Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

A young boy and his grandma ride the bus each week. This week, CJ has a lot for questions for his Nana:  Why do they have to walk in the rain? Why don’t they have a car like his friends? Why is the neighbourhood so dirty? As Nana answers CJ’s questions, CJ’s perception of things begin to change. A lovely story about shifting the way we see things.

When I first cracked this book, I thought it was about a boy learning to see his neighbourhood differently, but after a more careful reading, I see that Nana and CJ are in that neighbourhood to help out a soup kitchen. While I still feel the book would be a great read aloud, I think it would be more poignant and relevant to my students, who live in the inner city, if CJ and Nana lived in the neighbourhood with soup kitchens, boarded up stores, and graffiti littering walls.

I love how the main characters have brown skin and yet the book isn’t ‘multicultural.’ I  get so tired of only seeing/reading about people of non-European descent in books only if the book is specifically about ‘culture’ or multiculturalism’ or cultural holidays or the non-white person is the sidekick. Enough already.

I also love how the minor characters are diverse: many skin tones, a blind person, someone in a wheelchair, a homeless person,a guy with tattoos…

A lovely read aloud to prompt discussion, gorgeously illustrated.

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Nous avons besoin de livres avec la diversité, comme les livres ici:


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When some of our French Immersion teachers asked me for a book they could read with their students that included same sex parents, I had to apologize. I had been looking for such a book for our library for quite awhile, but had found nothing. I promised to keep looking. Fortunately, I asked Evelyne from Chouette books to help and she found this one:


In this lovely story a teacher asks her students what they did during their holidays. When a boy named Martin says that he had a great holiday with his two dads, it sparks a grand discussion about diversity in families. Highly recommend as a read aloud, in the class library, in the school library, and for home.

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Donovan is busy on his big day, getting ready for the wedding. He’s not getting married, but his two mom’s are and he is the ring bearer. Perfect book for discussing diversity in families.

Author Leslea Newman also wrote Heather Has Two Mommies.

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I love books that promote inclusiveness rather than tolerance. here is a lovely picture book about the different ways people practice religions.

Very short text. Wonderful message. Beautiful photos of children and families from around the world. Includes information about the photographs at the end.

Here’s another book  I love.

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We are excited to add two new books to Strathcona’s Aboriginal Collection. Both books were given to each library in the VSB from The Aboriginal Education Department.

The Giving Tree: A retelling of a traditional Metis story by Leah Dorion, is the story of a Manitoba maple with a large hollow in the trunk. When a boy asks his grandfather to tell him a childhood story, his grandfather began to talk about this tree. While on route to visit relatives, the family would stop at the giving tree, middway between Metis villages, offer tobacco, rest, and have a meal. One day they forgot to bring sugar for the tea so they reached into the hollow and pulled out sugar, tea, tobacco, flour, and a pair of moccasins. The boy was amazed and his father explained that the tree was sacred to the Metis people. For a long time Metis travellers have used the tree as a cache to help others and send messages.

The beautiful story teaches traditional Metis values and is illustrated with Leah Dorion’s gorgeous stylized paintings. Contains a CD.

Jenneli’s Dance by Elizabeth Denny is the story of a young girl who develops a sense of pride for her Metis culture by learning a traditional dance.

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Gone are the books about nuclear families, with the annoyingly ‘normal’ mom, dad, brother, sister and dog, all of the same ethnic background living in a nice house with a fenced yard. Books about families should celebrate a diversity of families. When I buy books about families I always look for: single parent families, mulit-ethnic families, same sex parents, adopted children, foster children, families with grandparents or aunties, and families living in a variety of homes/neighborhoods all in the same book. If a book about families doesn’t include same sex parents, I never buy it, no matter how great it is. Even if you are borrowing or buying a family book just for your family, be sure the book includes a variety of families. Children internalize these subtle messages about which families are normal and acceptable and which are not. Be thoughtful about the values you are teaching your children  and other peoples’ children, whether implicit or explicit, and make sure they are values you think are important.

The Great Big Book of Families is a wonderfully inclusive book that celebrates families of all configurations and sizes. It also explores the differences in homes, jobs, holidays, schools (including homeschooling), vacations, food,  and transportation. Cute, light-hearted illustrations.

Read the book, then: make family trees, write about your families.

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Keats is small for his age, not particularly good at sports, is teases at school and is the only boy in his family that includes his three sisters. Keats is very happy when the Manny shows up to be their new male nanny.  Keats’ sister Lulu is not so thrilled and begins to collect evidence in a notebook she calls The Manny Files, so that she can present a convincing case that the Manny should be fired.

Another great read for intermediate kids.

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Lydia and Julie, two best friends in fifth grade are dying to be popular so they begin to study what the popular girls do, keeping all their notes in a journal. Both girls write in the journal: Julie in nice printing and Lydia in loopy handwriting, in a kind of back-and-forth ongoing written conversation. In the style of Amelia’s notebook, but easier to read, this novel is quite funny and with some good messages. Perhaps being popular isn’t about being friends with the popular kids? Perhaps the sacrifices you must make aren’t worth hanging with the in crowd. Perhaps people aren’t what their reputations say they are?And maybe, just maybe, there’s more to life than being popular?

I think this would make a great lit circle book.

A couple more things I like about this book:

  • Julie Graham-Chang: probably Asian or part Asian, but no real harping on this as she  definitely belongs to North American culture
  • Julie has two dads, which is touched on a couple times in the book, in a thoughtful and non-heavy way
  • a couple of the characters, including Lydia, have single moms

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Celebrate Pink Shirt Day: wear a pink shirt! Read some books on bullying and diversity!

The Sneetches. The Sneeches with stars think they are better than the Sneetches without, so they tease and exclude until a guy with a strange amchine rolls into town, turning everything upside down.

Be Good To Eddie Lee. Christy’s mom tells her to be good to her neighbour, a smaller boy with Down’s Syndrome. When Christy’s friend jim Bud ocmes by and starts making fun of Eddie Lee, Christy yells at him and tries to make him go away. Eddie Lee follows them anyway, helping Christy discover some enchanting things in the forest that she overlooked.

Say Something.  A girl  sees others being bullied and then when someone makes fun of her, she begins to emphathize more and eventually becomes a witness rather than a passive bystander.

The Family Book includes many types of families.

William’s Doll. William wants a doll to play with. He is teased and offered other toys.


And Tango Makes Three. Two male penguins hatch and raise a baby penguin. A true story.

The Sissy Duckling. Because Elmer likes to do things the other boy ducks aren’t interested in, he is bullied.


King and King. Two princes fall in love and get married. In the sequel they adopt.

Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly

Shades of People. Photographs of children of all shades with simple text.


My Secret Bully. Ludwig’s books are powerful conversation starters.

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