Teaching our kids about diversity is perhaps more imperative than ever. Yes, it’s 2020, but honestly, how are we doing on racism these days? Decidedly not great. And regardless of how young your kids are and whether they’ve seen or participated in the recent protests for racial justice, it’s important to talk to them about race and why / how it plays a role in our society. And what better way to positively introduce children to diverse stories and characters than through picture books?
For children of color, who bear unequal stresses from racism, reading about characters who look like them can be inspiring and motivating. And for all children, reading about kids who don’t look like them can foster social and emotional intelligence and expand their worldview. Plus, when we learn about, play with and work with people of different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, abilities, religions, and perspectives, we do challenging mental work that enhances creativity. We become, in effect, smarter. And isn’t that something we want for all humans, including our kids?
Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of the best picture books out there featuring modern, memorable girls of color. Combining great illustration with classic themes like love, growth and possibility, these are excellent books to read to children of all backgrounds. Because if there’s one thing this world needs, it’s more powerful, smart little girls.
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A version of this story was originally published in May 2019.
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