When Nina Kharofueh was a child, no one in the stories she read looked like her. The characters all had white names, even the animals. So, when she grew up, she decided to stop complaining about seeing no hijabi girls in kid's books and do something about it. That's how her book "I’m a Princess Too" came about.


Research shows that exposure to reading material early in a child’s life has both an immediate and long-term effect on their vocabulary, general knowledge and comprehension skills. But studies have also shown that non-white children who see their own identities and experiences reflected have higher self-esteem, better social-emotional functioning, and increased classroom engagement.

So, with that data freely available, why is there such a dearth of children’s books that include diverse characters with diverse attributes? In the UK, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education found that only 7 percent of children’s books published in Britain in 2018 had a Black, Asian or minority ethnic character.

But, there is a growing movement to change the people and topics covered by children’s books. In this episode, we’ll speak with the authors fighting to diversify the world of children’s publishing.

 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

 

Matthew A. Cherry, @MatthewACherry
Author of “Hair Love”
matthewacherry.com

 

Nina Kharoufeh, nina_kharoufeh
Author of “I’m a Princess Too”
authorhouse.com

 

Sailaja Joshi, @BharatBabies
Founder and CEO of Bharat Babies
bharatbabies.com

 

Read more:

Turning Pages: The push for greater diversity in children's books - Sydney Morning Herald 
British children’s books are still too white – responsibility to change them is on all involved - The Conversation

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