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Tutor Tip

Representation Matters: Diversity in Children's Books

October 2020

“Diverse literature enables students to see themselves as the heroes of the story…”

-Lily Eskelsen García

If you think back to your favorite books from your childhood, which titles come to mind? What is it in those particular books that resonated so deeply with you? For many young readers, being able to see themselves reflected in the main characters strikes a deep chord. Reading books with accurate representations of students’ own cultures can contribute to self-worth within students, while allowing them to connect with themselves and their culture on a deeper level.

Diverse representations of characters in multi-cultural books are beneficial to all readers. Reading multicultural books:

  • Helps people to better understand current world issues
  • Exposure to multicultural literature increases awareness of the social practices, values and belief systems of other cultures
  • Promotes unity and empathy: people learn that not only are differences tolerated, they are embraced
  • Promotes the interaction of children across differing ethnic backgrounds

What does the current breakdown of diversity in children’s books look like? Read this short article from Huffington Post to learn more:

Kids Books Still Have a Lack-of-Diversity Problem, Powerful Image Shows


How can parents and teachers gauge problematic content in children’s books? Check out this article for tips on how to spot racist and sexist ideas in children’s literature:

10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism


Where can you find recommendations for diverse books? Spend some time looking through the multitude of resources on WNDB (We Need Diverse Books) to find suggested titles, blog articles, resources on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and much more:

We Need Diverse Books


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