Diversity in Children’s Books

A few weeks ago I was guest appearing on Otterly Rad, a parenting podcast. The topic was about diversity in children’s books. What do our children’s book libraries look like? What has our experience been trying to create diversity for our kids? And then, how do we create more diversity in kid lit in our communities? DID YOU KNOW that you can just…. make suggestions to libraries? And they will probably, most likely, actually hear you and follow through? MIND BLOWN.

I was also really inspired by Hayley’s book break down. Taking a look at the media we are consuming and “feeding” to our kids is always a good thing.

You can listen to the entire episode here. 

To accompany this conversation I wanted to post some of Gabe’s favorite books that are bilingual and/or highlight latino/latina culture.

The first book I have read over and over again is Cuckoo/CuCu by Lois Ehlert.

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How crazy beautiful is this book? I love that it is both in english and spanish. I love that it is a traditional story and I love the art. I think I read this book on repeat for at least 3 weeks straight until I … hid it under the bed just to take a break. Ha!

Second book on my list is Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales.

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This book is so fun and ridiculous and Gabe loves loves loves it. I also got this book at an amazing independent book store in Minneapolis! (Margaret! Remind me of the name in comments!)

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This story mixes cultural myths/pretend play/spanish and I love it. Reading it is goofy. Lots of sound effects and ridiculousness.

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This book is just FUN and shouldn’t reading with your kids be super extra special sound effect, play time, FUN? I think yes.

The third book on my favorites list is Green is a Chile Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong.

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Another book I got in Minnesota because I asked the independent book sellers about their spanish book section. Talking to people is key. If you just go to Barnes and Noble, you’ll only get a bunch of classic books in spanish, but nothing with real diversity.

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My only critique of this book is there isn’t more spanish. So when I’m reading it I do all the spanish I can and for sure I say all of the colors in spanish every time. Gabe, thankfully, doesn’t at all know the difference.

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And how crazy are these illustrations?? So crazy! So beautiful! So perfect!

And finally! For littles, this book is my favorite. De quien es esta cola? is super cute and when gabe was 1-2 he loved this book. I made up a little song for it and he would just love it when he got to flip the page back and when I asked him to find the animals in spanish. It’s great.

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So what are you reading your kids? What does your kid-book diversity look like? Check out Otterly Rad and join the conversation! 

7 thoughts on “Diversity in Children’s Books”

  1. Right now the two year old loves being read to. Anything and everything, though at the moment there are a lot of books about moving vehicles. It makes my heart so happy since I love reading too. I wish I had kept up with speaking to him in my first language (Finnish), though. I’m always so impressed with parents who actually do share their non local language with their kids. I suppose it isn’t too late yet.

  2. Our 5-year old is *super* into the Disney princesses (despite our not bringing them into the house until after she’d acquired an interest outside of our home), so I’m always on the hunt for books about princesses in various mythologies, and other nontraditional princess books. I’ve gotten too many sight-unseen, and there are some real duds. She is just getting into chapter books and loves the Princess in Black series. I should talk to people, as you suggest and see if I’m missing some other good alternatives.

  3. Belated love for the post. Do you guys have Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos! – that’s one of our favorite books that mixes (a little) Spanish & (a lot of) English.

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