“Diversity in books can enhance and strengthen your child’s social learning.” – Mo’ Joseph
Like most loving parents, I tried to expose my child to social activities that would nurture her and help her develop. Since she was 6 weeks old, I have taken her to local libraries, mommy groups and other social groups to give her a positive start. What I noticed early on was that typically, we were the only family of color participating. This might seem irrelevant to some. But to my husband and I, who are of black and Trinidadian heritage, it was essential that our daughter experience diverse situations and connections.
I understand that conversations around diversity and race relations have become sensitive lately. Most choose not to discuss it. But it is still very real for some. What I learned early was that it was going to be very important that I expose our daughter to the vast amount of diversity that truly existed in the real world. I wanted her to see images that reflected her culture, beauty, imagination and intellegence.
Furthermore, it is extremely important that all children see themselves reflected positively in their community and the world around them. It is important as parents that we provide a meaningful balance so that children can learn outside of the home and see the world through a different lens.
When you combine learning with openness and tolerance of other cultures, you give your children an invaluable gift — and tool — that will serve them throughout their lives. Additionally, inclusion strengthens us as people and opens the door to radically changing some predisposed ideas that many of us grow up learning. As loving parents, I believe we have a responsibility to help our children learn about diversity and respect of different cultures.
Diversity in books can foster increased self-awareness.
Remember the first time your child fell down and you decided to let them pick themselves up without rushing to them? You were teaching them self-reliance. Deciding early on to allow your child the opportunity to interact with people who are different from them helps them to build a grounded understanding of self.
Diversity in books can bridge the gap between cultural boundaries.
As Mahatma Gandhi says, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” As parents, if we wish to see kindness, compassion and consideration in others, then we must show our children through example. Exposing your children to inclusive and cultural books s will start the journey toward navigating those waters.
Diversity in books facilitates healthy growth for your child that can only be learned through exposure and interaction with people who are different from — and often don’t look like — them.