25 Books that Showcase Diversity for Babies and Toddlers
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Representation matters. Period.
In recent weeks, my eyes have been opened to the fact that babies and toddlers can identify and develop beliefs about race much sooner than I ever thought. (We're talking two-year-olds that use race to reason about a person's behavior; Five-year-old white children that associate whiteness with favorable bias.)
There is an urgent need, specifically among white families, to discuss racial equality with our kids early and often.
The below excerpt from a 2009 article in Newsweek, citing several studies regarding young children and their attitudes about race, I found particularly poignant:
"For decades, it was assumed that children see race only when society points it out to them. However, child-development researchers have increasingly begun to question that presumption. They argue that children see racial differences as much as they see the difference between pink and blue—but we tell kids that 'pink' means for girls and 'blue' is for boys.* 'White' and 'black' are mysteries we leave them to figure out on their own."
*While I reject the notion that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, I find this analogy gets the point across in a way that is easy to grasp.
So, as parents, where do we begin?
Studies show that babies as young as three months old can recognize different races. One way to help acknowledge and celebrate diversity with your children is to curate a mindful collection of inclusive stories and illustrations for their bookshelves.
As I've been sharing some of our personal book collection on my Instagram Stories, I've received several requests for more suggestions. Below, I've compiled a few of our favorites along with a handful of titles that I am looking forward to adding to our collection in the coming months. Some are appropriate for very young babies, while others are best suited for ages 4+ . (A note: The list below is primarily in support of the current Black Lives Matter movement, although I welcome suggestions for titles that highlight all People of Color.)
For ease of purchase, I've included Amazon affiliate links below. I do earn a very small commission on those -- but, where possible, I highly encourage you to purchase from local bookstores owned by people of color, instead.
What are your favorite recommended reads? Drop them in the comments below.
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