What Are Suggestions For Good Books For Young Children With Illustrations That Reflect Diversity ?
Our recent blog "How Should You Talk To Young Children About Racial Differences ?" garnered a terrific response. While a few readers wondered if pointing out different skin colors might send the wrong message, most welcomed the tips for instilling not just tolerance, but the celebration of our unique differences.
Here is a selection of books for very young children (all but Shades of People are available as board books) that are illustrated with a diverse array of characters. They present a wonderful opportunity for your child to see and enjoy characters represented on the page that may or may not look like them.
In the not very distant past, seeing anyone other than a white character in a children's book would have been unheard of. That changed in 1963 when children's book author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats broke the color barrier by writing A Snowy Day. This charming story is about a young African-American boy named Peter and his adventures on a wintry day in the city. This classic should be a part of every young child's storybook experience.
Say Goodnight Written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
All Fall Down. Written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Clap Hands. Written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Tickle, Tickle. Written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.
My daughter. now 33 years old, received this collection by Helen Oxenbury on her first birthday when it was first published in 1987 and it has remained among my favorites. If you are looking for a gift, they are the perfect first books for a newborn or toddler.
Everywhere Babies. Written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Maria Frazee. The rhyming is delightful, and, your babies will fall in love with these babies.
Say Hello. Written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora. Walking through Carmelita's colorful neighborhood, you are introduced to friends from many different cultures.
Who? A Celebration of Babies Written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg. The repetitive verse and endearing illustrations will entertain adults as well as babies and toddlers.
Itsy Bitsy Spider. Written and illustrated by Annie Kubler. We all know the song; this board book introduces your child to an adorable cast of characters who sing it and “sign”it.
100 Little Ninjas. Written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Nate Wragg. This updated version of the classic counting song is imaginative and the sneaky little tots jumping on the bed, will be irresistible to young children.
Shades of People. Written by Shelley Rotner and illustrated by Sheila M. Kelly. This is a beautiful example of a children's book which utilizes photographs of actual children. Every child's bookshelf should include a book like this, and there are many available.
Fortunately, the times have changed since 1962, and there is now a wide selection of books that represent the multicultural and diverse society that we live in. Be sure to ask your local librarian or at your favorite book store for suggestions of the many options that are available today.
And please be sure to share your favorites with us!!