I am shielding my children from the horrors of this world as long as I can. They are too young to know or understand what evils lie outside of our home.
Inside the four walls of our home, I do my best to provide the childhood they deserve- one filled with tickles, laughter, endless play, hugs and kisses. As a mother, my job is to be their protector. But I am also their first and most important teacher. How can I do my part to inspire change in the world?
Change can start with the tiniest humans. Children are not color blind. They see color and accept differences in a way adults cannot.
In our family, books are the window to the outside world. Great literature and stories about places, creatures and people teach us that the world is bigger than what we can see. Classic books about children in different times, different places and of different colors tell us that the world is more the same than at first glance.
My little brown girl loves to play hide-and-seek and play all day. Little black boys love to play in the rain and run around all day. Little white girls love to climb to trees and explore all day. It doesn’t matter what color their skin is, children are children, and great books show us that over and over again.
Before children grow up to see that the world judges us all because of the color of our skin, they need to know…to really KNOW…that we are all human.
Then they will know that life is precious. That black lives matter. And brown lives too. And all of the colors in between. Life is precious, no matter what color you are, where you grew up, what you do or if you’re caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When I’m feeling at a loss for words or a loss for what to do next, I turn to books- great books that will show my children the world and the beauty of all people. Today, in the midst of a country in turmoil, we’ll read a book.
In an Op-Ed in the New York Times, “Where are the People of Color in Children’s Books?,” Walter Dean Myers writes this:
“Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books? Where are the future white personnel managers going to get their ideas of people of color? Where are the future white loan officers and future white politicians going to get their knowledge of people of color? Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be?”
We’ll read about little black boys and little black girls in the hopes that by the time all of these little girls and boys grow up, the world will be a better place for them. Because of them. In spite of us.
Will you read with us today and do your part to change the world? I challenge you to find a book with characters of color and read it to your children today. It’s no secret that books depicting black and brown children are severely lacking, but there are some great ones out there.
Here are a few of our favorite picture books with characters of color for babies, toddlers and preschoolers:
Do you have a favorite book with characters of color? I’d love to read some new ones. Share with me in a comment or on our Facebook page.