As a multicultural expert and as a mom who is raising global citizens, I know that the lack of diversity in children’s literature can be disheartening. As a study done four years ago found, only 3% of children’s books are about Latinos, even though nearly 25% of children in public school are Latino and about only 10% of all books published have diversity that reflects people of color. That’s why I like sharing with you when I find multicultural children’s books that your kids will love.
Being a mom and an author I’m always searching for new multicultural children’s books titles that I can read with my kids and help me as research to create new stories that tell the stories of American Latino children that are not being told. Besides having my kids see themselves in the multicultural children’s books we read, I also love when I find stories that also teach them the value of diversity and compassion to nurture in them the qualities I want to see in the next generation of Americans.
The following stories received my attention because they touch on important topics in a fun and engaging way that children will love. Now that we are getting ready for the summer break and trips to the library will be part of an almost daily routine, I like you to be prepare to seek for multicultural children’s books that your sons and daughters can enjoy while learning very important lessons that are rooted in diversity.
As parents of the generation that belongs to the demographic shift we have the responsibility to prepare them to be global citizens that forge a better tomorrow, one in which all Americans work together for common goals and enjoy the multicultural makeup of this country. Knowing the importance of reading and literature for the development of our children, it is even more exciting when we can present them with multicultural children’s books that will make them feel their world and their experiences matter.
Enjoy These Multicultural Children’s Books!
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match. This is an old time favorite of mine! I really love that this bilingual book shows how diverse and mixed American Latinos are. This is the kind of story I like to read with my kids to show other children that look different from them and have different experiences and at the same time share similarities that are tied to their Latino culture. This red-headed Peruvian and Scottish Marisol, has freckled skin and is teased for “not matching” discovers that trying to match and conform it isn’t who she really is and embraces her unique qualities. Great message for everyone, but especially for little girls still discovering their identities.
God’s Dream. This little story to promote acceptance of religion based on what God wants for the world. It explains how people can often get angry and hurt each other, but also about forgiveness and the fact that we are all brothers and sisters in this earth. It shows diverse kids holding hands and it explains these concepts in a simple, easy to understand manner.
The Case For Loving. This title is a must have for any American household. This book tells the true story of the brave Mildred and Richard Loving who defy convention and fought for their right to love and to marry one another in the 1950s. Although this might seem far in history for little ones, raising global citizens means teaching them about the past to avoid the same mistakes in the future. That’s the beauty of reading multicultural children’s books so they can get a real view of the world. Also, it helps talk about marriage equality in general as a right every citizen should have.
Whoever You Are. Celebrating the world’s diverse cultures, this book shows beautiful images of children from all over the planet and talks about we are all the same inside. It touches on the similarities of the human spirit and feelings no matter where we live, how we look like or who we are. It explains how there are kids crying, playing eating, learning and laughing everywhere. It reinforces how our joy is the same everywhere and celebrates the diversity of all children. Sweet and beautifully illustrated.
Separate Is Never Equal. This is a very important book for American Latino children who usually don’t see the history of their ancestors reflected in the history books taught in schools. The journey of Mexican and Puerto Rican Sylvia Mendez and her family who fought for her right to attend the school of choice after being denied because it was a “Whites only” school. This happened 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education and was definitely a precedent in the road to end segregation in American schools.
The Colors of US. The important conversation about skin color and all the different shades that make all of us, humans, are seeing through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl that rediscovers the world around her by looking, and celebrating, the differences and similarities that connect people. A great book to talk about race, melanin and how beautiful is to have all the different shades. It is a topic all parents could address with their kids to create a world in which skin color is not the subject of negativity but of acceptance and celebration.
The Name Jar. Portraying a Korean immigrant girl who is afraid her name is going to be the subject of mockery, this story shows the importance of being proud of who you are. In an intriguing and engaging way, the girl ask her classmates to pick out a name for her instead of telling them her real name. While she tries to become the girl with one of the names in the jar, through friendship, she is able to embrace her own identity and teaches all her new friends how to pronounce it. Sweet and ideal for kids who struggle with having a name that is difficult to pronounce.
Let's embrace diversity and create social change! © Dania Santana ~ Embracing Diversity
Multiculturalism, Diversity & Inclusion Expert | Author | Speaker