This blog was contributed by Ruth Heuvelman (CED Group).
Take a (critical) look at the picture books in your group. What books are there? Do you see society reflected in the picture books? Can all children identify with the stories and the main characters? By shared book reading you can combat prejudice and promote inclusion – the sense of belonging.
Recognizability contributes to a positive self-image
Young children increase their knowledge of the world by reading books or reading picture books. It is important that children recognize themselves in the stories of the books and that the stories are close to their own experiences. What is the message that you convey when reading the books? Which world are the children introduced to in the books? How intercultural are the books and can all children in your group identify with them? Partly through recognition in picture books, children can develop self-awareness and a solid identity. This recognizability contributes to a positive self-image.
What skin color dothe main characters in your picture books have?
The main characters in western children’s books are often white and male. Young children learn from a very young age to associate white people with positive characteristics and non-white people with negative characteristics. This Is how they unconsciously build up prejudices. To counteract the development of these prejudices, it is important that children are introduced to culturally diverse and inclusive stories from an early age. In this way, these stories ensure that all children can become acquainted with various heroes and positive role models in which they can identify themselves and in which they can build positive associations. That, in turn, contributes to inclusion.
Having all children receive positive or neutral comments about their skin color from an early age will help them develop a positive self-image. And precisely by reading or reading picture books, which all children can identify with, you can make an important contribution to this in your own group!
Picture books with culturally diverse and inclusive stories
So, what are suitable picture books? Below you can find a list of some book recommendations. Be inspired and possibly supplement your bookcase with a number of these beautiful (picture) books. This way you can give a positive message to all children in your group!
- Princess Arabella – Mylo Freeman
- Celebrate with Zaza – Mylo Freeman
- Ada Twist, Scientist – Andrea Beaty
- Have you seen elephant? – David Barrow
- Little Why – Jonny Lambert
- Frog and the stranger – Max Velthuijs
- Emil’s curly coily cotton candy hair – Tina Olajide
- Derman-Sparks, L., Olson Edwards, J., & Goins, C. M. (2020). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
- Kuh, P., Leekeenan, D., et al. (2016). Moving beyond anti-bias activities: supporting the development of anti-bias practices. Young Children. 58- 65.