“Mom, that’s my friend!”

When Emi comes home from daycare, I always ask her how her day way. She usually tells me about what she had for lunch or the art activity that she completed with the children in her class (which is now a much smaller class due to COVID). Once in a blue, she’ll mention a child’s name that I haven’t heard her mention before. When I ask her who she’s talking about, she always has the same response- “Mom, that’s my friend!” Eventually, I see who the child is, and I can proudly say that Emi has friends of all colors, shapes, and sizes.

Knowing that she doesn’t choose her friends based on color or appearance is one of the things I’m proudest of. Yes, she’s only three, but she’s so smart, and she picks up on everything Thomas and I say and do. We always make an effort to appreciate our own kind and those around us who bring light into our lives. It’s something that I knew, even in pregnancy, that I wanted to pay close attention to. I knew that I wanted my child to be anti-racist. I wanted her to be anti-prejudice. I knew I wanted her to appreciate people for who they are, regardless of whether they live life differently than we do, or have a family structure that is different from ours.

As Emi neared preschool, I started to think more about how I can continue to facilitate and instill these positive values. 2020 has been a rough time for us all, and one of the excruciating things we’ve continuously been presented with by the media is (sadly) bigotry. It is important to me as a parent that we combat this as best we can.

In brainstorming how we can bring a positive light into our home, the first thing that came to mind was books. We all know how important it is to read to our young children (if you don’t check out this article), but it’s also great to make sure that what we recite to them teaches them something. I’ve started to compile some books for Emi. I really wanted her to have:

  • Books that positively display people of color
  • Books that represent people who are physically different
  • Books that represent different family structures
  • Books that represent women positively
  • Books that talk about overall acceptance of ourselves and others

Now, are these the only things that matter in books? Of course not. These are, however, topics that I feel are important to highlight to my toddler.

Today I wanted to share some of the books we have (and a few that are on their way) if you wanted to add some to your child’s collection. Here’s what we have.

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Babies Come From Airports: This is the story of a little boy who was adopted, explaining the adoption of his new little sister. It’s a great conversation starter for explaining adoption to children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Vida De Celia: I love this bilingual book highlighting the greatness of Celia Cruz as well as the greatness of Cuban and Spanish culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I Join Your Club?: This book is about a duck who wants to join a club but isn’t accepted by the other animals. Teach your kids to accept those who are not like them. There’s value in everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl of Mine: This book is of a father singing a lullaby to his daughter. Often in books, you see a mother, father, and child, or a mother and child. It’s important to highlight a father-child relationship as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica’s Box: I love that the main character in this book is in a wheelchair because it’s something we rarely see in children’s books. Reading this book was a perfect opportunity for us to experience a teachable moment and openly discuss accepting those with disabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

Me and my Fear: This book addresses the anxiety a young girl fears having immigrated to a new country. She makes a new friend along the way. This book is an amazing one, teaching both acceptance and empathy.

 

 

 

 

 

Rad American Women A-Z: Women have given so many contributions to society. We are amazing, and we should talk about that more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy, Mama, and Me: A beautiful book about a child spending the day with his two mothers, highlighting that a loving family comes in different shapes and sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

I Like Myself: “Me is all I want to be.” This book talks self acceptance. If we want to teach acceptance of others, it starts with acceptance for ourselves.

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