Every year for MCBD we get the most amazing array of people and talents. I (Becky) truly love getting to know each and every one of our authors, publishers, and reviewers.
This year is just as exceptional with one extra unique stand-out; we have several Doctors who Write Diverse Books for Kids this year and that is just so admirable! Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to ask these docs what it was that inspired them to write their book. Enjoy!
Juan J. Guerra, MD, and The Little Doctor/El doctorcito
Dr. Crystal Bowe and Doc Like Mommy and The Patience Song
Dr. Melissa Martin and Tessie Tames Her Tongue
As I child therapist, I provide services for children of various ethnicity and I found a lack of diverse therapeutic picture books for kids so I wanted multiracial characters in my book. Homes, schools, libraries, and child therapy offices need more diverse picture books. Kids need to see children that look like themselves in books. Caucasian children need to read diverse picture books to learn about multiracial children and to develop empathy for other cultures.
Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle, PhD in Child and Adolescent Development from Stanford University and LaDonna Plays Hoops
Why do I Write Multi-Cultural, Own Voices Fiction for Children?
My friend Becky Flansburg asked me to think about this question. My answer to this question is important to me personally and professionally. I have personal experiences, professional experiences, and professional knowledge that set me on a quest to publish Multi-Cultural, Own Voices Fiction for Children. By the way, my quest to write began 3 decades ago and continues still today.
My personal experiences began when I was a girl who loved to read books. I enjoyed reading, but I could not relate fully to the protagonists in the books I read. The protagonists and their lives seemed different from I and my life were. I learned early that my life was not depicted or written about in the books I read. Additionally, the characters who were of my same gender and ethnic group seemed negative and undesirable. I would read books as a child and feel invisible or defective in some way.
Now as a Child and Adolescent Development professional, I realize that I was not the only one who had these experiences. Moreover, research shows that these early reading experiences impact the psychological development of children, especially African-American children and other children of color. As the mother of a young child, I have seen the impact on him, too. I still read books for children to my son and for my own personal and professional reasons. Although, there are more books about children of color, or children with varying abilities, or children with varying religions, or children with other differences; there are still not enough in terms of the numbers. Additionally, these stories may sometimes be insensitive and sometimes still depict children who are diverse as negative, undesirable, or defective in some way.
Currently, when I write Multi-Cultural, Own Voices fiction for children, I try to depict my cultural experiences and life in as positive and accurate a manner as possible. Stories such as these are good for all children to read, even those from the majority culture. Stories such as these are good for our United States and global societies. These stories need to be written, read, and heard. These stories will have some unique aspects and some universal aspects. Nevertheless, these own voice stories need to be told.
Be sure and click the images to check out these wonderful author/doctors and their books.
Be sure and check out our robust and extensive Diversity Book Lists & Resources for Teachers and Parents!
Kimberly Biddle says
This is wonderful, Becky! Thanks for sharing this.
Rebecca Flansburg says
You are SO welcome, Dr. Biddle!
I’ve love to submit a new children’s book for consideration for children’s multicultural day. “Grandfather Thunder & The Night Horses” is a Lakota (Native American) creation story written in both Lakota and English. Not a few “Indian” words tossed in but full Lakota text (through a partnership with the Lakota Language Initiative in Pine Ridge, South Dakota – from the reservation)! I am the author/illustrator and of Blackfeet (Sioux) and Iroquois descent. The book is available on Amazon.com. Thank you!
Children’s & Young Adult Author/Illustrator