I recently came across the Babble post The Lack of Diversity in Books and Movies Hurts All of Our Kids by Brian Gresko. Gresko lays out the fundamentals—that books help children build their concept of the world, and if there are no strong, multi-dimensional, fully-developed characters of color then children may take away stereotypes and prejudice, even from well-intentioned books that feature characters of color in the background.
Gresko makes the argument that we need to use consumerism to drive the demand for diverse books and media. “Because,” he writes, “if we’re not putting our money where our values are, then publishers and producers will feel no pressure to broaden the diversity on screen or page…our children will internalize the white-centric image of the world that they see in their narratives without question.”
Of course, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve already built my daughter’s bookshelf with books that feature a range of diversity (in board books, anyway) like Everywhere Babies by Susan Myers, Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson, and books that feature diverse baby faces. This year, I commit to seeking out more books that feature authentic diversity for my daughter and asking relatives who buy us books to do the same. Finally, a resolution that’ll last beyond February!
Here are three organizations that can help you build your own diverse bookshelf, and use supply-and-demand to drive diversity: