Children's Book Gatekeeper: The Key is in Our Hands 

It is obvious the power publishers have in deciding what content, and whether diverse content, makes it to the marketplace. However, librarians, parents, grandparents, book store owners and teachers are also gatekeepers. Librarians can decide where to direct visitors, parents can choose to purchase books with multicultural characters and teachers can expose their students to ethnically and culturally diverse material. Each of these roles either perpetuates the lack of diversity in children's literature or transcends it by promoting a variety of books that celebrate diversity.

Breaking the Cycle: Why is Our Increasingly Diverse World Not Reflected in Our Children’s Toys?

The 2014-2015 school year was the first time that non-white students outnumbered white students and the likelihood that the next person you meet will be of a different race or ethnicity stands at 55% (USA Today Diversity Index). That is set to increase to 71% by 2060 according to the same study, meaning the next generation, will have more than a 7 in 10 chance of encountering a different race or ethnic group. We are rapidly moving into a more multicultural world and yet, the toys that line the aisles of big box stores like Target and Walmart don’t reflect that diversity.  

Diversity: Let’s Change the Products Offered to our Children

Parents, if we simply rely on Disney and Mattel to decide what images reflect today’s children, we may be waiting a long time for diverse offerings. Many organizations, including Little Proud Kid, have realized that providing multicultural toys and media will require us to become the change we need in order to provide a more immediate solution. 

Culturally Diverse Playtime

We all know that understanding differences starts at home, but the discrepancies aren’t always represented or apparent under our roofs. Relevant literature indicates that children are aware of differences in other kids based on gender or race as young as two years old. As an example, racial awareness begins with self as a toddler to exploring individual identity and being able to identify stereotypes by five or six years of age.