The purpose of this event was to share tools that parents, caregivers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and everyone else that loves a child can use to encourage empathy and global-mindedness through discussions around diverse and inclusive books.
We discussed the importance (really the necessity) of all children seeing themselves represented in books and the ways in which we as parents and caregivers can facilitate conversations that help children go deeper into their understanding of themselves and everyone around them.
We shared our own experiences, some book recommendations (see below!), and raffled off a free book! I also donated 15% of the event sales to Stopspanking.org.
Diverse and Inclusive Book Recommendations:
The Barefoot Book of Children depicts kids of a wide range of shapes, sizes, races, abilities and lifestyles from countries and cultures all over the world. From enjoying special days to trying on silly hats, this ground-breaking picture book celebrates the big ideas and everyday moments that all children share.
Both small children and independent readers are invited to think about their own experiences while providing a window into the experiences of others. A full 15 pages of educational endnotes explain the detailed illustrations, encouraging meaningful conversations about diversity and inclusion.
Quiet Rink always sits at the back of the classroom, away from the other children who have heard strange rumors about his family and prefer to keep their distance. But when a kind new girl joins his class, Rink’s life begins to change. Inspired by the experiences of her brother, who has autism, Jen Wojtowicz’s heartwarming tale encourages children to empathize with and reach out to others.
This book features a character with a limb-length discrepancy and is a great conversation starter about people that might look a little different than us.
My Big Barefoot Book of Wonderful Words– available also in Spanish and French bilingual editions
With it’s urban setting and diverse cast of characters, Wonderful Words is carefully crafted to break down stereotypes by reflecting our modern world. Caregivers and children can point out mosques and temples, children of wide-ranging abilities and backgrounds, women construction workers, same-sex couples, and much more!
This has been a favorite in our house for years and my kids particularly enjoy pointing out Crunchy, the family’s special green pet, on each page.
Dance on down to the jungles of India, where 6 colorful creatures are jumping and jiving beneath the canopy. In our bestselling singalong ever, inclusive illustrations invite all children to join in the fun. Kids beg to hear it again and again!
This book comes with sing-along CD that stimulates creative movement for kids of all ages!
Watch the video here!
Young Shiraz lives a lonely life with her stepmother and stepsister, completely unaware of the old woman who lives alone next door…until Shiraz’s runaway yarn ball brings them face-to-face. This beautiful story from Tehran-born Israeli pop star Rita Jahanforuz explores the power of listening to others and the value of empathy.
Featured in Time Magazine’s Top Ten Children’s Books of 2007, this beautiful poem celebrates the bond between parent and adopted child in a special way. Through the exchanges between a little girl born in China and her adoptive parent, this title offers a poignant and inspiring message to adoptive parents and children all over the world.
This book is on sale right now for $4.99! Can you believe it! This is a great addition to every home library. This is not just for adopted children. This book helps all children recognize the love that exists in each and every family.
To browse the full collection of Diverse and Inclusive books click here.
Global Book Recommendations:
On market day, Mama Panya’s son Adika invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner. How will Mama Panya ever feed them all? This clever and heartwarming story about Kenyan village life teaches the importance of sharing, even when you have little to give.
Meet Lin Yi — a little boy with a big heart and a talent for bargaining. Tonight is the moon festival and he wants nothing more than a red rabbit lantern; but first he must buy the things his mother needs at the market. This heartwarming story shows the rewards of putting others first, and includes educational notes at the end about the Chinese moon festival, life in rural China, and the legend of the moon fairy.
Chandra and Deena’s family has a smoky oil lamp at home, which makes their baby brother cough. Then one day at the market, the sisters spot a man selling lamps that are powered by the sun instead of kerosene – and would be healthier for their brother! But how will they afford to buy one of the “magic” lamps? This lyrical celebration of hard work, determination and sisterhood is brought to life with luminous acrylic illustrations of the mountains and markets of Nepal. includes 7 pages of facts about Nepal and instructions for making a solar-powered oven.
How did African and Indian elephants first find their homelands? Find out in this clever modern fable that explores animal habitats and teaches children to value everyone’s unique qualities.
Explore our world as never before! Find the countries featured in our global stories and discover the animals, architecture and activities that make them special. Laid out by geographic region, our colorful World Atlascelebrates cultural diversity and highlights the ways different people care for this planet we all call home. Features a pull-out map and fold-out booklets and panels, all hand-painted by award-winning illustrator David Dean.
Discover lots more stories from around the world that present a non-stereotypical picture of how kids in different places live. To browse the full collection of Global Books click here.
If you missed the event or want to download some of the resources that we discussed. I have made them available below.
- My Story- Self Portrait Activity– Here you will find instructions and a story-book printable that your children can use to create their own story. This activity is designed to help children think more deeply about the themes presented in The Barefoot Book of Children, as well as reflect on what makes us each special and unique.
- Discussion Guide for facilitating conversations about diversity– This guide offers questions that parents and caregivers can use to prompt children to think about their own identities as well as encourage empathy by stimulating conversation about differences and feelings.
- The Barefoot Book of Children Guide For Grownups– This document contains tips for reading aloud, what to do if you don’t know the answer to something your child asks, follow-up questions to further stimulate your child’s learning, and much more!
Thanks to you all for bringing Barefoot into your homes. These books have really enriched our lives and I am so excited to be part of bringing these messages to your families!