A good thing happened recently: Rita, who’s 4 years old, said she wanted “hair and clothes like Mira”. Mira is the brown-skinned hero from The Naughtiest Unicorn. Previously Rita said she wanted hair and skin like Elsa which I found alarming. Representation in kids books and TV really does matter.
Often we buy books that relate to ourselves. We buy kids books that reflect our own families – a book about a little boy because our child is a boy for example. And that’s totally fine of course, important in fact. Particularly for children of colour, or children who have a disability because at the moment they are under-represented in books… Making some children aspire to be something that is painfully difficult to achieve – like a white person with blonde hair!
We also need books about people who are different to us.
It’s vital to show children (and ourselves) how other people live, what they look like, how they experience life. Having a diverse book collection is not just important (which makes it sound worthy and boring) it’s fantastic. Books about anyone and everyone enrich our lives, make it beautiful, exciting. Make it zing.
Children love hearing about different foods, hairstyles, clothes, families, religions, customs. They love it all and drink it all in without prejudice. So let’s give it to them!