With Children’s/YA literature becoming increasingly popular, the integration of color within the literature presented to this target audience has slowly grown. Targeting children and young adults about cultural differences encourages open-mindedness and fosters open conversation.
Children’s and YA literature that includes topics of race and ethnicity provide a range of learning tools, such as teaching cultural authenticity. This type of authenticity imitates the beliefs and values of a specific cultural group, including language and everyday life details. The youth’s self-concept can be improvised and self-realization is brought to light to help their young minds sense of self become more aware. It also helps them to learn about and celebrate the differences of those around them. Given that younger minds are molded far easier than developed minds, multicultural literature provides insight about other cultures that these young children might not be familiar with or might know nothing about.. It’s a way for young readers to learn the difference between culture general behaviors (the idea of broad principles) and culture specific behaviors (actions or patterns only performed by certain cultures).
In just children’s literature alone, we are seeing growth in multicultural literature and color:
American Indians/First Nations: 0.9%
Asian Pacifics/Pacific Americans: 3.3%
African/African American: 7.6%
We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization working to make the necessary changes in the publishing industry to help enrich the lives of all young children and to create as many learning possibilities as they can through reading.