Being able to see oneself represented in books and other media is an incredibly positive experience for children. However, “when children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.” https://diversebooks.org/faq/. It is also important for those who belong to a majority population to read and see people of other cultures represented. All children can learn from the representation of a variety of cultures.
We live in a world that is more diverse than ever, yet with that diversity, much tension exists. The library is a place where those tensions can be worked out through the imaginative and empathetic experience of reading. As George R.R. Martin says “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”
The American Library Association hands out book awards each year for the best children’s books in a variety of category, including its two most famous the Caldecott award for picture books and the Newbery award for excellence in children’s literature. They also have awards for books that celebrate a wide range of culture. Check them out here!
Many diverse books can be found on the shelves of the Santa Clarita Public Library’s Children’s Department. Check out our holdings under Award Winners here .
Let’s make the world a more welcoming and understanding place through literature!