You may have heard about a movement in the book world called We Need Diverse Books. In 2014, #WeNeedDiverseBooks started as a hashtag on Twitter among authors, bloggers, and others from the youth literature industry in response to a lack of diversity in children's books. From there this conversation grew to a movement and ultimately an organization that champions the importance of diversifying children's literature, both in terms of who books are by and who they are about.
So why are diverse books in children's literature important? From the We Need Diverse Books website:
What benefits are there to reading diverse books?
- They reflect the world and people of the world
- They teach respect for all cultural groups
- They serve as a window and a mirror and as an example of how to interact in the world
- They show that despite differences, all people share common feelings and aspirations
- They can create a wider curiosity for the world
- They prepare children for the real world
- They enrich educational experiences
To that end, I'm excited to highlight some of the exceptional children's books here at ELPL that are by and about diverse populations.
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison is a joyful picture book full of movement, rhythm, rhyme, and excitement! The exuberant young girl the book follows finds rhythm all around her, from the thoughts in her head (think-think) to the infectious dancing that breaks out as more and more people in her neighborhood join her (swing-swing). This book has bright, colorful illustrations that show a community coming together to find the joy in small things, and is a great read-aloud title that will have both kids and adults, snapping, jumping, singing, and dancing along!