Start Them Young Part II
What is Diversity?
Diversity means having a range of differences. I would add when it comes to diversity with people and culture, there needs to be an understanding that each ethnic group or individual is unique and different. Those differences aren’t meant to divide but to broaden another’s perspective on a life outside of his own. Diversity in society can create cultural sensitivity and insight as well as help to build bridges and understanding across cultures.
Why Diversity in Books is Important?
All children need to be able to see themselves in the books they read. It allows them to see they are not alone and shows them that their world is important. When children see themselves, they gain a sense that their world has value. Not only do children need to see diversity in books, but they need to see the characters in prominent roles.
Books are a safe place for children to learn and ask questions. Diverse books teach them about others and help promote empathy and respect. For every child who can see their world in a book, many more are introduced to a world outside of their own.
“Most adults in the U.S. spend their formative years in elementary school classrooms. It is their introduction to community outside the family and to the world. It is the breeding ground for much of the empathy and enmity we carry around as adults.”
The power of words can change lives. Books can encourage, enlighten, and create compassion. Diversity in books has the power to build bridges where misunderstanding of differences creates division. Children’s books can be mirrors or windows to other worlds and allow a child to walk in the shoes of another’s experiences.