Books help to shape how you see yourself and others in the world. To many of us, reading books about kids and people from diverse backgrounds is important. We both want to create positive self images and to understand and grow positive images of others. Reading about families that look and sound like yours, help you to see yourself in the world. Reading about families that are different then your own, helps you to understand others in your communities!
My friends, in California, who adopted twin three year olds and who have a beautiful 2 year old girl, asked me about the library I am creating for my nephew. They wanted to know mostly about his books that celebrate a diversity of ethnicities and families. They wanted some good titles of books that feature kids of color.
My sister and I have tried to find books that not only celebrate diversity within a family- but that also celebrates diversity of what "makes up" a family!
For my nephew’s library I have collected a few books that help to highlight these things about our family values. I got him, Families by Susan Kuklin. This book is a series of photo essays of kids and their families at home. The kids are from diverse backgrounds and blended families.
Another favorite of my nephew is the book, Black is Brown is Tan, a poetry book by Arnold Adoff. Arnold is poet extraordinaire. He is married to Virginia Hamilton, another famous YA novelist. This poem is a celebration of their family. My nephew can listen to this book 3 times in a row! He has loved it ever since he was little.
We also have, What a Family by Rachel Isadora. My nephew likes to read this book and then we open up our photo albums of our family. We read them side by side and talk about everyone in our family.
More More More Said the Baby, by Vera B Williams, is another favorite of my nephew. He runs the house as if he is little guy and little pumpkin! He references the book often in his play and loves to be chased!
My nephew, ever since he was a baby, has loved loved Shades of Black! It is not a story, rather a list and beautiful set of photos of kids. He loves listening to the lyrical language and reading about kids! This was one of the first books he memorized!
Who’s Toes Are Those and Who’s Knees Are These, were two books he read repeatedly in daycare. We decided he needed them at home too! Brown Angels is one of my favorite poems, (made into a picture book), by Walter Dean Meyers.
Two of my nephew’s favorite picture books, that feature illustrations of kids of color are Looking For a Moose and Subway Anatasia Suen. When our friends had their baby, we got my nephew and their son, I'm Your Peanut Butter Big Brother, by Selina Alko.
Look for books that reflect your family’s heritage, family structure and values! Look for books that introduce your kids to other backgrounds, family structures and values! Open your lives to celebrating families of all kinds and you will open the world to your kids!