Spend any time in the kidlit community, and the topic of diversity is sure to come up. There’s a big focus going on these first few days of May. I hope you’ll check it out. I decided to come up with a Friday’s Five to share books that feature 5 different groups that are underrepresented in children’s literature. These are all racial or cultural designations, which don’t even take into account families that look different from the standard nuclear family, kids who are differently-abled, struggling with depression or their weight or anything else that might cause them to feel like they don’t see themselves in the media they take in, be that books, magazines, movies or TV shows.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but books that I’ve read and enjoyed which came to mind when I gave it some thought.
Not taking into consideration the children who look one way but self-identify another, causes me to think back to the days when anyone who was only 1/8 African American was denied the rights of a white citizen. When I was googling, I ran across this 2010 article from TIME magazine asking “Who’s White? Who’s Black? Who knows?. Chew on this:
Never mind what you’ve heard. Halle Berry was not the first black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. She was actually the 74th white one. And never mind all this talk about America electing its first black President; Barack Obama is actually the 44th white man to hold the job.
- I know it matters, because my daughter’s best friend has said she loved seeing her specific make up featured in The Red Pyramid Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
- I finally read some Jenny Han recently, and loved the half-Korean heroine in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
This is a growing population in the U.S., and certainly here in Houston (actually all of the groups I mention here happen to be visible in our communities and lives, from the time I was growing up years ago until now). These books all prominently feature Asian characters, and I LOVE all of them:
This is a growing population that is starkly absent. A recent figure I saw said that less than 2% of books reflect this population.
- Gaby Lost and Found
- Tortilla Sun
- Mountain Dog
- Sylvia and Aki features two girls, Japanese and Mexican, who had an historic friendship.
- Basmati Bat Mitzvah – I also love that this one actual features of person of color on the fun, bright, cover
- Seaglass Summer
- Grand Plan to Fix Everything
- Shooting Kabul
- 10 Things I Hate About Me (again — great cover art)
- Garden of My Imaan
Disclosure: I received some of these books for review, as indicated in the original reviews.
Check out Dawn’s post at her personal blog about 10 Library Books Featuring Diversity. That’s my title, not hers. It’s a Friday’s Five times 2. Dawn originated Friday’s Five, so she can do whatever she wants to do.