Diverse Children’s Books – June 18, 2016

Diverse Children’s Books is a new book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

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We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, July 2nd and on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most clicked post from our previous #diversekidlit is 2016 Américas Award Winning Children’s Books by Svenja at Colours of Us. She provides a brief description of each of the winners, finalists, and commended titles from this year’s awards announcement. The Américas Award is a great resource for incredible books about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the US.

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Today I’m sharing a book I originally wrote about for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials.

sex

Title:  Sex is a Funny Word
Author: Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
Publisher: Triangle Square
Publication Date: 2015

My Two Cents: When I was growing up a long time ago, getting honest, non-judgmental information about sexuality could be challenging. The internet was still in its infancy, there were few detailed, age-appropriate books available, and the thought of asking parents or teachers personal sex questions was mortifying. The situation could be made even more difficult if you attended a religious school like I did – the general philosophy seemed to be that since students wouldn’t be having sex until they married a person of the opposite gender in a few decades’ time, there wasn’t much point in talking about sex beforehand, and you certainly didn’t talk about sexuality or gender identity.

Oh how I wish books like Sex is a Funny Word were available when I was a curious child. This colourful, non-threatening comic-style sex book goes beyond the basic “birds and the bees” sex ed and talks about sex, sexuality, gender, relationships, body image and more. Potentially uncomfortable or confusing topics are approached with openness, honesty and compassion. Sex is a Funny Word is inclusive, sex-and-body positive and diverse – people come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours, abilities and genders, and sex isn’t something limited to white, cisgendered, hetero, physically-abled individuals.

This is a book about values, as much as it is about sex. ‘Justice means that every person and every body matters’, the author writes, and children are encouraged to be respectful of themselves and of others. Sex isn’t something to be feared, but it is something to be taken seriously and respected. While the target audience is tweens aged 8-12, this is a great resource for teachers, librarians, parents and anyone who might work with young people. It would also be a nice title to have available in a library or classroom for children to read privately, particularly those who might be feeling isolated or afraid to talk to an adult about gender or sexuality. Just realizing that an adult cares enough to have information like this available might help a child realize that they aren’t alone, and that there might be someone they can talk to.

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6 thoughts on “Diverse Children’s Books – June 18, 2016

  1. BrightHawkProductions.com is about publish their first story among more planned that is gender inclusive with a main character with no gender pronouns…under a new publishing company being started by Hollis Taylor the publisher of DiversiTree.org

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds fantastic! Definitely an area that children’s publishers really need to explore – we really need more gender neutral / non-binary / creative / inclusive characters in children’s books.

      Like

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