We’ve always pride ourselves on creating an inclusive library for T, despite the fact that statistically you’re more likely to see an animal, a robot or “other” objects (27%) as the main characters than a person of colour or person with a visible disability. The same goes for children’s authors.
According to the 2017 CCBC study of literature for children and teens, out of 3700 books surveyed, a mere 3.68% (approx 136 books) contained significant LGBTQ+ content. Furthermore, only 41% (approx 56 books) were written by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
With this in mind, we never stop looking for books that feature diverse characters or includes diverse subject matter. Whilst imagination and storytelling has always been key, as T gets older and inevitably starts to ask more questions about the world around him, we’re now investing in more books that can educate and answer these questions direct from the community in question.
Our Kids Are Ready
Last year, I found A Kids Book About… after a friend shared their Instagram page. Their mission is to “make kids books that matter“.
There are no dragons, silly bears, or cute tales about princesses. Only the challenging, empowering, and important topics that kids experience every day. Kids’ lives are complicated, and our mission is to help kids and their grownups have honest conversations about things that matter.AKidsBookAbout.com
Starting with “A Kids Book About Racism“, written by their CEO and Founder, it quickly became evident that both children and parents & guardians needed these books. That one book turned into more, and over time a community of authors joined in to create conversations on topics like feminism, gratitude, and cancer, to name a few.
Our Children Need These Books
Despite following for some time, I never got round to building my collection. However, during a Black Friday deal, I managed to score an absolute bargain. Since then, I’ve added further books to our basket. I’m also eagerly awaiting their collection on the LGBTQ+ community (which I am lead to believe is coming soon!).
During our shopping trip, we decided to get A Kids Book About… Racism, White Supremacy and Disabilities. In our basket, we currently have A Kids Book About Feminism, Empathy, and Adventure, and have pre-ordered A Kids Book About Diversity.
The first thing you’ll notice about these books is that they’re different. Aside from having no imagery, they’re honest, straightforward and direct with the subject matter. They’re far from shy, and prioritise colour and design; inviting the reader on a journey through cleverly placed fonts.
With the lack of imagery, A Kids Book About… want the reader(s) to have a conversation and to delve deep into each topic; discussing real scenarios and examples. The language is appropriate for all ages, and comes from the author’s/authours own experiences of the subject. You really cannot ask for more.
For us, we read these books over a number of sittings across several weeks. Often taking bite size chunks of information. When T wanted to read them or had seen something on the television, we’d simply get them out and carry on from where we left off (or re-read a previous part).
When you decide to purchase a book from A Kids Book About… you can either buy a one-off book (or a few!) or join a one, bi, or three monthly subscription of one, two or three books. Investing in a subscription also then offers a saving of up to 33%.
Each book is separated into three categories; Challenging, Empowerment and Important, and topics are as diverse as the publishing company itself. There are over 35 books to choose from, which means there’s sure to be something to get you started!
What I love the most about A Kids Book About… is that they come from a place believing that you’re already an ally. That you’re wanting to empower and enable yourself / your child(ren) further. The tone doesn’t come across as one that is trying to convince you why you shouldn’t be racist or ableist, for example. But instead encourages you to see the world from a different perspective to become an even better ally.
I would absolutely recommend investing in a few of these books, if you can. They’re not like anything else you’ll ever see, although deciding which ones to start with will be tough – trust me! If you’re white, for example, I would suggest starting with books on race. Or, topics currently affecting you (there’s even one on COVID-19). Later, you can then move onto other topics of conversation to encourage empathy. Such as when a situation arises where you might need to discuss something.