Mirrors for My Daughter’s Bookshelf
We found this post by author Sara Ackerman in the NY Times and just had to share it with you. Ackerman is a Kindergarten teacher currently living in Ethiopia. She is also an adoptive mother to a young black girl. She shares simply but eloquently about the importance of providing racial and cultural mirrors for her daughter.
While fixing my 4-year-old daughter’s bookshelf, I noticed something missing on the glossy covers of her picture books: girls of color. There were talking cars, imaginary creatures and stories about white men, women and children. I started counting and discovered that only 4 percent of our books featured minorities as main characters, and only one was a black girl like my daughter.
I needed to do more than fix the bookshelf; I needed to remedy the contents.
In her efforts to fill in the gaps on her daughter’s shelves, Ackerman discovered some hard truths about the disparities in children’s literature and publishing, including the difficulty she had even in researching the topic. She gives a quick overview of the history of children’s books that feature children of multicultural backgrounds – a point that is worth considering in itself. She had an even harder time finding literature that highlighted strong black female characters. As she gathered resources and filled her daughter’s bookshelves with her finds, she found the effects of the wider exposure to be immediate.
I had set out to simply reattach the loose brackets of my daughter’s bookshelf. But I ended up installing mirrors, a much more needed repair.
What a beautiful metaphor for “learning what to pay attention to” in transracial adoptive parenting.
Creating a Family has a great resource list of books for families built by transracial adoption. Check it out and see if your favorites are there!