As our world becomes increasingly smaller, connected, and diverse, it's important that our childrens' bookshelves reflect the world around them. Research has shown that children who see their own worldview reflected in their books gain self-confidence, and that when they see experiences that differ from their own, they develop curiosity and empathy.
So, is it time to take stock of your bookshelf? We've included a few tips to help you on your journey to #diversifyyourbookshelf -
Remember that diversity doesn't just mean skin colour
Look for books that depict all types of diversity! Think age, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and/ or socio-economic status. You can also look for books that show diversity in family structure e.g., blended families.
By presenting diverse characters and concepts in your children's books, your are setting up your children to be familiar with, and respectful of, all people. Keep in mind you don't need to make this the focus of the book, just include diverse characters in every-day stories!
Actively seek out diverse books!
Unfortunately it can be more difficult to find books with diverse representation of characters, and they aren't likely to fall into your lap. However, many small publishers are now making great strides to include diversity and inclusion in their books, and we can only hope to see more varied representation in the future. Until then, as parents we need to make an active effort to seek these books out.
We've included some of our favourites here, but we'd love to know which books are on your diverse bookshelf!