How important is diversity in children's books?

Discuss the May 2017 Book of the Month, Farmer Beau's Farm by Kathleen Geiger.

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Amagine
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How important is diversity in children's books?

Post by Amagine » 03 May 2017, 08:03

In Farmer Beau's Farm we see a few diverse characters. We see a cat, a bunny, a giraffe and humans. We also see that no matter how diverse they all are from one another, they still become friends.

In children's books, how important is it to have diverse characters? Why is it so important? If not, why do you think it's not important?
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Post by hsimone » 03 May 2017, 10:39

I think it's 100% important for children's books to include diversity. In order for children to learn acceptance of different people, no matter how they look, they need exposure and conversations. Since it may not always be appropriate to have conversations why people are different and why we must accept their differences in public (you might be overheard and that's just awkward!), then the next best thing is books!

What would make this series even better if the author included a character/animal that had a disability since many children lack exposure to special needs.
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Post by Jessiebessie123 » 03 May 2017, 12:42

I think by reading diversity it is embedded into their humanity. It is essential.

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Post by Natalie Charlene » 04 May 2017, 15:05

Diversity in not only children's books, but in every book or show or movie made for any age, is extremely important. I don't think there is such a thing as too much diversity. If children are shown this diversity from a young age, they will grow up to be more open and accepting of people who are different from them. I know far too many people who were raised in their tiny little bubble of like-minded people who look like them, and I've seen them treat individuals who are different like scum. It's 2017. I feel like we should be doing better than we are, but if children keep getting exposed to books such as this one, filled with diversity and acceptance, then there is hope that society will grow to be more diverse and accepting of that diversity.

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Post by Lest92 » 04 May 2017, 19:10

I think children's books with a diverse cast of characters are important since acceptance is something that we ought to instil in communities when their members are still young. I believe children enjoy variety very much - the children's books I read after 1994 had such variety, and above all, humanity.

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Post by CaitlynLynch » 05 May 2017, 17:34

I was reading an article about this just the other day! Not sure if I can link to it, but here's trying:
motherjones.com/media/2016/08/diversity ... ry-twitter

Quote from the article:
"Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked at 3,200 children's books published in the United States last year, it found that only 14 percent had black, Latino, Asian, or Native American main characters. Meanwhile, industry data collected by publisher Lee & Low and others suggest that roughly 80 percent of the children's book world—authors and illustrators, editors, execs, marketers, and reviewers—is white"

And of course, this is only talking about racial diversity, not any of the other kinds. That said, hopefully with awareness now being drawn to the issue, we will start to see a steady increase in minority representation. I was really happy to hear that there is now an autistic character on Sesame Street, for example!

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Post by Steffi30 » 05 May 2017, 19:11

I believe it's very important because you meet all different kinds of people out in the world. At the end of the day, most of us are more alike than different and even those of us with different opinions can still be friends if we're willing to listen before we make a snap judgment about someone or something that they do. Or as the saying goes, don't judge me if you haven't walked in my shoes.
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Post by CarrieMe » 06 May 2017, 15:53

I agree with what everyone else has said- diversity, especially in children's books, is incredibly important. And although Farmer Beau's Farm has a great message about accepting each others' differences, I wouldn't necessarily consider the book itself very diverse. Allegories using animals to stand in for human problems are great and can often make touchy issues more fun and/or palatable. But, in the end, what's really important is that kids from underrepresented groups also have lots of opportunities to see THEMSELVES in the media they consume. (Not just themselves as animals or whatever.) It can have a huge impact on your sense of self worth if you never (or hardly ever) see anyone like you in the books you read or the shows you watch. And, like other people mentioned, diversity in books has the added benefit of exposing others to different perspectives and lifestyles. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved.
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Post by godreaujea » 06 May 2017, 16:59

I think it is very important so as to teach children at an early age that we are not all the same. This is why movies and books like Zootopia are so awesome!
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Post by Tomiwa » 06 May 2017, 18:47

it is important to have different characters in children's books so that children can have a view of the different world we have

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Post by Amagine » 07 May 2017, 17:44

Diversity is extremely important in children's books because we live in a diverse world with children from many diverse backgrounds. It is important for children to see a representation of themselves in a book. It's also just as important for children to be exposed to other races and cultures.
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Post by Snowflake » 08 May 2017, 12:00

I think I'm on the same page as everyone else, diversity in children's books is important. Children are so open to anything that comes their way, that it is good to show them the variety of life in our world.
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Post by Amagine » 08 May 2017, 16:34

Even though I asked about diversity in regards to children's books, the truth is that diversity is important in all books. It's important for fictional characters to be more representative to the world we currently life in.
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Post by Mollymae » 08 May 2017, 19:41

Diversity is extremely important in children's books. Children learn and develop as they read or are read to. As a parent and former educator, I think it's imperative to surround children with quality literature.
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Post by Amagine » 09 May 2017, 11:44

I'm glad that a lot of people think of diversity as important. I'm also glad that a lot of publishers and companies are putting out books with more diverse characters.
"Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude." -A.A Milne

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