Not only is there a lack of diverse children’s literature out there, but there is a lack of literature in general that teaches important issues to children. While most stories deal with sharing, caring, and helping others, books that engage the conversation of racism and xenophobia are hard to find.
Hundreds of US children’s authors and illustrators have signed a pledge on the Brown Bookshelf website “to help eliminate the fear that takes root in the human heart amid lack of familiarity and understanding of others.” Jacqueline Woodson, a National Book Award winning children’s author, is one of the authors to sign the pledge. The website was originally created to promote African-American children’s authors, but now in the light of the divide America is faced with, the books the authors pledge to produce will eliminate “the type of fear that feeds stereotypes, bitterness, racism and hatred; the type of fear that so often leads to tragic violence and senseless death.”
Children’s literature shapes young minds. It’s up to the future generations to shape the rhetoric that we use and pledging to diversify and encourage an inclusive tone is essential in these times.
Writers can sign the pledge on the Brown Bookshelf’s Facebook page.
Feature image courtesy of The Guardian