I was recently informed that some parents want diverse books removed from our North Scott classrooms – I’m shocked and appalled. I want to speak for the many kids out there who need these books:
We Need Diverse Books
We need diverse books. Period.
Being a child or teenager trying to make sense of the world, their community, and the so-called “societal norms” is nearly impossible with the constant bombardment of conflicting opinions and information.
What if an 8-year-old Asian, Latino, black, or mixed race child was only allowed to read books with white characters? What message does that send to this child . . . is his or her culture, race, or ethnicity not good enough? Reading books with characters of color represents the realistic world we live in that is beautifully patterned with multiple cultures, colors, and ethnicities.
What if your eleven-year-old daughter struggled with her identity? She might be gay – but she’s scared, confused, and has so many questions. These years are crucial and tween/teen suicide stems from insecurity and the lack of feeling accepted. What if your daughter was able to read a book with a gay character and see herself on the page? She would know she’s not alone.
What if you struggled with such anxiety that it’s difficult to go to the grocery store? Reading a book about someone confronting their fears helps to see you’re not alone. It might empower you to make that trip for a gallon of milk.
What if your child was born with a disability and only knew his world from sitting in his wheelchair? Everyday he’s forced to read books about other boys playing soccer and basketball and going on fantasy quests into the forest. How much impact would it have for this little boy to see a character solve a mystery, find treasure, or get the girl – from his wheelchair?
Books allow people of all ages to escape into the pages and walk in someone else’s shoes for an adventure. It’s crucial that the books we read and the lessons we learn reflect the beautiful multi-colored, multi-cultural world we live in. When a child goes to the library, they have the freedom to make their own decision and choose a book on their own. Some kids don’t have the luxury of the library and the school classroom provides their chance to voice their independence.
Diverse books expose them to our big world and help them to develop empathy and understanding to lives different from their own. This helps kids to grow, learn, and it opens their minds to a world outside their tiny bubble. Because: “No kid ever asked for a box of 64 white crayons.” (source unknown)
Why would anyone want to stifle this growth or discourage understanding of anyone different from themselves?
Is elementary too young for these books? Absolutely not. Reading books with characters of different races, disabilities, or sexual orientation makes these issues less taboo and builds empathy and understanding for the child. If a child reads about two dad’s planning their daughter’s birthday party and loving their child on the pages of a book, it will not be a big deal when they meet them at the school carnival.
As educators, parents, grandparents, and humans – we must celebrate diversity.
We can teach our children that skin comes in different colors, but we are equal as humans and deserve to be treated with the same respect.
We need diverse books. Period.
Check out a few!
Lovely by Jess Hong – An ode to being different. As children, didn’t we feel different at one time or another? Maybe we were a nerd, wore glasses, had braces, or maybe we were the only person of color in the room.
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty – A young girl’s experiments lead to big discoveries! (oh yeah, Ada is black – because people of color invent things too.)
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures – The Story of Temple Grandin – She’s different. She thinks in pictures. Nobody understood her – but she grew to do amazing things. She has autism. This can help a child see that their classmate“Timmy” may be different, but he deserves the same respect.
Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian – Two worms fall in love and want to get married, but worms are not male or female –so who wears the wedding dress?? It doesn’t matter – because worm loves worm.
Thanks for visiting Pat’s Chat!