5 Summer Reading Books That Teach Diversity

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There has always been a places where certain races or genders are considered better than others. After the United States banned segregation altogether, our society has slowly gone from inequality to equality. But even to this day race and gender play a role in the way we view many people. Even those of us who believe everyone is created equally still judge based on race or gender. Race and gender equality or  inequality, have been a subject of debate recently. From the ad by Always about playing “like a girl,” to the latest stories about racial profiling.

It’s great to continue seeing that all of these things are being talked about and brought into the light. This month, I would like to dedicate to talking and teaching our children about diversity and tolerance for other cultures, characters and people. So twice a week for the entire month, I will be writing about things you can do with your kids that teach the importance of diversity and tolerance. And what better way to start the month than with 5 awesome books that teach diversity?

1. “Two Mrs. Gibson’s”

Author: Daryl Wells & Toyomi Igus

Published: Transition Vendor, 2001

Age 6 and older

This book follows a little girl who remembers her favorite things about her Japanese mother and African American grandmother. The authors use calming words and a repetitive tone to highlight some of her favorite things about her grandmother, like her “big bear hugs” and mother, like listening to her “soft lullabys.”

2. “Little Blue and Little Yellow”

Author: Leo Lionni 

Published: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995

Age: 3 to 5

In this book, a blue dot and a yellow dot of color form an unlikely friendship. Their parents do not approve. Through the journey of friendship, the blue and yellow dots learn about tolerance and form a strong bond that not even their parents can break.

3. “The Sneetches”

Author: Dr. Suess

Published: Random House, 1961

Age: 5 to 10

This classic rhyming book includes a series of short stories that deal with tolerance of people and cultures. Dr. Suess uses these funny little creatures, the Sneetches, to teach kids that being different is not a bad thing, but the thing that makes this world so much fun.

4. “The Sandwhich Swap”

Author:  Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah

Published: Disney-Hyperion, 2010

Age: 3 to 7

When a disagreement about a sandwhich starts a “war” in their school, two best friends learn about the importance of cultural diversity and what it means to be tolerant with help from the school principal.

5. “Children Just Like Me”

Author: Anabel Kindersley & Barnabas Kindersley

Published: DK Children, 1995

Age: 10 to 17

The authors of this book collaborated with UNICEF to create a big book with interviews and photos of kids around the world. The interviews include questions and answers about food, clothing and cultural events from kids in 140 countries. The authors spent more than two years interviewing and taking pictures of dozens of kids to create this cultural and racially diverse book of information.

 

Tips and Tricks

  • Read everyday- Try to read together for at least 20 minutes a day for kids under 6 and 30 minutes a day for kids over 6.
  • Set up a reading corner- Set up a “quiet corner” or a “reading corner” with books. a soft pillow and comfy blanket. Do your daily reading there and encourage your child to read or look at books on his/ her own. This will get them psyched for reading and give them a quiet place to read silently. 

This month let’s make a goal to teach our kids about diversity. For the month of July, I will be posting crafts, games and other activities that teach tolerance and diversity on my blog here. If you do any of the projects or read any of these books, send me a pic on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #teachingkidsdiversity. Let’s keep working on leaving inequality behind!

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