My goal: Researching high-quality multiracial children’s literature.
The results are in and I have nothing but the best resources for you listed below.
As you may have been noticing, the number of racially diverse characters popping up on picture book pages is growing. This is largely in part to amazing organizations raising awareness, as well as people like you who intentionally choose multicultural books for the children in your lives. As I work tirelessly alongside you to continue pushing for “diverse books” to be promoted in the mainstream; books highlighting biracial and multiracial characters is my highest priority.
As I work tirelessly alongside you to continue pushing for “diverse books” to be promoted in the mainstream; books highlighting biracial and multiracial characters is my highest priority.
The Importance of Multiracial Children’s Literature
Interracial families are the fastest growing population in the world. As parents and educators, I want you to know where to find the best literature that reflects the wonderful and unique experiences of multiracial children. My purpose for finding multiracial children’s literature is both for professional, as well as personal reasons as I raise two biracial (African-American and Caucasian) daughters.
Books with mixed race protagonists are representing a narrative where different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures collide. The story of my two biracial daughters is not going to be the same as any other mixed child. However, having and exploring a world of books where families do not “match” in books is key.
The Best Resources for Biracial Books
It used to be that books like More, More, More says the Baby by Vera B. Williams showcasing multiracial families seemed like a radical act. In one interview, she explained how the publisher warned her that her book would not bring in sales, no one would read it, and books “like this” were not what people wanted.
Now we know 20 years later, that not only do people want them, there are organizations and publishers whose sole mission is to promote multiracial and multicultural books.
Over the past 12 years, I have been an international teacher in 5 different countries. I have taught children from over 80 countries on 4 different continents. In each different school, I had to meet each child’s various academic needs, however, there was one constant. I taught them to read through books with multiracial and multicultural characters.
I did this because I knew that by choosing certain books, I was encouraging empathy, bolstering confidence, modeling tolerance, and expanding their worldview. Heavy is the burden, but light is the work when you see a child changing the world because of the power of education.
This video illustrates perfectly just how valuable teachers are in shaping a child’s worldview.
P.S. Parents, you are your child’s first and most important teacher whether you know it or not.
We Need Diverse Books
MYTH: “Good stories will rise to the top- they won’t unless we do something about it.”
This amazing organization did a two-part series of interviews with biracial authors and illustrators. These interviews are a must read for all educators and especially parents of multiracial children to learn how they can navigate the complexity of identity through books.
I’ve heard many times from publishers that the “buyers at B&N” believe multicultural books don’t sell. When they are not stocked in these bookstores, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.- Kathleen T. Horning
We should all support their mission for ALL children and teens to see multiracial characters in books. For multiracial children reading these books; “whether those kids flow with ease from one culture to the other(s) or find themselves struggling, children’s literature should always be a place they belong.”
DAWCL is short for Database of Award Winning Children’s Literature. Using their search tool, all you need to do is check the box for “two or more cultures” and then search by age, gender, geography, language, genre, and more. There are hundreds of thousands of books indexed so this site is a spectacular resource.
Lee and Low Books
Lee and Low Books has chosen to address an existing problem of a lack of tolerance for people of color and marginalized groups in a concrete way—through books.
Their mission is to change “diverse books” from being a niche market to a mainstream one. Supporting this publisher and buying their books is true activism in education. You can use their search engine to find multiracial and biracial books by genre, age, as well as purchase a teacher guide/lesson plan to accompany the book.
Request a free Lee and Low Books catalog, and pass it on to every parent and educator you know.
Book List Online
From trusted American Library Association experts, the book lists on this website are pure gold. They have created a list of multiracial books for middle grades as well as YA books that are also matched with the Common Core Standards. Teachers are often presented with a list of pre-determined books to teach as mentor texts.
This list enables teachers to align their curriculum and reach their ever-growing multiracial population of students. The website is also full of book reviews, award-winning book lists, and webinars. The goal is to create a personal classroom connection with books geared towards your specific student’s needs.
A wealth of knowledge from teachers, book groups, librarians, and book lovers. Alternatively, you can also subscribe to the Book List online or print magazine.
Their book lists are tagged so that it makes finding multiracial and biracial books a snap. You can find biracial books for adults, YA books, and biracial picture books with reviews so that you can make the perfect selection to suit your needs.
If you are not on Goodreads already, today is the day to take the plunge. You won’t regret it.
Multiracial Children’s Literature Blogs
A few of my fellow book bloggers have curated amazing book lists for all ages as well.
Mixed Up Files-a fantastic resource for biracial books for middle grades (ages 10-14)
What We Do All Day- a great list of picture books showcasing biracial families
Multiracial Asian Families– Sharon Chang is your girl. Sharon has worked with young children and families for over a decade as a teacher, administrator, as well as an advocate and parent educator.
She is currently an award-winning author, scholar, and activist. Sharon focuses on racism, social justice, and the Asian American diaspora with a feminist lens.
Be sure to also grab a copy of her book Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World.
How to Get Children to Read More
Fact: Children will read more if they think the book is funny or interesting.
So, let’s give the kids in our lives a reason to read by being intentional with the books on our shelves.
By doing so, we can help them fall in love with life-long learning through the magical world of books. In turn, reading helps to fight uncertainty or even fear when it comes to learning about a different culture, a new food, religious beliefs, etc.
Take out the guesswork and give children the most colorful bookshelves possible. This way we can simultaneously raise global citizens as we raise readers. We also invite you to join our Multiracial Children’s Literature discussion with educators, authors, and parents who share a wealth of expertise on a daily basis.
If you are reading this and thinking “I need to take an inventory of the books in my home/classroom”, phenomenal. When you finish, I have already created a list of wonderful books for every age just for you. Make an intentional and culturally responsive library full of diverse books that include biracial/ multiracial characters.
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