Diversity Continued

Last month the focus was on diversity in children’s books, and the importance of building a diverse collection so that young readers might connect with all populations in their communities, and gain an appreciation of cultures from around the world. Books that present various cultural traditions and celebrations are very important if we expect the young to become globally conscious.

  • Folk and fairy tales reveal a lot about world cultures. Display copies of fairy tales, especially those that reflect specific cultures. For example, almost every culture has a version of Cinderella. Ask readers to compare and contrast the stories.
  • Suggest that readers find other books from the oral tradition that introduces diverse cultures. Suggestions from Random House include:

The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe (picture book) by Pat Mora & illus. by Steve Johnson & Lou Faucher

Borreguita and the Coyote (picture book) by Verna Aardema

John Henry: an American Legend (picture book) by Ezra Jack Keats

Mirandy and Brother Wind (picture book) by Patricia McKissack & illus. by Jerry Pinkney

The Mitten String (picture book)  by Jennifer Rosner & illus. by Kristina Swarner

The Secret Footprints (picture book) by Julia Alvarez & illus. by Fabin Negrin

The Silk Princess (picture book) by Charles Santore

Sootface (all ages) by Robert D. San Souci

The Legend of Bass Reeves (middle grade) by Gary Paulsen

Porch Lies (all ages) by Patricia McKissick & illus. by Andre Carrilho

Many Thousand Gone (all ages) by Virginia Hamilton & illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon

The People Could Fly (all ages) by Virginia Hamilton & illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon

The Dark Thirty (all ages) by Patricia McKissack & illus. by Brian Pinkney

  • Invite speakers from various cultures in your town of community to the school or library and ask them to talk about specific traditions of their culture. Then ask readers to research customs and traditions of cultures from around the world. How many cultures are represented? Suggest they prepare a power point presentation that introduces the culture, the traditions, and recommendations of several books to read. Books from Random House may include:

Bringing in the New Year (picture book) by Grace Lin

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama (picture book) by Selina Alko

Everybody Says Shalom (picture book) by Leslie Kimmelman & illus. by Talitha Shipman

Dim Sum for Everyone (picture book) by Grace Lin

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year (picture book) by Demi

Honeyky Hanukah (picture book) by Woody Guthrie & illus. by Dave Horowitz

Max Makes a Cake (picture book) by Michelle Edwards & illus. by Charles Santoso

Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (picture book) by Grace Lin

The Longest Night (picture book) by Laurel Snyder & illus. by Catia Chien

Together for Kwanzaa (picture book) by Juwanda G. Ford & illus. by Shelley Hehenberger

What You Can Do with a Paleta (picture book) by Carmen Tafolla & illus. by Magaly Morales

The Tequila Worm (middle grade) by Viola Canales

ZigaZak! (picture book) by Eric Kimmel & illus. by Jon Goodell

Along the River: A Chinese Cinderella Novel (young adult) by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella (young adult) by Adeline Yen Mah

Shabanu, Haveli, and The House of Djinn (young adult) by Suzanne Fisher Staples

The Shadows of Ghadames (young adult) by Joelle Stolz

Ties That Bind, Ties That Break (young adult) by Lensey Namioka

  • Have readers locate recipes from various cultures. Older readers may wish to prepare some of them. Make a cookbook that represents the cultures studies. Write a paragraph that describes if the food is used for a special holiday, or if it is commonly served.
Random House Teachers and Librarians