In Celebration of Diversity
This interesting collection of books shows children the many ways diversity can make us stronger.
Maya Angelou once said: “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” As if in adherence to this adage, we have picked titles to celebrate the differences in our world. The topics include everything from funny monsters and foreign cultures, to one-of-a-kind personalities. Curl up and share the joy of reading with your children while reminding them in the most subtle of ways to love all.
Written and illustrated by Janell Cannon
What makes bats and birds alike? On the outset, it is their wings. The author takes this simple fact of resemblance between the creatures and spins a touching tale where Stellaluna the bat learns how to survive living with a family of birds and in the process, discovers herself and the value of friendship. The short paragraphs add value to the splendid artwork that effectively portrays both worlds of the winged creatures. Author-illustrator Janell Cannon’s love of animals shines through in her first children’s book.
Written by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Caroline Binch.
When your child has the slightest doubt about his or her aspirations, you can always count on this classic to lift spirits and give the confidence to do anything you set your mind to. Grace has a great passion for stories and loves acting them out. When there’s an opportunity to play the role of Peter in Peter Pan, she jumps right in. Her classmates discourage her but Grace beats the odds to reach her goal. Her vibrant personality pops out on each page and the backdrops speak, too. This is one book where the writer and illustrator matched each one’s thoughts, resulting in an imaginative tale told with expressive artwork.
How My Parents Learned to Eat.
Written by Ina R. Friedman and illustrated by Allen Say.
What happens when an American sailor marries a Japanese girl? They’ll have to learn each other’s way of eating. The telling of this story from a child’s point of view makes it interesting. The father wonders how to drink soup with chopsticks and the mother, looking at the fork, knife, and spoons, comments on how strange it is to use so many utensils for eating. Simple yet realistic watercolor illustrations capture the Japanese way of living and help understand the differences among cultures.
Some Monsters are Different.
Written and illustrated by David Milgrim.
Have you ever felt like the odd one out? This reassuring tale demonstrates how, though we may all be different, we are still wonderful in our own special way. The minimal repetitive text goes hand-in-hand with the funny monsters (there’s even one with braces) to make this a great choice for read-aloud time.
Be Good to Eddie Lee.
Written by Virginia Fleming and illustrated by Floyd Cooper.
This gentle tale sends out a reminder to embrace our differences and to be kind to everyone. Eddie Lee, a boy with Down syndrome, insists on tagging along with friends Christy and JimBud to the pond, in spite of their disapproval. Christy tells Eddie to go home while JimBud calls him mean names. But in the end, it is Eddie Lee who discovers the natural beauty hidden in the woods and shares the experience with them. In her debut book for children, author Virginia Fleming does a wonderful job portraying these three characters – adventurous Eddie Lee’s concern for nature and creatures alike, kind-hearted Christy’s genuine effort to understand someone, and the rude JimBud, whose interest in exploring the woods doesn’t include getting his feet wet. The oil wash illustrations add a glistening effect and invite us to enter the beautiful countryside as well as the innocent mind of Eddie Lee.
Horton Hears a Who!
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss.
This timeless tale has many lessons: Standing up for someone small, being a fine friend at all times, never giving up, coming together for a common cause, and finally, how teamwork triumphs. Rhythmic repetitive text makes the message strong and the expressive cartoon characters bring the story to life. Horton, the elephant’s larger than life image, compares very well to the teeny tiny speck of dust, Who. Dr. Seuss goes on to prove that a huge elephant can also be gentle and caring. His concern for the smallest of creatures and his determination to save them at all cost is amazing. The artwork rightly captures these emotions and draws us closer to the story. Who wouldn’t want to fall in love with one of Dr. Seuss’ all-time favorite fable?