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5 Books To Buy To Diversify Your Child's Bookshelf


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How do you talk to your child about diversity and equality?  My children are still young.  Therefore, I've found books to be to a great and helpful conversation starter and teaching tool when it comes to tackling these two subjects.  Here are 5 important diverse reads we recently added to our personal library.

Religious Tolerance



Religion is a topic that has been a bit touchy to discuss since the beginning of time almost.  However, I don't want to raise Moo and JJ thinking that our way is the only right way to worship.  Hats of Faith is a picture book shows how many cultures can worship in similar ways, specifically through wearing hats and head coverings.


Short and easy to read, this beautifully illustrated book is a great way to talk to our children about the importance of religious freedom and giving others the right to worship in their own way.  After reading Hats of Faith, Moo asked if I would be okay if she decided to cover hair as a sign of worship and honor to God.  We also talked about how some of her friends and their moms wear a hijab.  It was something she always noticed, but didn't want to offend them by asking them what is was and why they were wearing it.  I love that reading this book has opened up the door for her to learn something new about her peers.

Racial Equality



Rosa Parks is one of the most talked about Civil Rights activist in American history.  She took a stand against racial inequality and won.  However, who was Rosa Parks before she become Civil Rights icon?  When Rosa Parks Went Fishing gives children (and adults) a look at what Rosa's early years as a child were like.


We get to see how family, education and the mistreatment of Blacks in the South all helped to lead Rosa Parks refusal to move the back of the bus.  Reading this book not only taught my children about equality but it showed them that when it comes to bringing about change, you have to be willing to be the one to take the stand for what's right.

Cultural Appreciation



Rice & Rocks is a book about a boy named Giovanni.  He's invited his friends over for Sunday but gets embarrassed when he finds out that his grandmother is cooking a traditional Jamaican dish instead of something less weird.  Giovanni's friends aren't Jamaican and he's afraid they won't want to eat his grandmother's rice and beans.


His aunt and magical pet parrot Jasper, take Giovanni on journey around the world where he visits different countries.  It's in these countries that he finds out how not weird rice and beans aka rice and rocks are.  What I love about this book is that it not only teaches kids about culture similarities but it reminds them of the importance of embracing and appreciating the uniqueness and differences of their cultures.

Courage



McKenzie's New School Blues is a book that teaches young readers the importance of finding the courage to face their fears.  McKenzie Mason is the new kid in school.  Like most kids, on her first day of school she's worried about fitting in and making new friends.



However, McKenzie soon finds out that those are the least of worries when she lands a lead role in the school play.  You see, McKenzie has stage fright and she has decide whether she's going to sink or swim.  What I love about this first book in the Meet McKenzie Mason series is that it features a female main character of color that other young girls of color will be able to relate to.  Also, this easy to read chapter book is perfect for talking to children about why it's okay to step outside of their comfort zone and how to find the courage to overcome their fears.

Gender Equality




Having a daughter and a son, gender equality is something I've become more passionate about.  In fact, it's something that I'm encouraging my children to be passionate about as well.  When Hillary Rodham Clinton Played Ice Hockey chronicles young Hillary's life and some of the adversities she faced being a woman.



This book is an important read because it shows children that they don't have fit into the molds others have laid out for them because of their gender.  Also, I think this is a great book because it shows children that success isn't as instantaneous as the media can make it seem.  They will have failures like Hillary Clinton did.  However, those failures should serve as encouragement to continue dreaming big and putting in hard work.

I have to admit that while there is still a ways to go, I'm proud of how much the world of children's books has evolved.  I love that there more books featuring main characters of color and that there are more books that are highlighting important issues on level in which our children can understand.  I hope that you will consider adding a few of these to your child's library.

How do you help your children seek out diversity?

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