3 Ways To Explore Diversity Through Books
As a parent of a Complex Learner, you want the best for your child. You teach her to look both ways before crossing the road. You share the benefits of eating fruits and veggies every day. You help her with homework or practicing her social skills. But just as you help your child develop executive function skills or practice multiplication facts, it’s also important that you expose her to different cultures, races, genders, and abilities outside of her own.
By helping your child learn about diversity, you’re helping him develop a more well-rounded view of the world, making him a more thoughtful and kinder person – and isn’t that every parent’s dream?!
One of the best ways to highlight diversity is through books. Books provide an opportunity for children to learn about different cultures, meet characters from various backgrounds, study diverse authors, and explore different parts of the world.
As beneficial as books can be towards teaching diversity, there’s still a long way to go! According to a 2018 infographic report released by Sarah Park Dahlen and illustrator David Huyck – children’s books are making improvements when it comes to featuring diversity but still only a very small number of children’s books actually feature diverse characters.
Yet there are still so many fantastic options out there. Check out our 3 tips to help your Complex Learner explore diversity through books …
- Showcase diversity in different ways
While it’s important to explore stories that feature characters of different races, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds and more – there are other ways to explore books that highlight diversity.
Next time you’re at your local library or bookstore check out the geography section. Geography or map books highlight diversity by exploring different parts of the world. This can help pique your child’s interest in different cultures and countries by helping them learn about the land, the climate, the people, and their practices.
Holidays from different cultures are another great way to learn about the different celebrations that take place around the world. Find books about holidays outside of the ones you might celebrate — like Day of the Dead, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year or more.
Just as important as the books are the authors! Make an effort to also explore pieces of works from diverse authors. From poets to autobiographies to fiction books – there are so many fantastic options out there written by talented and diverse authors.
- Turn To High-Interest Material
Use your child’s own interests to help find materials that feature diversity. If your child isn’t much of a reader, try graphic novels instead. Graphic novels are an incredible way to showcase diversity in a fun and engaging way that might help to take the pressure off of reading and highlight the experience of learning about different beliefs, backgrounds, and abilities.
If your child is interested in music, explore books about hip hop or jazz music. Explore the “Who Was” series to find a book about an actor, historical figure, or musician that your child loves. The Who Was series features incredible stories from a variety of people in history, like the Tuskegee Airmen, Venus and Serena Williams, Selena, the Dali Lama and more!
- Try Some Wolf Favorites
We couldn’t make a list about books to explore without including some favorites featured in The Wolf School library. Take a look at the books below and pick a few for you and your child to enjoy together!
- Lailah’s Lunchbox
- Say Something!
- All Kinds Of Beliefs
- Walk This World
- Dumpling Soup
- Chicken Sunday
- The Last Stop On Market Street
- Trombone Shorty
- Funny Bones
- El Deafo
- Jabari Jumps
- Anything But Typical
This is just a short list to get you started, and there’s a whole world to explore out there. Check out your local library and ask for suggestions. Be sure to share your own recommendations in the comments below!