In today’s increasingly diverse society, an early exposure to cultural diversity, which comes with a wealth of benefits for children, is not just more important than ever, it is necessary. Here are three reasons why it is crucial that multicultural books are on every child’s reading list.
1. Cultural competency – Social and emotional development
Multicultural literature teaches children about cultures other than their own, and in doing so, promotes children’s open-mindedness and acceptance of people from different backgrounds. Learning about different cultures helps children to better understand, respect, and appreciate the differences that exist among individuals in terms of traditions, beliefs, and practices. This respect and understanding will in turn allow children to build healthier relationships with others, and in the long term, set children up for success when navigating a diverse, globalized world as they grow older.
2. Representation and inclusivity – Boost of self-esteem
Stories touch us most when they serve mirrors in which we see ourselves and our life experiences reflected in the story and its characters. As our classrooms evolve to be more and more diverse by the day, multicultural stories help to reflect that reality by allowing students from diverse backgrounds to see themselves, their culture, and their ethnicities represented in the books they read. That wonderful feeling of seeing parts of your own life showcased in front of classmates acts as a nice boost of self-esteem, and further helps to develop a sense of belonging.
3. Empathy and respect – Exposure to different perspectives
Exposing children to different ways of life and diverse perspectives is also a great way to help cultivate empathy towards others. Empathy involves understanding or feeling what others are experiencing from their frame of reference, and multicultural books are great way to kindle that kind of capacity. They offer children a glimpse into ways of life that may be drastically different from theirs and allow children to practice processing situations from others’ perspective.
Whether at school or at home, multicultural books are a wonderful resource that can be used to help open the eyes of children to a wider world. Here at Phunics, we have created our stories with the goal of letting children discover the world while learning to read. Here is a hand-picked selection of stories to check out if you’re looking to supplement your student’s reading program with books that allow them to discover different cultures around the world:
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