What Does it Mean to be American? Diversity and Acceptance in Children’s Literature

 

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I am honored to have Soma Mandal, Author of Sonya Sahini and the First Grade – It’s International Day, speaking with me about promoting diversity and acceptance in children.  In the Trump era, it’s important that we reinforce strong American values.  Those values are that Americans come in all different shades, sizes, and colors.  We embrace and celebrate our similarities as well as our differences. 

And that is truly what makes America great!

 

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Diversity acceptace in children's literature #ReadYourWorld

 

Recent conversations about immigration bans and borders, and questions about what it means to be “American” raise the topic of diversity and acceptance for our children. Children deal with social politics, whether it is in the classroom or on the playgrounds. Now more than ever, it is crucial for parents to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion with their children.

 

Books are a wonderful way of addressing this important topic. Children love to read about things that they are familiar with, but their curious minds also love to soak up things that are different. What better way to discuss different cultures, races, or gender identities and open their hearts and minds?

 

Young children may not always understand the subtle nuances of these difficult topics. One way to gauge what they do comprehend is to ask questions about what the character in the book may be feeling or thinking. It is a chance to discuss how they may handle the particular situation.

 

Here are my personal picks for books that can help parents discuss the importance of diversity (and the ones that I read with my child)

 

A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza

 

A mother for Choco Children's diversity books

 
A wonderful book about adoption. A little bird named Choco is searching for his mother, and comes across a variety of animals that he thinks may be his mother, but they are all different than he. Throughout his journey, he understands that family comes in all different shapes and sizes

 

Find A Mother for Choco on Amazon

 

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Little Blue and Little Yellow, by Leo Lionni

 

Children's diversity books

 

Little Blue and Little Yellow are best of friends and one day come together to form the color green, that is not accepted by everyone. A subtle message of tolerance, acceptance and diversity is delivered through very few words.

 Find Little Blue Little Yellow on Amazon

 

The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi

 

Diversity books for children #ReadYourWorld

 
Unhei just moved to America from Korea. She is anxious for her new classmates to like her and opts not to tell them her name. Instead of introducing herself by her real name, she announces that she will choose a new name from a name jar. This is a wonderful story about diversity and acceptance and how children can come together to help others.

Find The Name Jar on Amazon

 

Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae

 

Diversity acceptance books for kids #booklist #ReadYourWorld

A wonderful book about self-acceptance and that it is okay to be different.

 

Find Giraffe’s Can’t Dance on Amazon

 

I read these books with my child to discuss these important topics. Days afterwards, she asks questions related to the books that we read together. I can only hope that by exposing her to these books, that this will affect her worldview as an adult.

 

If there is a story that isn’t out there and you think that it would be important for your child to learn about, write it!  What would be even better is if you write that story with your child. I wrote my book in the hope that my daughter has a different childhood than I had, one where she feels more comfortable in her shoes. There are many stories out there that I have yet to share with her, but this particular story was mine and I had to make sure that she learned about it:

 

Sonya Sahni and the First Grade, by Soma Mandal

 

Diversity books for children #ReadYourWorld

 

Sonya is a little Indian girl born and brought up in the USA. She feels torn between her Western and Eastern roots. This story is a great way for children of diverse backgrounds to discuss identity, self-esteem and learn about themselves and others.

 

Find Sonya Sahni and The First Grade on Amazon

 

About Soma Mandal

soma Mandal author

Soma Mandal is a native New Yorker and grew up in a typical Indian family, but has an American accent and loves pizza and restaurants that serve breakfast all day.  She grew up in the 1980’s and felt different from everyone else.  She poured her heart into studying and became a hopeless bookworm.  Her favorite place in the library, which she visits almost daily.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband and family.

 

 

 

 

What diversity books can you recommend to other parents?

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Lisa
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About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

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