The importance of cultural diversity in children’s books is now more relevant than ever before. UNESCO understands the importance of celebrating the world’s culture and richness by designating a day to honor it: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on Saturday, May 21st.
Children of all ages will appreciate reading books that reflect their culture. To open a book and see someone that looks like them is a feeling like no other. So, as a parent, I made it my mission to find books that reflected my son’s multicultural and diverse background—representation matters, especially in the kid-lit world. Below I’ll share with you books that promote cultural diversity.
Colorín Colorado explores the importance of using “mirrors and windows” in children’s literature. Mirror books are just what the word “mirror” is: A reflection of their own identities, including culture, heritage, religion, race, and ethnicity, among other aspects. Likewise, the “windows” are books where children see a world different from their own.
Let’s take a look at multicultural and culturally diverse books for kids.
WHOEVER YOU ARE by Mem Fox has a place in our home library and it is featured in What We Do All Day. She has a wide array of Picture Books About Diversity and Multiculturalism.
Self Sufficient Kids has a list of books that I call “windows”: 9 Children’s Books that Illustrate the Diversity in Our World
Cultural Diversity has a great list that promotes cultural diversity such as AZZI IN BETWEEN about a boy from a refugee family and THE FASTEST BOY IN THE WORLD an Ethiopian runner among others. You can get the full list here.
Finally, the Guardian has a list of 50 culturally diverse books for younger readers, older readers 8+ years and older, and teenagers 13+ years and older.