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.
Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer is one of my favorite picture books at the moment. I love that it represents not only an LGBTQ+ family, but families of all kinds. When Stella's class decides to throw a party for Mother's Day, she's unsure what to do -- instead of a mom, she has two dads. After fielding some questions from her classmates (who tucks her in at night? Who makes her lunch? Her dads and the rest of the family, of course!) Stella decides the solution is to bring her whole family, dads and grandparents and aunts and uncles and all!
At the party we see that Stella's classmate's families all look a little different, from large families to small families to single-parent families to adoptive families and more, but they all have one thing in common -- their love for each other. A read-aloud selection for ELPL's June session of our Social Justice Reading Group, this book is a wonderful representation of the different ways families can be built, and the love that they all have in common.