From our friends at Growing Child
You’ve seen all the statistics. Numbers of traditionally structured families decrease every year. Racial/ethnic minorities account for over 30 percent of students across America.
Immigrant populations are rising, and comprise about one-fourth of children younger than age six.
America today, no matter where you are raising your children, is a complex tapestry full of variations, colors, and backgrounds. Part of preparing your children for life as this twenty-first century progresses is ensuring their comfort with and respect for such diversity.
Exposing young children to cultural differences and similarities, and modeling appreciation and acceptance of diversity enable children to grow up without developing the kind of prejudices and biases that are largely the result of fear and lack of experience.
In addition, recognizing the wonderful variations among individuals only helps children appreciate and celebrate this great world.
Multicultural picture book experiences help children develop positive feelings towards all people everywhere. I want to suggest some good children’s books for you and your children to enjoy.
Hairs/Pelitos, by Sandra Cisneros, where a young girl describes the different types of hair each family member has.
Family, by Isabell Monk, where a family celebrates their special dishes and family customs.
Luka’s Quilt, by Georgia Guback, where the family tradition of quilt making opens a discussion about living with extended family.
Jingle Dancer, by Cynthia Smith, where a Native American girl learns traditions passed from one generation to another.
Mama Panya’s Pancakes, by Kelly Cunnane, where a Kenyan child and mother go to market to buy items for making pancakes, emphasizing community and types of food.
The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi, where a Korean child who moves to America is laughed at for her unusual name, with a happy outcome and nice perspective on unique names.
Grandfather Counts, by Andrea Cheng, where a grandfather comes to live with his daughter’s family, and his granddaughter and he teach each other to count in English and Chinese .
The Ugly Vegetables, by Grace Lin, where a family grows Chinese vegetables and makes a wonderful soup to share with the neighbors.
In the Snow, by Huy Voun Lee, where a little boy and his mother go for a walk, and she teaches him Chinese characters by drawing them in the snow.
Taxi, Taxi, by Cari Best, where a little girl who lives with her mother is picked up by her Papi on Sundays, showing different family structures.
Cleversticks, by Bernard Ashley, where a child starting kindergarten discovers there are things that he cannot do, but he can show his classmates how to use chopsticks.
I Love My Hair, by Natasha Tarpley, where a young African American girl describes the ritual she and her mother go through to care for her hair.
These, and others that your children’s librarian can recommend, will help you and your children to explore together the wonderful world of differences and sameness that binds us all.
© Growing Child 2014. Please feel free to forward this article to a friend, or make copies and distribute.