As a parent we play the most critical role in shaping our babies to be caring, understanding, loving & empathetic to all human beings. I believe it is imperative that I introduce my son to the world outside of his tiny bubble- to different cultures, races, sexes, religions, abilities, family structures, financial situations, nationalities, languages & role models. As a former Pre-K teacher I have always found that literature provides unique access to these types of characters, stories, & situations & can be a wonderful spring board for conversations that can develop awareness & understanding of others. At the end of the day, if my son can demonstrate empathy & act with love to all humans I will feel most successful as a mother.
Here are some of our cherished books that are helping me as a parent in this current reality along with an extensive list of books I plan to add to our library over time. If you have others that you love please share in the comments, I would love to know.
THE PEACE BOOK You'll see the author Todd Parr come up a lot on this list, just a heads up. This book is simple & sweet as it outlines the different ways peace can exist.
LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET CJ gains valuable perspective about his community & the people who make it beautiful from his grandmother.
THE CASE FOR LOVING: THE FIGHT FOR INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE Learn about the brave family who played a significant role in the supreme court decision regarding interracial marriage in 1967.
THE NAME JAR This book hits on a lot of subjects, specifically encouraging children to embrace diversity & take pride in their own unique identity through the focus of Korean culture.
OF THEE I SING: A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTERS A book that plays tribute to thirteen remarkable Americans from history reminding us that our country has been shaped & molded by a diversity of leaders.
THOSE SHOES A valuable lesson on family, friendship, giving & the decisions of want versus need, particularly through the lens of a low-income family.
BE WHO YOU ARE To accept others for who they are we must first accept ourselves & find joy in being who we are. Todd Parr (again) reminds us of this important message.
WE CAME TO AMERICA This story highlights the multicultural history of the people of America. It teaches that diversity is what makes our country rich, beautiful & great in many ways.
ONE LOVE Based on the song by Bob Marley, this board book captures the power of change by collectively coming together to make our communities strong. You can't help but sing along too!
IT'S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT Learning that "different" is what makes life rich & interesting is an important message for our children to understand & promote. Thanks again, Todd Parr!
PANCHO RABBIT AND THE COYOTE: A MIGRANT'S TALE With the use of desert animals Duncan Tonatiuh helps build perspective on why migrants choose to relocate in order to make life better for themselves & their families. The author even includes factual talking points at the end of the text to discuss with your children.
A IS FOR ACTIVIST The first book we bought specifically for Buddy, walk A through Z on why activism is critical to establishing human (& animal) rights for all.
ROLLING ALONG: THE STORY OF TAYLOR AND HIS WHEELCHAIR This book is a moving story that sheds light on children with different abilities. Taylor’s story shows what makes him different as a child in a wheelchair but also what makes him similar in many ways to able-bodied children.
ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST Admittedly it can be easy to lean heavily on books that feature male characters into our home for our son, but it's just as essential (I'd actually argue even more essential) that my son sees strong female characters in the same amount of books or more. This is something I am working on, but this series has quite a few that feature significant women from history.
HOW FULL IS YOUR BUCKET Simple enough, a lesson on the actions & choices we can make daily to fill the buckets of those around us.
THUNDER BOY JR. This book focuses on identity development with Native American characters. Hooray for a Sherman Alexi children's book!
THE FAMILY BOOK Families of all shapes, sizes & make-ups are celebrated here with the loving sentiment that every family is special in its own way. Todd Parr, he gets it.
AND TANGO MAKES THREE A true story about a pair of male penguins at the Central Park Zoo creating a non-traditional family and raising a baby penguin. Absolutely heartfelt & adorable.
SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL The story of Sylvia Mendez & her family's fight to end school segregation in California through the power of community.
These last three are actually texts I found to be incredible tools as an educator & teacher educator. While they are presented in the context of "education" I do believe they offer valuable resources, approaches, & strategies for parents to approach "anti-bias" education within the home.
BLACK ANTS AND BUDDHISTS Like any resource, you will not find the answers to hard questions & a better world here, but you will find starting points for conversations that approach challenging topics.
MULTICULTURAL TEACHING IN THE EARLY CHILDHOOD CLASSROOM This is very powerful & enlightening. I love the various scenarios to learn from & there are two pages dedicated to children's books like the list I have here (some of which I have included).
ANTI-BIAS EDUCATION FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND OURSELVES This book is amazing & each topic on anti-bias education is broken down into individual chapters. What I also love about this book (much like the other two mentioned above) is that it calls out the need for anti-bias education for OURSELVES. How can we teach our children anti-bias beliefs & actions if we haven't worked through our own biases? I plan to re-read this book over the next few months as our conversations with Buddy become deeper & more robust on these subjects.
Other books on my wish list:
SHE PERSISTED: 13 AMERICAN WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD
I DISSENT: RUTH BADER GINSBURG MAKES HER MARK
CHOCOLATE MILK, POR FAVOR: CELEBRATING DIVERSITY WITH EMPATHY
All books in the ORDINARY PEOPLE CHANGE THE WORLD series
I, TOO, AM AMERICA
MALALA'S MAGIC PENCIL
THE SKIN YOU LIVE IN
All books in the LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG DREAMS series
THE YOUNGEST MARCHER
FLY AWAY HOME
ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER
EMMANUEL'S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSY YEBOAH
THE POTATO CHIP CHAMP: DISCOVERING WHY KINDNESS COUNTS
MY BROTHER CHARLIE
THE EARTH BOOK
MY NAME IS YOON
A FRIEND LIKE SIMON
10 THINGS I CAN DO TO HELP MY WORLD
KNOCK KNOCK: MY DAD'S DREAM FOR ME
WAITING FOR THE BIBLIOBURRO
UNCLE WILLIE AND THE SOUP KITCHEN
TOO MANY TAMALES
MY PRINCESS BOY
THE UPSIDE DOWN BOY/EL NINO DE CABEZA (RISE AND SHINE)
A SHELTER IN OUR CAR
HENRY'S FREEDOM BOX: A TRUE STORY FROM THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
GETTIN' THROUGH THURSDAY
THANKS TO THE ANIMALS
HOOWAY FOR WODNEY WAT
FRIENDS FROM THE OTHER SIDE/AMIGOS DEL OTRO LADO
PURPLE LITTLE BIRD
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
ONE HEN: HOW ONE SMALL LOAN MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE
I LOVE SATURDAYS Y DOMINGOS
ONE GREEN APPLE
I AIN'T GONNA PAINT NO MORE!
A CHAIR FOR MY MOTHER
WILMA UNLIMITED: HOW WILMA RUDOLPH BECAME THE WORLD'S FASTEST WOMAN