Representation in Children’s Books MATTERS
Multicultural Children’s Book Day is upon us again and we want to bring to your attention why representation in children’s books matters. Kamala Harris has been sworn in as the first female, first Asian-American, and first African-American vice-president of the United States. As we see this happen on our TV screens, we realize once again how important representation in children’s books is.
Children should be able to find themselves in a book.
Representation does matter!
The actress Mindy Kaling, mentioned her daughter’s reaction to Kamala Harris on Instagram today:
” “I was at work, but apparently she said: “Is that mommy? It looks like mommy.” Best compliment I ever got! It matters. “
– Actress Mindy Kaling
All kids should be able to see a character that looks like themselves represented, this is why we feel so strongly about representation in books for kids.
An international school librarian gave me this amazing comment, years ago, when I asked her to give me an honest opinion of our first book The Underwater Story.
“I love the story and the illustrations are gorgeous, but what I am really excited about is the idea behind these books. I can finally offer a book with an Indian looking child.”
– An amazing Librarian at an International School
25% of the students attending her school are Indian children and she had real issues finding books for kids that look Indian and/or have Indian sounding names, so she quickly ordered a book for a boy called “Aaditya”. Best of all she ordered the book in a combination of German and English, the two main languages taught at the school.
This is what TimTimTom Books is all about?
Before starting with TimTimTom Books, I have to admit we were very ignorant about representation in children’s literature. So many kids grow up never seeing a character that looks like themselves in a book. We quickly understood that diversity is actually a big issue in kid’s literature. Research suggests that 75% of characters in children’s books are white.
We realized that we can definitely make a difference in how kids see themselves represented in books. This is the reason why we decided to not stop at only publishing bilingual books, as we had originally intended, but also to allow the main character to be customized in name and appearance in all our books. The main character can actually look exactly like the child, which many other personalized books are not capable of.
Why does representation in kid’s literature matter?
Kids, especially younger kids, that are starting in their “reading careers”, enjoy reading more if they have a link to the story and especially to the main character. This is where personalized books can make a difference, especially in that first step of enticing kids to read, or being read to, for fun.
Seeing yourself as the lead character of a book gives you an idea of what you might become. It makes you dream bigger and feel that this could be you. In other words, diversity in literature does matter. Additionally, our stories include a message of helping others, hard work and resilience, so that each child becomes the hero of their very own aspirational story.
What is Multicultural Children’s Book Day?
For the fourth year running we are proud sponsors of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (yes, you are right a mouth-load, so MCBD for short). An organization set to celebrate diversity in children’s books. MCBD’s focus is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries.
We hope you can join us in checking out MCBD and spreading the word. There are loads of books up for grabs on the 29th of January, 2021 – check out the details.
In the next few days, we will be posting the reviews of our amazing MCBD partners – bloggers, librarians, multilingual parents who believe that representation makes a big difference in preparing our kids for their future world.
We hope you will enjoy the ever-increasing diversity in kid’s literature…#ReadYourWorld #Diversekidlit
Book Reviews for the 2021 Multicultural Children’s Book Day:
Bicultural Mama A beautiful review by Maria Adock, the creator of Bicultural Mama, who is raising her children bilingual, Chinese-English. In her own words; “We loved the book!”. This was the first mama blog I followed, so definitely a bit star-struck over here ????
A bilingual and personalized story that will spark your kid’s imagination and language ability.
You can customize the name and look of the child and choose any combination of two out of ten available languages.
(Some available language combinations: English-Spanish, English-German, English-Russian, English-Chinese, English-Portuguese, English-Italian, English-Dutch, English-French, French-German, Russian-German, Spanish-German.)
The books are now also available in one language
TimTimTom – Reading in Two Languages is Double the Fun