It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of that tapestry are equal in value no matter their color. – Maya Angelou
It is June 2020 and we find ourselves in the midst of a time where words and ideas like equality, inclusion, kindness, acceptance, and love surround our conversations on an almost daily basis. It is a time that calls for momentous change. Teaching these qualities to our children can be done in many ways, and one of our favorites is through books!
At AIM, when we face something new, we challenge ourselves to learn. We learn everything we can about someone new in our lives that we want to support. When someone for whom we care struggles, we educate ourselves even further so we can enhance their lives. We advance our own minds in order to better someone else’s life.
Many do not know what it is that a Direct Support Professional does, how prevalent it is that someone is born with a disability (1 in 6), or have a deep understanding of the challenges a person with diverse abilities faces on a daily basis.
It’s never too early to teach the power of inclusion, encouraging acceptance of that which makes each one of us unique, to remind people that our beauty has nothing to do with how you look, and to increase awareness of diversity. To begin teaching your children at a young age what it means to accept and include, is an answer to the question of how we can change the world. We hope the following books help the children in your life on their journey to make the world a better place. Here are our top 5 picks!
#5 Lovely by Jess Hong
Lovely by Jess Hong is an important book with a simple statement; WE ARE ALL LOVELY. Our color, our size, our shape, our abilities, and the people we love makes us unique and lovely. Embrace yourself and know just how lovely you are!
#4 Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o is an award winning book focused on a young girl’s journey where she learns that her true beauty lies within herself. Inner beauty is the true determinant of who you are. The author wants everyone to love the skin they are in and see the beauty that radiates from within.
#3 A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon tells a fun and entertaining story that teaches young readers to be themselves. In life, not everyone is going to like every one of your choices or enjoy the same things that you do. If you are able to be true to yourself and not worry about other’s opinions, then you are going to be ok. Accept yourself before worrying about other’s acceptance of you.
#2 Johnny & Jake’s Last Day of Summer Vacation by John Thurber
Johnny & Jake’s Last Day of Summer Vacation by John Thurber. This story follows two young boys on their adventures on their last day of summer vacation. This book is written by our friend that we have the pleasure of supporting at AIM Services. His intellect and spirit inspire us every single day. John reminds us of the age old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. John may require the use of a wheelchair and have limited mobility in his arms, but his world is big. John does taekwondo, lives independently in his own apartment, and wrote this wonderful book. John’s hopes and dreams are empowered by the support in his life that says “how”, never “no”, throughout his many adventures.
#1 Cameron Goes to School by Sheletta Brudidge and Lily Coyle
Cameron Goes to School by Sheletta Brundidge and Lily Coyle. This is the true story of Sheletta’s daughter who is about to begin kindergarten. Cameron is a young African American with autism. It is the goal of the authors to challenge the narrative of who autism affects. Even more, this story will help all kids, and their parents, when they prepare for their first day of school.
In writing this list, we discovered so many amazing and powerful pieces of literature that inspire our young children to embrace differences and celebrate diversity.
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