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6 books to read with your kids that celebrate differences and diverse lives

“When you see yourself reflected in literature…it enlarges your ideas of what is possible for you.”

Those are the words of novelist Jesmyn Ward, who recently told NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown that when she was a child, she wished she could have had the chance to read “about an 8- or 9-year-old girl of color who was having some amazing adventure in some magical place.”

Children’s books can offer vital visibility and representation, as well as teach us to see experiences beyond our own. In 2016, 22 percent of children’s books were written or illustrated by, or written about, people of color, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, which has tracked these statistics since 1994.

At the Georgetown Day School Lower and Middle School Library in Washington, D.C., librarian Kay Miller strives to create a “window” that “allows the reader to learn about other realities and experiences that differ from their own,” and to act as a mirror to reflect the reader’s own life.

The library publishes reading lists for different grades, with books that highlight diverse characters and storylines to present different perspectives and an outlet for children and parents to discuss issues of diversity and tolerance.

“We don’t always buy the most popular books, but instead focus on diversifying our collection based on social or cultural identifiers: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, age, and socioeconomic status,” Miller said. “Sometimes the books explicitly discuss these social identifiers for the child reader, and others we hope an adult will bring to the surface some of the more subtle ways in which the book presents” them.

Here are Miller’s five recommendations for children’s books that teach about diversity:

1. “The Journey” by Francesca Sanna (2016)

In light of what

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