Edited by Ellen Oh, published 2017
“You plead with the guys standing on the sidelines. “You gotta let me play, man. I can ball. I swear.” But these outbursts of self-promotion will fall on deaf ears.”
“Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.” Simply stated, as the editor of this children’s book learned and acted on, “We need diverse books.” As part of the mission to bring diversity to children’s books, this collection of short stories is a perfect addition. In this one small collection, we encounter very worthwhile literature for African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans, Latinos… who did I miss? And yet every single story reads as if anyone of any background could understand and relate to the story. Because in some way, each story in this children’s book is about a young person finding their way, in the midst of, because of, and in spite of their own unique background. The universal issues of growing up in a confusing world, holding on to ones dreams no matter what, transcend backgrounds and biographies.
Each story in the children’s book is written by an author who has terrific credentials in children’s literature. The result is that if your child loves one of the stories, they can then track down full-length books by the same author.
I particularly like the short story format in a world where children are getting more and more used to sound bites. The beauty of a well-written short story is that it is both fully satisfying, and leaves you wanting more. That’s a perfect recipe for building strong reading interests.
The stories in this children’s book feature both boys and girls as main characters, so the cross-gender empathy can also be cultivated. And check out the website for We Need Diverse Books. I know I will, to find more gems like this.