America is increasingly becoming a diverse place. The good news is that book publishers are coming to understand the value of supporting families with diverse picture books. When children are very young (many promote before birth), it is important for them to hear the written word.
English is spoken differently than it is written. Helping children get ready to read means letting them hear this, introducing them to early literacy skills, the building blocks of reading.
All families benefit when they share multicultural picture books with children. It is important for today's youth to develop an awareness and understanding of others. Non-majority children benefit from seeing an affirmation of their culture and heritage in books.
Let's be clear - sharing a love for the written word with children before they start pre-school is important. It nurtures the development of their brain and cognitive skills. It also gets them ready to become readers. Studies are increasingly showing that readiness to read is the single most important predictor of success in school.
But books do more, they let us experience the world through the perspectives of others. Picture book can do this in different ways - powerful visuals and simple narrations and dialogs that are fun to hear and read.
The best picture books introduce children to exciting characters and let children see though the eyes of others. Great picture books allow a child to experience and understand the different ways we all contribute to society.
In the past, finding picture books that celebrate diversity was a challenge. Perhaps this is one reason Don Freeman's Corduroy (1968)and Pocket for Corduroy (1978) are such timeless classics. These books are about a girl named Lisa and her family. While ethnicity is not central to the story, we see that she is from a family of color.
If you have not read these two books to your child yet, do everyone a favor and please ask your local librarian to help you find copies. Let them help you find great multicultural picture books.
Today, you may be able to find many picture books that feature multiculturalism at your local library. In some, the characters just happen to be of various ethnicities. In others, a celebration of diversity is a central part of the story. There are still communities where finding quality multicultural picture books may be more of a challenge.
Do you have a favorite? Are you looking for some suggestions? Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what your family have enjoyed or what your family is looking for.
vrs Group] [Dialogic Reading] [ELL]