Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books
By Louise Derman-Sparks
Here is a really helpful guide to choosing books for your kids.
Children’s books continue to be an invaluable source of information and values. They reflect the attitudes in our society about diversity, power relationships among different groups of people, and various social identities (e.g., racial, ethnic, gender, economic class, sexual orientation, and disability).
The visual and verbal messages young children absorb from books (and other media) heavily influence their ideas about themselves and others.
Depending on the quality of the book, they can reinforce (or undermine) children’s views of themselves, teach and foster positive (or negative) attitudes about diversity.
Children’s books teach children about who is important, who matters, who is even visible. Consequently, carefully choosing quality children’s books is a really important educational and child-rearing thing to think about!
It is important to offer young children a range of books about people like them and their family—as well as about people who are different from them and their family. All of the books should be accurate and appealing to young children. Fortunately, there are some good anti-bias children’s books, which are available as a result of the ongoing activism of many people and the HUGE popularity of JoJo and Gran Gran the Cbeebies show created by my pal Laura Henry- Allain.
However, while choices have improved over past decades, the lack of quality multicultural kid’s books currently being published has frustrated many communities. The number of children of colour in the United States continues to rise, but the number of books published by or about people of colour needs to be part of all our decisions when reading to our children.