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 (Source here)
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.
One Family by George Shannon is a beautiful counting book that asks the question: how many things can "one" be? One can be a box of many cookies, a set of multicolored crayons, and even the whole world. The straightforward text (which counts from one up to ten) belies a deeper concept and emotional resonance, especially in the representation of the interracial family who is doing the counting. The beautiful art and well-developed concept makes this book delight all on its own, but the message that runs through it -- "One is one and everyone / One earth. One world / One family." -- is a touching and important reminder of community, diversity, and inclusiveness.