Librarian’s Corner: Celebrating Diversity, Part 2

by Kristen Remenar on January 15, 2013

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“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou.

In January we celebrate the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What better way to honor his dream of a nation where our children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” than with wonderful children’s books celebrating diversity.

For the youngest readers:

Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly (Holiday House, 2009)

The children in these gorgeous photos are all different shades: copper, almond, ivory, rose. “Our skin is just our covering, like wrapping paper.” And just like wrapped presents, you can’t tell what’s inside just by looking at the outside. It’s a lovely way to celebrate each and every child’s unique self.

For the transitional readers:

One Green Apple
One Green Apple written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ted Lewin (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

Farah feels like an outsider in her new country. She doesn’t speak the language and she’s the only one wearing a headscarf. On a field trip to an apple orchard with her new class, Farah picks an apple that is different from those her classmates pick, but altogether they make a cider that is sweet.

For the older readers:

The Misfits
The Misfits by James Howe (Atheneum, 2001)

Addie, Joe, Bobby, and Skeezie are the kinds of kids that get called names – “fatso”, “geek”, “fairy”, “hoodlum”. When it’s time for school elections, these misfits start a new political party, The No-Name Party, with a goal to get kids to stop with the nasty labels and to start seeing each other as individuals.

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