While I’m off enjoying Passover with my family, here’s another guest post, this one by an anonymous mom with strong feelings about the future direction of children’s books. :-)
In the past several years especially, the realm of children’s literature has made leaps and bounds in terms of diversity and promoting coexistence amongst our differences. But there are still topics that could certainly see a little more circulation in terms of popular children and adolescent publications, particularly when it comes to truly teaching youngsters about the dissimilarities of society.
Which of these do you think you could write about – and make a difference in kids’ lives? (not to mention the world!)
Although picture books are not limited in portraying characters that need to use a wheelchair or crutches, few venture further into the territories of physical, emotional, or intellectual disabilities.
If children are exposed to these topics from an earlier age, it will not only facilitate understanding and acceptance, but it will reduce the likelihood for inappropriate bullying in the future.
Although the ideas of different skin colors and physical appearance have become more common in children’s literature, what about topics like cerebral palsy, down syndrome, attention and social disorders, epilepsy, and deafness?
Perhaps if we started to incorporate these frequent childhood disabilities into the way we teach our children, there would be less of a stigma toward the percentage of the population that experiences one or more of these instances.
In a perfect world, we would be able to teach our children about dissimilar family units without judgment, but the fact remains that not all kids live in a perfect household with a dad, mom and 1.3 additional siblings.
It would be refreshing and relevant for more children’s books to reveal some of the common situations that they, or friends from school, might be experiencing from their family unit at home. This includes blended families, single-parent homes, and adoptive families.
There are not enough books that adequately teach children about the drastic differences in global cultures. Although fast-food, running water, electricity, and an endless supply of toys and possessions have become pretty common in developed countries, there are still areas of this planet where children live in far more primitive conditions.
If we expect grown adults to embrace diversity, why not start by fully disclosing some of these lesser-acknowledged facts about global and societal differences to our young children by using engaging and pertinent literature topics?
What can you write (or have you already written!) to inspire kids to think about these ideas???
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