Celebrating diversity is a great way to begin a new school year. It reminds your students that each of them are valued because of, not in spite of, the unique characteristics they possess. “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” – Maya Angelou
For the youngest readers:
What We Wear: Dressing Up Around the World by Maya Ajmera, Elise Hofer Derstine, and Cynthia Pon (Charlesbridge, 2012) The photographs of children from all around the world dressed for school, play, worship, and special occasions are outstanding. Suggested extension activities at the end of the book make this ideal for early learning.
Throw Your Tooth On the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World written by Selby B. Beeler and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (HoughtonMifflin, 1998) In Colombia, it’s not the Tooth Fairy who slips money under the pillow and takes the tooth, it’s El Raton Miguelito. In Malaysia, children bury lost baby teeth. In Taiwan, India, Greece, and Botswana, it is customary to throw the tooth on the roof! Sharing traditions for this common childhood event is a fun way to discuss with kids how we are all different and all the same.
Remember: the Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison (HoughtonMifflin, 2004) This is a powerful, poignant nonfiction book full of photographs that bring to life a time in American history when diversity was not honored. Morrison writes “Remembering can be painful, even frightening. But it can also swell your heart and open your mind.”