Guest Column: Books can be a tool to talk about diversity

Published 8:10 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2020

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Guest Column by Annice Sevett

Annice Sevett


Recent events have given many adults a desire to find ways to talk to their children about race and diversity, but those conversations, especially with young children, can be hard to start. Storytelling has been around since society began, and many times stories provide us a safe platform to talk about difficult topics. Sharing stories, whether real or fictional, can help create understanding and begin honest conversations between adults and children. If children are asking questions, stories can help you begin that conversation to find out what they know, what they don’t know, and to find out what they think.

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Books are a wonderful tool that can be used to teach children about diversity. Stories that share a message of celebrating diversity can teach children at a young age that differences are to be respected and celebrated. Books with diverse characters show children that we are more alike than we are different. Nonfiction books highlight important contributions that black, indigenous and people of color have made in society. The Albert Lea Public Library has a great selection of books that fit into the three categories mentioned above. The lists below highlight some of the books in our collection.

Books that teach about diversity:

• “Going Up!” by Sherry J. Lee

• “Me and You and the Universe” by Bernardo Andrade Marcolla

• “What’s the Difference?” by Doyin Richards

• “The Big Umbrella” by Amy June Bates

• “Same, Same, but Different” by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

• “All Are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold

• “The Great Big Book of Families” by Mary Hoffman

• “I’m Like You, You’re Like Me” by Cindy Gainer

Books with diverse characters:

• “What I Like Most” by Mary Murphy

• “Papa Brings Me the World” by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

• “Who Will You Be?” by Andrea Pippins

• “Wherever I Go” by Mary Wagley Copp

• “Hair Love” by Matthew Cherry

• “Lola at the Library” by Anna McQuinn

• “Mae Among the Stars” by Roda Ahmed

• “Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beaty

Nonfiction and different cultural practices:

• “A Band of Angels” by Deborah Hopkinson

• “The Youngest Marcher” by Cynthia Levinson

• “Free as a Bird” by Lina Maslo

• “Let the Children March” by Monica Clark-Robinson

• “Dreamers” by Yuyi Morales

• “Counting on Katherine” by Helaine Becker

The lists above are a small sample of the books we have that can help teach children about diversity. If you don’t find exactly what you are looking for in the lists above, reach out to the library and we will help you find stories that meet your needs.

Annice Sevett is the assistant director of the Albert Lea Public Library.