Updated: Jul 31
Reading books create the first map for children in understanding and navigating the world. Reading an illustrated book to your child will aid your child to mind travel and learn about their surroundings. These illustrations should conform with the child's way of life to give them a sense of belonging and an assurance that there are other children just like them. You can then gradually introduce books of diverse cultures, books showing kids with special abilities, gender identities and roles; and other prevalent themes in modern society.
So, what are some of the characteristics of a good inclusive read?
The book should be interesting and exciting for young minds- Look for books that have characters and a plot that your child can relate to and creates a sense of curiosity.
The pictures and text are original and well-represented- Sensitive issues such as race themes should be clearly illustrated in the pictures.
Diversity in the books should come in a natural and incidental way- This will help the child relate to people who are different in society. The plot of the storyline should bring up questions leading to a discussion and a reflection on the child's part.
Free from stereotypes- The books should demonstrate to readers the fact that one should not judge a person by their physical attributes but rather by what they are capable of. This will help create a future that is free of current social vices such as racial discrimination, Religious war crimes and create a cohesive society in the future.
Now that we have an insight on what features to look for in a good diverse read, here are the benefits that your child will reap from such reads:
Inclusive books aid in teaching and learning various curriculum topics- A child will easily learn history and geography from a well-written book. A child can learn about the world's major events such as world war and major events in history that have shaped our current way of life. In geography, they might learn about the major landmarks and various continents. Other themes include; aquatic life, plants, animals, technology, electricity, philosophy e.t.c.
Inclusive books are stimuli for creativity- By learning about different cultures and various way of life, a child can come up with intricate work of art or develop great writing skills as diverse books elicit curiosity and are a source of inspiration.
They promote equality and the need to embrace it- The books widen a child’s mind horizon hence enhancing social cohesion and building tolerance of other people's character and behaviour.
A source of role models and an understanding of a child’s interest- A child will lean on doing things that are interesting and easy to do. By observing which books your child is mostly spending time on, you can then develop them in that line. Books about role models and people who have achieved great milestones in that line of career should be made available for the kid.