Recommended Reading Children’s Books on Diversity

Do children's books adequately reflect the diversity of society?
Do children's books adequately reflect the diversity of society? | Photo (detail): Wavebreak Media LTD © picture alliance / Wavebreak Media

The Goethe-Institut Finnland has asked colleagues around the world to name best-practice examples in the context of the project “DRIN” on representation in children’s literature.

You Matter

Christian Robinson | USA | English | June 2020

“They All Saw a Cat” meets “The Important Book” in this sensitive and impactful picture book about seeing the world from different points of view by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honoree Christian Robinson.

In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.

The Day Saida Arrived

Susana Gómez Redondo | Spain | Spanish, German, English | 2016

Two girls forge a long-lasting friendship by learning each other’s language. “The Day Saida Arrived” demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders.

What happens when a new friend arrives who doesn’t speak your language? A young girl searches for the words to help her friend feel welcome and happy in her new home, and along the way learns about differences and similarities in countries and words. The two forge a strong bond while they each learn the other’s language, exploring the world around them. A joyous, lyrical text - including English translations and pronunciations and the complete Arabic alphabet - offers an accessible, fresh approach to talking about immigration. Paired with lushly vivid illustrations, The Day Saida Arrived demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders.

Los Carpinchos

Alfredo Soderguit | Spain | Spanish, French | 2020

A picture book about the (new) friendship between chickens and capybaras and about all friendships.

On the day these strange, big and furry animals arrived, nobody had any doubts: NO! There was no place for them. But the capybaras could not return home, because the hunting season had started ... Therefore, capybaras and chickens must establish a coexistence that will be a revelation.

Puu

C. G. Salamander, Samidha Gunjal (Illustrator) | India | English | 2018

In “Puu” a nameless little girl who is drawn to be similar to other children of her age is shown to be scavenging for “flowers” in garbage dumps, sills and sewers.

All the while she dreams of building with her hands recycling waste materials discarded. She is warm and affectionate but her only companions seem to be the pigs living in the garbage. Unfortunately her classmates do not see or are too prejudiced to see this side of her but treat her like a pariah by keeping their distance from her.

Dinosaurs of Tendaguru/Dinosaria wa Tendaguru

Cassian Magori, Charles Saanane | Tanzania | Kiswahili | 1998

In its pictures and a partly fictional story, the book tells the story of dinosaurs that lived approximately 150 million years ago in East Africa. (Wikipedia)

“Their skeletons were excavated between 1906 and 1913 in the former colony of German East Africa and until today represent the most important excavations of dinosaur fossils found in Africa. As the book is directed towards young readers in Tanzania, the authors invented a partially new narrative to put the story of the discovery, the subsequent excavations, and the scientific knowledge about natural history and the life of dinosaurs into a contemporary African perspective.” (Source: Wikipedia)