Friday, 5 September 2014

Why We Need More Diverse Books

Little Scribbles is a passionate supporter of all things that promote diversity and equality when it comes to children. Since starting up this blog and opening our Little Scribbles Stories online shop I have come across so many wonderful books that celebrate cultures from all over the world and shout out about how we are different yet all the same. My journey into diverse books really took off when I came across Barefoot Books, for whom I am now an ambassador for. I had just had my daughter and was looking for a book about Kenya, a country that I left a little bit of my heart in a few years ago, so I could tell her all about my time there and enjoy a traditional Kenyan village tale. I found Mama Panya's Pancakes in the Barefoot Book store, ordered it straightway and my love affair with the company began. The range of multicultural and diverse books Barefoot have on offer are superb, ranging from magical tales from Nepal in 'Chandra's Magic Light' to stories from a very vibrant India in Indian Tales.  I have since gone on to develop my book store by adding a wider variety of books and storytelling accessories that celebrate diversity, introducing children to same-sex marriage, disability, different type of family and much more.

Whilst I am out and about at events and storytelling sessions in my community it is wonderful to see people so engaged with the books that I stock. I recently had one little girl so ecstatic to find a doll on my stall that looked just like her, which was both heartwarming and sad at the same time. We need diverse books in order for children to learn about different cultures and countries but equally we need them so that every child can relate to stories and images that they see on the page. I do feel proud that I can introduce diversity to children and schools through my storytelling and it is great that when somebody asks if you have a book about Nigeria as my brother has just adopted a child from there and i just happen to have one on the stall (Catch That Goat). This is why we need diverse books.

On the flip side of all the positive responses I get for my books there is still much work to be done. It is so disappointing to hear parents tell there little boy that he can't have a book because its for girls or for children to chuckle at the doll with darker skin than theirs. This is why we need diverse books.

It is also disappointing to see rows and rows of books about princesses,knights, pirates and fairies all neglecting the diversity we see around us. Children's education and reading should be varied and stretch both knowledge and imagination. It should create conversations about our place in the world and the importance of accepting others. This is why we need diverse books.


  1. Hello Little Scribbles! What a great blog post! As someone who currently lives in Kenya, I constantly see local kids reading books with one dimensional, Caucasian characters. Te subliminal message is "Books are for are about one type of people." This is why barefoot books are so special because they celebrate every race, every age, every ability. It's such an important, underrated dialogue to be having.

    1. Thank you Rebecca. Barefoot are amazing aren't they? AmI right in thinking that you are an ambassador too?

      Quite jealous of you living in Kenya, such a beautiful country