Diversity Shines in These Titles
The world is a beautiful and diverse place and becoming more so every day. Picture books are a wonderful way to teach children about diversity and to give them a mirror to see themselves in the pages of a book. For this blog post I chose three picture books with diverse themes, Julián at the Wedding, Our Subway Baby, and Enough: 20 Protesters That Changed America. These books are recommended for children ages 5-7 but I think that older children would still enjoy their artistry, story, and message.
In Julián at the Wedding by Jessica Love, the depiction of multiple diverse characters is done with such ease that children will never realize they are drinking in lessons of acceptance, friendship, and individuality. Love’s effortless story of diversity is paired with equally remarkable illustrations. Her ability to illustrate the most delicate details is highlighted in this image of a gossamer veil blowing over Julián. Julián at the Wedding is perfection.
Our Subway Baby by Peter Mercurio and illustrated by Leo Espinosa tells the true story of how one family found each other. New Yorker, Danny, spots an abandoned newborn in a subway station and his life is forever changed. Written and told by Danny’s husband, the book describes their nearly immediate bond with the child and the emotional path that made them a family. The book includes a touching author’s note with photos of Danny, Peter, and their son, Kevin which gives some lovely follow-up to their story. With elements that touch upon many aspects of diversity, Our Subway Baby is a captivating story of love and family that will engage children and their caregivers.
Enough: 20 Protesters Who Changed America by Emily Easton and illustrated by Ziyue Chen is a nonfiction picture book that explains how Americans have stood up for social justice through our history. Easton highlights historical figures, some well-known and some lesser-known, using minimal words to maximum effect. The book shows how peaceful protest have affected American history and seeks to “help young activists find their voice.” The book ends with mini bios on each protestor and the effect that their protests have made, along with quotes from each figure. These complete a strong and enlightening book for children who will come away with an understanding of activism and how it can change lives.
I strongly recommend Julián at the Wedding, Our Subway Baby, and Enough, for children and caregivers interested in sowing seeds of love, acceptance, activism, and diversity. After all, it is never too early to start a conversation about diversity.
We Need Diverse Books is a non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. Find them at diversebooks.org.