Diversifying Literature from My Library to Yours

I recently completed a children’s literature summer course in which we were prompted to analyze the importance of representation in children’s literature. I was confused to read discussion post responses that expressed the insignificance of diversity.

Hmm.

Similarly to virtually everyone on this earth, I carry many social identities. And a multitude of life experiences have ranked my identities from most to least desirable from a social standpoint.

From a young lens, one of these experiences includes what I saw in media and books. Protagonists with happy endings simply never looked like me.

Instead of letting diverse books find me, I went searching. This year I read titles including

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles

Prioritizing Black and more specifically African authors has been substantial in understanding my own social identities and deservingness of “happy endings”.

So in addition to understanding the importance of representation in literature for young and old audiences, it’s time for you to meet characters with storylines that not only parallel but praise your life, and your story.

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Lisa Gachara

Lisa Gachara

Global health student and storyteller. I hope to challenge mindset & provide understanding for global health issues and personal success alike. lisagachara.com