I’m so happy to announce the diverse books summer reading challenge!
For a while now, I’ve been considering ways to encourage families to use their summer reading time to broaden their perspectives. I knew I didn’t want to make it too prescriptive, but instead wanted to have lots of open-ended ways for you to explore the beauty of diversity through children’s literature.
Especially in the wake of recent domestic and global events, it feels like an ever-more-important time to center diverse perspectives, especially those of people from marginalized communities. It’s just one piece of a giant puzzle of effort, but an important one. I want my children growing up with understanding, compassion, and appreciation for the varied people and perspectives in our world, and know many of you do, too.
What Is the Diverse Books Summer Reading Challenge?
The Diverse Books Summer Reading Challenge is a way to encourage families to use some of their summer vacation to seek out a variety of perspectives, center inclusion in a fun and meaningful way, and connect with each other through a variety of wonderful children’s literature.
While it’s of course not comprehensive in reflective every single area of diversity, I’ve done my best to include a breadth of perspectives across multiple factors, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, diet, dress, socioeconomic and housing status, and more. I hope this is helpful in truly broadening the perspectives you and your children hear.
We can all do a better job of evaluating what voices are dominant in our lives, and I hope this helps. While it’s just one small piece, I’m convinced that children’s literature is a very important part of cultivating inclusion and equity in our communities and in our world.
How Many Books Should I Read?
There are 50 prompts for reading inclusive children’s literature through the summer. While I’m guessing the number of prompts will work best for families to read a wide variety of picture books, you’re of course more than welcome to use some or all of them to seek out some terrific chapter books, as well.
As far as the actual number of books, it’s completely up to you how you choose to work through the challenge! Perhaps you’ll print a chart for each child to color in as you read 50 picture books together. Maybe you’ll divide up the challenges amongst members of your family. Perhaps you’ll count some books for multiple categories and read fewer books overall (for instance, you might find a folktale written by a Caribbean author who lives outside the US). Or maybe you’ll just pick 3 or 5 or 10 prompts to guide a portion of your reading. It’s your choice! And remember that doing even a little bit is so much better than doing nothing at all.
Where To Get the Free Printable
I created a simple and fun printable that includes all 50 prompts and allows you to color in a book each time you read. Print it out, tape it up on your door or your fridge or next to the bed and have fun reading!
If you’re looking for ideas for books that fit the various prompts, here are a few lists that I’ve put together previously that might help:
- 2022 Global Children’s Book Club
- A-Z Global Children’s Book Club: 26 Picture Books from Around the World
- Diverse Kids’ Books About Love
- Voting & Elections Picture Books Featuring Diverse Leaders
- Picture Books About Women Leaders
- National Parks Books + Coloring Passport
- Alternatives to Dr. Seuss Day
- Middle Grade Books About Immigration
And here are some other accounts that provide fantastic, inclusive book lists, both on their blogs and their Instagram accounts:
- Here Wee Read
- The Book Wrangler
- Books For Diversity
- Shelves of Color
- Ditto Kids
- Inclusive Storytime
- Asian Lit for Kids
- Little Feminist Book Club