Saturday, May 3, 2014

#WeNeedDiverseBooks Pt 3 - Kids Books

As I have mentioned, I have two young kids (ages 7 and nearly 5) and my kids are multi-racial.  When it comes to choosing books for them to read, we do look for books that reflect not only them, but the world around them.  And anyone who was tried to do that will know it is very difficult.  So here I want to share the books that we have found and read with our kids as well as spotlight a couple of publishers who I feel do great a job publishing multicultural books.

Henry's Freedom Box - Ellen Levine
Please Baby Please - Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Please Puppy Please - Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Just the Two of Us - Will Smith
The Snowy Day - Ezra Jack Keats
A Letter to Amy - Ezra Jack Keats (and many other books by Keats)
Happy to be Nappy - bell hooks
Baby Dance - Ann Taylor
One Love - Cedella Marley
Corduroy - Don Freeman
Whose Toes Are Those - Jabari Asim
Jamaica Tag-Along - Juanita Havill
We All Went On Safari - Laurie Krebs
Where Are You Bear: A Canadian Alphabet Adventure - Frieda Wishinsky
Kele's Secret - Tololwa M. Mollel
The Farmyard Jamboree - Margaret Read MacDonald
Peekaboo Morning - Rachel Isadora
The Rainbow Magic series by Daisy Meadows has quite a few diverse characters with their own books.
(All titles are linked to the book's Amazon page)
(I really wish that list was much, much longer)

The publisher that I feel is the best at providing multicultural books is Barefoot Books.  Their collection of books spans the globe, travelling to different countries and telling the tales of different cultures.  No matter what your background, you will find something here that your kids can see themselves in.

As if finding diverse books for kids isn't hard enough, we face the extra challenge of our kids going to school in French and thus trying to find diverse French books.  For this challenge, I have to give a huge shout out to Scholastic Canada.  This is where we get 99% of our French books from and most of their books have a diverse set of characters.

And I can't end a post on multicultural kids books without sharing my favourite book growing up.
No word of a lie, Cleveland The Disco King by Vivian Green was my favourite book growing up (wow, did I just date myself there...)


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this list. Between trying to find children's books with strong female characters and a little diversity, it all becomes hard work. My kid is pure white bread, but we do like to show her that there is diversity in the world. Living in Canada we saw diversity everywhere. Her best friend was half Filipino. But now that we live in Scotland things have become rather WASPy.

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    1. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in Toronto and always been surrounded by diversity. And when I look back at the books I loved as a kid, my parents did a great job of representing that diversity on our bookshelves. I should ask them if that was intended or not. Because if it is difficult for me now, I can imagine how difficult it was for them.

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