Children of color make up about 40% of the population, yet recent statistics show that the number of children’s books featuring people of color has hovered around 10% for the past several years. Other types of diversity—including ability, socioeconomic status and LGBT people and families—are also sorely lacking.
Children should be able to see themselves reflected in the world around them as both ordinary and extraordinary. They need to feel valued and optimistic about the future. And books often resonate in ways nothing else does when faced with biases, bullying, discrimination and injustice. Books also help kids grow into world citizens by fostering empathy and understanding of other people and cultures.
So how does a small library address these gaps in their collection? Consult a well-curated book list like Books Matter from the Anti-Defamation League, a 100-year-old anti-hate organization and one of the world’s most respected anti-bias education resources. Books Matter covers a wide range of subjects and includes lesson plans and other resources for educators, parents and families. Through books we can teach children about the world outside themselves, the history of injustice and how they can make a difference.