A Reflection on Juneteenth
The nationwide protests against racism and police brutality has really brought Juneteeth to the forefront this year, celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. I’ll admit, it wasn’t something I ever learned in school. I didn’t even know the holiday existed until perhaps three or four years ago, when Ossining had a banner up advertising a Juneteenth celebration (Ossining is 17.3% black versus 4.7% for Islip, Long Island, where I grew up).
The past month has brought on a lot of reflection about how I can personally do better in understanding the realities of the world and chip away from the bubble I grew up in, despite my thinking I wasn’t in a bubble. One way is to expand my children’s understanding of the world early, especially since they are of mixed (Taiwanese, Italian, and Irish) background.
For one, it has become clear to me as we work on our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten project that there is not enough cultural and ethnic diversity in the books we read. Most of them (especially Golden and Disney books) feature predominantly white characters. So as we build our library going forward, I would like to make sure we have more diversity in the books. I’m thankful that there are some wonderful resources out there to point me in the right direction:
- 50 Children’s Books That Celebrate Diversity by The Everymom
- The 2020 Ultimate List of Diverse Children’s Books by Here Wee Read
- 30 Children’s Books About Diversity That Celebrate Our Differences by Book Riot
- 19 Empowering Books with Black Characters by Penguin Books
- 30 Realistic & Historical Fiction Books with Black Main Characters by School Library Journal
- Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls and Multicultural Fiction by A Mighty Girl
- 200 of the Best Diverse Children’s Books for Preschooler by Darcy Reeder
- Books with Characters of Color by Common Sense Media
- Kids Like Me: 18 Books with Diverse Main Characters by Brightly
- Kids’ Books About Race That Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion by Time Out
What are some of your favorite books?