Diversity, inclusion, and representation in children's books is not a new topic. Even though this conversation comes up regularly, it's normal to still feel wary or uncomfortable about broaching the topic with children or even with our adult friends and families. It is difficult and painful to consider that we may have internalized racism through our favorite artists and authors. It is my hope though, that the persistence of this topic relays the urgency of addressing racism and issues of white supremacy in America. But don't worry! This is an opportunity to shine a light on some new, exciting, beautiful books for young readers! In a recent Instagram post, the online community Black Librarians discuss how representation matters for children of all races and offers an extensive list of books that celebrate and honor our differences while supporting early reading skills. Hopefully this list introduces you to some new favorites!
Early Readers: Representation Matters
Dr. Seuss Enterprises has recently made the decision to cease the publication of six of the author's books in an effort to better represent all children and families. Although these Dr. Seuss books will be discontinued by the publisher, that does not mean that all remaining copies will disappear. Some parents have made the decision to actively engage their children with problematic texts in an effort to guide them through discussions about racism and identity. In a past blog post, my colleague Katia wrote a personal account of the frank and honest conversations about racism and stereotypes she had with her five-year old daughter while reading Dr. Seuss classics. For more insight into the pervasiveness of racist stereotypes in YA and children's literature, take a look at this review of Was the Cat in the Hat Black? by Philip Nel.