We talk a lot about reading multicultural books in our home, but what can we do to improve diversity and inclusion in our community? You can make a difference with this quick email to your child’s teachers and librarian. Many libraries in the United States have a budget for “patron requests” (example here). Please also see an encouraging response that a mom sent me at the end of the post!
Tips to keep in mind
Feel free to adapt this sample email to your needs. Since my family is Chinese Korean American, my example pertains to racism against Asians, but you’re welcome use it to bring awareness for literature about Black Americans, Latinx Americans, and Native Americans. Aim for brevity and clear, limited requests for a higher chance of success.
Be cautious of sources that you recommend. Due to the impersonal nature of book lists on certain websites, I am concerned that some writers do not read their recommendations. My suspicion is that many websites pull book covers and descriptions from Amazon, perhaps for performative allyship and/or to gain affiliate income.
That being said, feel free to substitute or supplement my recommendations with something you believe is more beneficial and authoritative.
Sample letter to teachers and libraries
I hope that you’re having a great week so far! [Introduce yourself if needed; insert relevant chit-chat; offer sincere thanks for their hard work and dedication to your child.]
In light of the rising violence against Asians occurring throughout the country, I was wondering how we can come together and raise awareness to improve diversity and inclusion in our community.
I would like to share a list of picture books that feature Asians of various ethnicities. The recommendations are by Dr. Betty Choi, a mother, pediatrician, and home educator. It’s not an exhaustive list but rather a starting point. Some of the books shed light on Asian history and culture, while others show Asian kids in everyday contexts.
In addition, @asianlitforkids is an Instagram account that focuses on thoughtful reviews of books with Asian protagonists and authors/illustrators. [The account is hosted by Shuli de la Fuente-Lau, a mother, educator, and assistant principal of an elementary school in California, and she shares one great book almost every day!]
I hope that we can feature these important books in our library and regular school curriculum! Please let me know your thoughts and if you have other suggestions!
Thank you so much for your consideration!
Encouraging response from a librarian
A mom on Instagram sent me this encouraging reply from her local librarian! With permission, she wanted to share this so that we can encourage more people to reach out!
The above photo says:
Thank you so much for passing along this wonderful resource! There are a couple of us who purchase books for these sections of our library so I have made sure to include your email to us all. I have already added a couple titles to my next online cart to order for our library and was happy to see we already own some of the ones recommended here.
I greatly appreciate your input and recommendations,
Youth Services Librarian
What other ways have you reached out to your community?
What other ways can busy parents and teachers improve diversity and inclusion in their communities? Please share in the comments below and let me know what responses you receive!
Together, we can make this world a better place for our kids!