Shaping Our Stories Through Diverse & Inclusive Books

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Representation matters especially in books. All children should be able to see themselves as the main character of the story and have the chance to learn about all backgrounds and experiences while recognizing our similarities and celebrating our differences.

According to Reach Out and Read, “children who feel left out of books risk feeling left out of life.” If children can’t place themselves within stories, that sentiment may carry over into real world application.

Building a diverse library is important, and even more important to start from birth. Spending time together, reading aloud, letting them hear your voice creates strong parent/child bonds and promotes healthy brain development as 80% of a child’s brain is developed by age 3.

While there have been some barriers to diverse and inclusive books such as scarcity and expenses: “According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, less than 25% of children’s books are about people of color. Furthermore, books featuring people of color are often more expensive and harder to find in stores.” Reach Out and Read and the American Academy of Pediatrics is working to remove these barriers by providing free books in pediatric offices during routine well-child checkups.

Here’s a list of inclusive books to add to your library:

My Heart Fills With Happiness

Reading age: baby – 2 years

Grade level: preschool and up

Dream Big, Little One

Reading age: baby – 3 years

Grade level: preschool and up

Last Stop on Market Street

Reading age: 3-5 years

Rin, Rin, Rin

Reading age: 3-5 years

Grade level: preschool – kindergarten

We are Water Protectors

Reading age: 3-6 years

Grade level: preschool – 1st

Stacey’s Extraordinary Words

Reading age: 4-8 years

Grade level: preschool – 3rd

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

Reading age: 4-8 years

Grade level: preschool – 3rd

Hair Love

Reading age: 4-8 years

Grade level: preschool – 3rd

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

Reading age 4-8 years

Grade level: preschool – 3rd

The Year We Learned To Fly

Reading age: 5-8 years

Grade level: kindergarten – 3rd

Our California

Reading age: 6-9 years

Grade level: 1st-4th