Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Today is being celebrated as Multicultural Children's Book Day

Event - Celebrating Diversity in Children's Literature

Interesting statistics coming out of this article at http://www.fox19.com/story/27889779/multicultural-childrens-book-day-event-celebrating-diversity-in-childrens-literature

is in this statement : Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children's books published have diversity content.

As I understand it, multicultural books apply to books which do not exclusively feature the characteristics, physical and otherwise, of the dominant part of the society. As more and more countries become increasingly global in their population mix it is important to have this multicultural vision for books especially for children.

In the first place, it helps to share the cultural differences, making them seem less strange and therefore more 'comfortable'.  And this cultural mix can be both internal to countries and external  - learning about other cultures.

Children learn so much, not always just from text books or those recommended by the schools as extra reading. Pleasure reading is a strong force in getting an understanding of how others live and think.

Coming from a country which produces children's literature that would be regarded as multicultural in the USA, it has often been disheartening to hear that the children there only like to read books related to the USA way of life, so by extension our books will not sell there as very few would be interested.

 Of course, there is quite an imbalance in that our children are inundated with books from the USA, in particular, and with media visions of life there. No wonder a recent survey stated that about half the Jamaican youth population would give up citizenship to migrate http://www.jamaicanews.net/index.php/sid/229359551.


I have no answers – Just saying. Hope the multicultural children's book day activities sensitize some folks to this issue.

 Links: to purchase Jamaican children's books



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