Why diversity in children’s books matters?

‘Kevin The Kangaroo That Couldn't Hop’ is a book about diversity and inclusion that helps teach children through the adventures of the animal characters how being kind, friendly and non-judgemental can mean everyone ends up happy.

Kevin and his animal friends all have the simple, non-critical innocence of youth, with their only ‘criteria for inclusion’ in the big play-group being that everyone involved is nice: They don’t discriminate on the grounds of ‘species’ (‘race’), looks or ability, their friendships are based purely on them liking each other and they are all happy to help each other out with any problems whenever needed…

Children are ‘blank canvases’

Children are born unbiased, ‘blank canvases’ onto which their characters, opinions and personalities get ‘painted’ as they grow and the information and education they receive from books forms a big part in directing them along the paths they take and outlooks they have as they move through life, ultimately making them the adults they become. It can also help dictate how they behave in our World full of very diverse and different people from many varied backgrounds, but despite this very few books for younger children address or deal with these areas of understanding.

image: freepic.com

Children should be interacting with others

There’s no proven ‘clinical’ link or even guaranteed connection between open-mindedness and niceness, though plenty anecdotally, but there is an absolute mountain of medical & social evidence to show that children, especially in the 1 – 5 year age range who are excluded from interacting with others are frequently negatively affected by the experience, often developing feelings of ‘abandonment’ and becoming ‘detached from society’ in later life: The more an individual learns about diversity and inclusivity as a child the more likely they are to feel comfortable with, possibly even embrace, the concepts as an adult, in the process helping more fully equip themselves for their journey through life.

Lack of a 'diverse and inclusive upbringing' could start a conflict

Most adult conflicts big and small occur as a result of one or more parties not accepting, understanding or being fearful of the others’ position or point of view, which itself is often a result of them having had little experience in interacting with or accepting points of view from people of (possibly very) different upbringings than themselves: The difference(s) may be racial, cultural, religious, philosophical or other but the result is often the same and the fallout can sometimes be devastating – most wars start as a result of initial misunderstandings and/or distrust between people often caused by the lack of a ‘diverse and inclusive upbringing’.

So, though unlikely to directly stop a major international conflict on its own ‘Kevin The Kangaroo That Couldn’t Hop’ might just be a teeny-tiny input that helps start someone down the road to understanding…! 😊

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