Less than 12% of children's literature represents African American characters. This percentage decreases even more when considering early educational content. In the chart below, provided by diversebooks.org, you see the vast difference in representation across children's literature. Taking a bird's eye view, over 70% of children's literature contains white characters, talking animals, mermaids, unicorns, and general everyday objects.
With a gap in true diverse content in early educational literature, parents are limited to the educational resources they have available to them at home. I was that parent. Looking for educational content where my children felt represented and seen. I was also that child, wishing my hair was a different texture because of the depiction of true beauty.
What many people fail to realize is diverse literature isn't only for melanated people. It is important for children to see equal representation to become adults that give equal respect. This gap in diverse content shows groups of learners aren't connecting with literature while others aren't being exposed to other cultures. By engaging children in culturally responsive content, we know their awareness of diverse cultures and beliefs increases. When a child sees themselves represented, it not only boosts their confidence in what they can accomplish but gives them a sense of pride, equality, and inclusion.
This is why I write specifically early educational literature. To help make a difference in cultural awareness, decrease biases (hair discrimination included), and educate through those very important early years and beyond.
May you forever be represented and always seen.
I love interacting with you. Leave a comment.