“Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we’re opened, we’re red.”
Just because someone is different than you, does not give you the right to look down at them. We might have diverse desires and goals, but there is one thing in life that we are all after: happiness. Therefore, we should be equal and embrace all of our differences, and not punish others for their different races, religions, and gender. We should treat everyone with the same respect and dignity.
However, unfortunately, we continue to read or watch horrific reports about hate crimes every day. Unfortunately, these reports and news have become a current issue in the world again!
Even though some widespread and big protests such as #StopAsianHate or #BlackLivesMatter are helpful to call attention to unity and solidarity, to inspire activism, and to embrace the fight for civil rights, ordinary people like you and me can also take some other individual steps. It is to teach our children or the little ones around us to appreciate and celebrate diversity. And the best way to do this is through books.
Here are my top 5 children’s books that I believe will help promote respect and inclusivity by stopping hate:
1. It is OK to be Different
It is OK to be Different is an excellent book by Sharon Purtill about diversity, kindness, anti-bullying, racism, and special needs. This rhyming picture book is for kids 2-8. It highlights that “even though we don’t all look, act or sound alike, one thing is true. Every child is an individual, a person like you.”
This book is a good start to celebrate the uniqueness and individuality of every child.
2.We All Belong
Another great pick for children’s books aboutdiversity, race, and empathy is We All Belong by Nathalie Goss. This book helps its young readers to see themselves and others through a diverse group of characters.
In the book, there are also beautiful messages such as “Not one of us is out of place. We all belong to the human race.” and “It would be boring if we all looked the same.” The book includes an activity at the end, to help children appreciate the similarities and differences among us.
3. Not Like The Others
Another must-have children’s book about diversity is by Jana Broecker. The author fills her book with animal and child characters imaginatively and engagingly. The little readers learn our differences through reading fact-filled, but funny rhymes. Finding Freddy, the fox with the fluffiest tail, Sally, the squirrel holding an acorn tightly, or Bailey, the brown bear stung by an angry bee is just a small part of a mission for the little eyes to complete. In the end, the young readers are expected to find themselves among the others who are not like them.
What makes this beautiful picture book even more beautiful is that besides helping children to embrace our differences, it promotes love for animals by teaching about wildlife.
4. Chocolate me!
Chocolate me! is another children’s book that celebrates race and empathy. This book is about a 5-year old boy, who has darker skin and curlier hair. He thinks other children tease him because of his appearance, which is different from that of Timmy, Johnny, or Mike. However, with the help of his mother, our little hero realizes something that will change his perception of himself.
Through this beautifully illustrated book, the author, Taye Diggs encourages children to love themselves and others.
5. Welcome to Our World: A Celebration of Children Everywhere!
One of my favorite children’s books about connection to humanity is Welcome to Our World: A Celebration of Children Everywhere!, written by Moira Butterfield specifically for kids 4-8. The book is broken up into a bunch of different sections about family, food, clothing, language, manners, and so on.
This wonderful book teaches us that even if we have different languages, customs, and traditions, “it really is a small world, after all”. It also shows us that we have a great opportunity to make new friends from all around the world while learning something new.
So, in today’s world, it should be our top priority to encourage our children to empathize with people who are different. When they learn to appreciate diversity among people, the world will be a much better and brighter place for all of us in the near future.