HomeQuest for Literacy5 Tips to Help Diversify Your Child’s Home Library or Reading List 

5 Tips to Help Diversify Your Child’s Home Library or Reading List 

The Children’s Book Review | June 14, 2020

Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 12

This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.

Promote Inclusivity through Literacy

Our country is struggling and many parents are feeling the incredible urgency to make sure they speak to their children about difficult topics such as racism and inclusivity. In our home, when we are not sure exactly how to bring up an important but challenging topic, we always turn to books to help guide us.

If your goals are similar to those in our family—embracing everyone, empathy for all, teaching antiracism and inclusivity, as well as doing your part to help uplift others in need—I hope this column will help. These recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the books you could be adding to your libraries or reading lists, helpful resources, or ways you can promote inclusivity through literacy. However, we hope you walk away with at least one thing you can implement right away.

Find a Local Bookstore Whose Mission Is to Teach and Empower All Kinds of People

In Denver, local bookstore Second Star to the Right is such a place for us. It is truly a magical bookstore that strives for inclusivity not only through its selection of books but also through its guest authors and daily storytimes. You are sure to find a book with diverse characters AND experiences. They have also started a summer reading challenge, which suggests reading a book with a character that looks like you as well as a character that does NOT look like you—a simple yet important tip when it comes to picking books.

If you’re not sure about how to find a local bookstore that supports inclusivity, a helpful resource is the African American Literature Book Club’s list of Black Owned Bookstores in the United States.

Check Out The Children’s Book Review ‘Black Lives Matter Book List for Kids and Teens’ If You Have Not Already

We hope you will read as many books on this list as possible, and when you start one, we encourage you to read and discuss it together as a family. If you’ve been reading the Growing Readers columns, you know we are HUGE fans of family book clubs! Suggest that your family jot down any questions that may arise before, during, or after reading, and/or highlight and annotate portions of the book they found compelling. No matter how you decide to discuss the book, the important thing is that you are reading together as a family and nurturing a safe environment to ask questions about the painful experiences of others, whether they resonate with your family or not. Use your family’s questions and annotations to guide the conversation.

You can find our Black Lives Matter Book List for Kids and Teens here.

Add a Book by Ibram X. Kendi to Your Home Library

There is literally a book for everyone—from Antiracist Baby, a board book, to Stamped, a young adult version of his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas, to How to be Antiracist. Anyone and everyone can and will benefit from Kendi’s powerful books and we would recommend that all of these books be read by everyone, no matter their age.

Ashley Lukashevsky, illustrator of “Antiracist Baby” written by Ibram X. Kendi and published by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers.

Add Corretta Scott King Award Winning Books to Your Home Library

From board books to chapter books, each award-winning book is sure to open your mind and heart. Many of the books are poetry or written in verse, which is not only fun to read, but a great way to expose children to various genres. This style of writing can also serve as a model and inspiration for young, creative writers.

You can find the complete list via the American Library Association.

Kadir Nelson, 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner and illustrator of “The Undefeated” written by Kwame Alexander and published by Versity, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Broaden the Spectrum of Characters in Your Child’s Books

We have recently discovered The Equal Opportunities Book Box, which sends picture books right to your home once a month with a diverse selection of characters and experiences for children ages 1-6. They hope to expand to older readers soon, but in the meantime, this is the perfect addition to any home with young children looking to add books that reflect diverse characters and experiences.

Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this link or subscribe to our e-newsletter so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. 5 Tips to Help Diversify Your Child’s Home Library or Reading List was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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