For those of us who celebrate holidays in December, another season of gift giving and receiving is upon us. What a fantastic opportunity to add some diversity to our kids’ book and toy collections as well as help out friends and family by doing the same for their kids! Below, you will not find a comprehensive list by any means, but I wanted to provide a few suggestions to get everyone started, and at the very least, plant the seed to seek out diversity this holiday season. Included are books and toys my family owns and enjoys or items that are on our wish list. My kids are young (three and one) so this compilation is geared more towards infants through Kindergarteners.
Whenever possible, I buy local so the books are linked to my favorite independent book store here in Atlanta, Charis Books & More. Charis is the oldest independent feminist book store in the South and happens to be run by a former classmate of mine and her partner.
One Love (3-5 years old) – An adaptation of Bob Marley’s song, “One Love”, that features an African-American family building a garden/park with their community. The age range says 3-5, but my one-year-old daughter adores this book.
All Fall Down (infant-5 years old) – With simple rhymes and racially diverse babies, it’s a perfect book to practice naming race with infants and toddlers. Other family favorites by this author are Say Goodnight, Clap Hands and Tickle, Tickle.
And Tango Makes Three (Pre K-8 years old) – A highly recommended book that’s based on the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who start a family.
Chocolate Me! (4-8 years old) – Another book that comes highly recommended about a young black boy who is teased by his peers for looking different from them. Through the help of his mother, he learns to celebrate his beauty.
Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type (3-8 years old) – A hilarious book that shows the power of peaceful protest. My son has enjoyed this book since he was one.
I Like Myself (Pre K+) – A story about self-love in a language style reminiscent of Dr. Seuss with an African-American girl as the protagonist.
Multicultural washable markers – Incorporate marker colors that offer more realistic skin tone options for our little ones to use.
Fisher Price Little People – Fisher Price needs to up their diversity game and we have so many sets that have been gifted to us over the years that are 100% white. While there are not many characters of color to choose from, I plan on buying what they have for stocking stuffers.
Multicultural instrument set – A beautiful, albeit expensive, alternative to a musical instrument set. Learn about the instruments in the bag and have fun making music!
Culturally Diverse People kit – Perfect for the art project lover!
Lanke Kade dolls – These fair trade, cloth dolls, come in many different skin tone shades and hair color combos.
LEGO Education DUPLO World People set – Add diversity to your child’s LEGO set with these characters.
The abundance of consumerism can feel overwhelming this time of year. I’m excited to flip the script a bit by using the season as an opportunity to purchase and request items that add more diversity to my children’s play things.
What toys and books that promote diversity are you adding to your kids’ wish lists? Please share in the comments below. Happy Holidays, Striving Parents!