Finding Representation In Children’s Books

finding diverse books for children
finding diverse books for kids
finding diverse books for kids

Every since I got pregnant I knew there were certain things I wanted to teach my son. Once I started decorating his room I knew I wanted a little nook where I would be able to read to him as he fell asleep. I bought a bunch of books in English and in Spanish because teaching my son Spanish is important to me. What I noticed is that I didn’t have any books with characters that looked like him or shared any characteristics as him. Nobody with brown skin, pelo rizo, bilingual. No characters that celebrate culture or have a diverse family. I enjoy reading to him about hungry caterpillars, or giving cookies to mice, but we also have to remember to teach our children about who we are. We have to show them that characters that look like them exist. However it’s good for ALL children to have diverse books.

So I went on a mission to find books with Afro-latino representation. Even though not all of the books on my list are about Afro-latinos all of them have been written with the same intention. The need to share stories that exists in our diverse society.

Finding Diverse Books

yo se que puedo diverse book by veronica chapman

Yo Se Que Puedo! By Veronica Chapman

While giving a speech at her high school graduation, Faith, the class valedictorian, shares her childhood dreams, and the lessons that served as the foundation for her courage. I actually found Veronica on Instagram, and was able to chat with her. She has a website called blackbabybooks.com that is an online resource for finding children’s books with black characters. She recently traveled to Panama to do a reading of the Spanish version of her book. While there she noticed there weren’t many books with black representation. She is always adding titles to the BBB site. I love how she is making sure black children of the diaspora are proud to be black and are empowered.

la familia cool by Dania Santana

La Familia Cool by Dania Santana

La Familia Cool is a bilingual, multicultural, multiracial family of five celebrating diversity, family values and identity within a Latino family. Dania is an Afro-latina author, social media influencer, and multiculturalism, diversity, & inclusion expert. I recently followed along on social media as she served as an ambassador at Hispanicize. It’s her mission to educate and empower people all over the US.

pelo malo no existe by sulma arzu-brown

Pelo Malo No Existe by Sulma Arzu-Brown

A book with an anti-bullying message that reinforces respect for individualism. Hispanic and Black children are exposed to the divisive and bullying term, “bad hair,” within their own communities. The term “bad hair” or “pelo malo” is used to describe hair that is usually of curlier texture or of a thick and coarse density. This is irresponsible and often contributes to a child’s low self–esteem, dividing both communities and families.

The book’s purpose is to empower all children by giving them alternate terms to describe their hair, and teaching them the importance of respecting one another’s differences. Sulma is a Garifuna woman born in Honduras. I actually found her in a hash tag on Instagram when I was posting pictures of my son. I love this book because I get asked on a regular basis when I’m going to do something to my son’s hair. However my husband and I love his hair!

Pelo malo quien a diverse book by Yina Guerrero

Pelo Malo, Quien by Yina Guerrero

A book about a girl named Lucia Ricitos who is being made fun of and laughed at by her classmates because she has curly hair. They talk about her curly hair and tell her she has bad hair. However, she later learns that everyone is unique and has different physical features. Yina Guerrero is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

growing girls with curls diverse book by Chantal Maples

Growing Girls With Curls by Chantal Maples

“Magical is what we are and will always be. Black Girl magic is real, black girl magic is me!” Growing Girls With Curls was written to encourage young girls of color to love themselves and the skin they’re in. The first of the Growing Girls With Curls series, filled with stories every young girl of color can relate to. I am proud of this lady! When I started my blogging journey she was one of the few people who actually helped me out. She wrote this book because there weren’t any books she could read to her daughters that represented them. So she did what any mother would do, she did it herself! She also blogs at www.growinggirlswithcurls.com

DLee's Snow Day diverse book by Diana Lee Santamaria

D. Lee’s World by Diana Lee Santamaria

Diana Lee Santamaria created the D. Lee character after her own image. Being a woman of Hispanic descent she grew up not being able to relate to any of the characters she saw in books. She knows the importance of making sure minority children are represented. In her books you will often see a variety of divergent characters. Her books are bilingual with English and Spanish on the same page.

Representation Matters

It is so hard to find books that are representative of Afro-latino culture. I’m hoping that as Santana gets older he will see more of his self represented in books. I know there are a few more diverse books out there. What are your favorites?

Until Next Time!

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thank you for including my book in your list! This is a great list of books and I’m honored to be included. Our children deserve to see positive stories and images that uplift them and show them they can be anything they want to be, and that they are beautiful just the way they are.

  2. I love this post! It is so important for all families to share multicultural books in their homes. When I worked at Head Start it is s performance standard that there must be multicultural books, dolls, toys, etc in each classroom at all times. It is so important!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it. That’s awesome the head start made it a performance standard.

  3. These look like some great books! My big curly hair has always been an issue for me growing up. I used to feel ashamed of it and straightened it a lot. I have grown to love it now, but it would have been great for my self esteem to have these books and love it all along!
    Now, my children are half chinese & half puerto rican and my daughter has straight hair and my son has curly hair. Family says my daughter is lucky to have straight hair and “oh no I see curls coming in, better cut it” for my son. Both of them are beautiful! We must embrace every child’s uniqueness to allow them to grow with a strong positive self image.
    Thanks for sharing!
    ♥️ Jay @ motherbodysoul.com

Talk To Me

%d bloggers like this: