Children’s books reflect the attitudes in our society about diversity, power relationships among different groups of people, and various social identities (e.g., racial, ethnic, gender, economic class, sexual orientation, and disability). The visual and verbal messages young children absorb from books (and other media) heavily influence their ideas about themselves and others. Depending on the quality of the book, they can reinforce (or undermine) children’s affirmative self-concept, teach accurate (or misleading) information about people of various identities, and foster positive (or negative) attitudes about diversity. Children’s books teach children about who is important, who matters, who is even visible.
This article provides suggestions for how to think about and critically evaluate children’s books.
Culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy is a key element of the Language curriculum. This pedagogy "recognizes students’ various cultural and linguistic identities as critical resources in language and literacy instruction and learning."