Childrens Bookshelf

I have had some recent conversations with single ethnic families who have asked me to help them diversify their home. I found this so interesting and wonderful and so decided to blog about how to take steps to accomplish this. It’s not rocket science, but just something that I think single ethnic homes don’t often think about and it’s so easy to do.

The very first step you can take in diversifying your home is to change the images your children see every day. Let’s begin with your bookshelf! Often times we collect and read the same children’s books that we read as a child, or that are popular in mainstream today. The problem is, often times, the children and families in the pages of those books are majority white. Or, if you are Chinese, perhaps Chinese. You get the idea.

If you change the books on your child’s bookshelf, you change the images she sees everyday. Begin small – I’m not encouraging you to scrap your favorites or start over – but begin to notice the ‘majority’ of the art in your child’s books. Then, slowly over time add in books that display a diversity of people. In this way, your children are introduced to diversity day in and day out in the images they see.

There are so many books out there to choose from and so many places for resources. I encourage you to read reviews and find books that agree with you and your child’s interests.

I thought I would share a few that are mainstays in our house. Some involve the ethnicities of my children and others do not; they just add a more diverse view of the world. Here are a few that I quickly grabbed from my shelf this morning:

New Clothes for New Year’s Day by Hyun-Joo Bae

This is a beautiful book about celebrating the start of the Lunar New Year in Korea. At the end of the book there is a description of each piece of clothing she is given and the significance of being given new clothes on New Year’s Day. My kids pour over this gorgeous book and then dress themselves in the order the girl dresses herself.

Kimonos by Annelore Parot

A new favorite in our house is this book about Kokeshi dolls. It teaches some Japanese language while your child matches, discovers, and learns about Japanese culture. My middle daughter is rarely without this book!

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

We have been adding more and more books to our library that cover black history, although this one has been on our shelf for years as a mainstay for us. This book documents the true story of what Ruby Bridges encountered as a six-year-old girl ordered by a judge in 1960 to integrate into a white school. This is a phenomenal introduction and discussion tool to talk with your child about race and the history of race in America.

Bee-bim Bop! By Linda Sue Park

This book is always out somewhere on the floor in our house, promptly followed by a request for more Korean food! It features an adorable tale of shopping for ingredients, helping mama cook, and ultimately eating a traditional Korean meal with the family. At the end of the book is the recipe for Bee-bim Bop to be enjoyed by all.

Immi’s Gift by Karin Littlewood

I loved this book and purchased it recently because of the different cultures represented. It’s a sweet tale of two children exchanging different aspects of their culture without really knowing that they are sharing pieces of their lives. Beautiful to page through, it leaves my kids warm-hearted and appreciative of how other people live.

The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine

Reminiscent of my childhood favorite, Robin Hood, this is a tale of a magic wok that delivers treasure from the rich to the poor. This is a humorous and fantastic book that can easily lead to greater discussions with your child about socio-economics and the practice of being grateful.

Diversifying your bookshelf is an easy change and a great first step in diversifying your home! There are so many wonderful books out there. Please leave a comment with your favorite book and add to the resource list for the Blended family!