's Literature Is Absolutely Necessary | HuffPost

I made the parameters for this post fairly narrow, and often just picked my favorites that covered the same subject matter. Listen Shop Insiders. Sign up to The Kids Are All Right to receive news and recommendations from the world of kid lit and middle grade books.