The CBC Diversity initiative was founded in 2012, as part of the Children’s Book Council’s commitment to promoting diverse voices in literature for young people. We believe that all children deserve to see their world reflected in the books they read. We recognize that diversity takes on many forms, including differences in race, religion, gender, geography, sexual orientation, class, and ability.
In addition to championing diverse authors and illustrators, CBC Diversity strives to open up the publishing industry to a wider range of employees. We’ve taken an active role in recruiting diverse candidates, participating in school career fairs and partnering with We Need Diverse Books on its summer internship program.
JaNay Brown-Wood, author of Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story, shares her book list “Family and Food: A Multicultural list for Preschool through 3rd Grade” Check out the preview below and the full list & 3 book giveaway on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day website.
1. Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Storyby JaNay Brown-Wood
This is a cozy counting picture book about the relatives visiting Grandma and eating until they are all stuffed. It’s a sweet, rhyming counting book introduces young readers to numbers one through ﬁfteen. [picture book, for ages 2 and up]
2. Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
This story is written in rhyme, showing the preparation of a popular Korean dish and the excitement of a hungry, young child. All the family members come together at the end to eat. The lines are rhythmic and the illustrations are fun. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
3. Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
This book is an oldie but goodie. It follows an African American family as they get ready for a dinner with loved ones. It actually counts to ten twice, and is also written in rhyme. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
Megan Dowd Lambert, author of Real Sisters Pretend, shares her book list “Eight Picture Books with Diverse Family Constellations.” Check out the preview below and the full list on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day website.
1. Fred Stays with Me by Nancy Coffelt, illustrated by Tricia Tusa
A little girl whose parents are divorced splits her time between her mom’s house and her dad’s. Her dog, the eponymous Fred, also moves between homes, which gives her a sense of stability and consistency in her co-parenting, joint-custody family arrangement. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
2. Stella Brings the Family by Miriam Schiffer Baker, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
Stella has two dads and isn’t quite sure what to do for her class’s Mother’s Day celebration. Ultimately, she decides to bring both of her parents, as well as other family members who nurture her, and they are all affirmed and welcomed by everyone at school. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
3. Real Sisters Pretend by Megan Dowd Lambert, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Inspired by two of the author’s daughters, this is a story about adoptive sisters, Mia (who is multiracial) and Tayja (who is Back), who affirm their bonds with one another after a stranger questions whether they are “real sisters” since they don’t look alike. They punctuate their pretend play with conversation about their adoption stories, and it all culminates in a warm family hug with their two moms. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
We Need Diverse Books . . . But Are We Willing to Discuss Them With Our Kids? — A Fuse #8 Production
For my birthday my husband picked me up a copy of the bestselling book NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. To be frank, I hadn’t heard of it. Though its been called “The Freakonomics of child rearing” and lauded by reviewer after reviewer it’s from the world of adult books. I traipse there but rarely. Still, I’m great with child (ten days away from the due date, in fact) and this promised to be a fascinating read. Covering everything from the detrimental effects that come with telling a kid that they’re smart to aggression in the home I settled down and devoured it with pleasure. In doing so, one chapter in particular caught my eye. Chapter Three: “Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race: Does teaching children about race and skin color make them better of or worse?”
Culling several studies together, the book makes the point that while, “Nonwhite parents are about three times more likely to discuss race than white parents; 75% of the latter never, or almost never, talk about race.” Studies that required that parents do so with their young children saw white parent after white parent balk at the idea. There’s this notion out there that children are little innocents and that pointing out race will somehow taint their race blind worldview. Turns out, nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone who has ever had a kid will know that they like to categorize themselves and their friends into groups. Race is the easiest way to do so, so from a very early age the children will be prone to “in-group favoritism”.
–Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library’s Youth Materials Collections Specialist
Read the rest of this interesting article here and check out the picture book list Elizabeth put together at the end highlighting useful books for caregivers to use to discuss race, religion, and alternative lifestyles with young children.