Books for every child

Books for every child

Books for every child

Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message we send when some children are not represented in those books? 

Kira Jean, founder and CEO of The Dreamwork Collective shares her expertise on the subject of diverse literature.

The goal of diverse literature is to expose children to stories that aren't often told. Through such stories, children get to learn about people who might be different from them or going through different challenges they might not face.

Introducing children to a diversity of cultures and ways of life through reading books expands their worldview, develops their empathy and understanding of inclusivity, while combating stereotypes and prejudice. Children learn that despite many differences, people from different parts of the world all share common feelings and aspirations.


When we aim to have a book for every child, the topic of accessibility becomes paramount. We can tell the best stories with characters from all walks of life, but if those books are unable to reach the children they were written for, then we have a big problem. Accessibility concerns not just diversity in books but access to literature.

Research carried out by EDRLab shows that people with a reading disability can read no more than 10% of the books produced annually. Remote parts of the world have less access to diverse literature compared to bustling cities. Folklore tales unique to different cultures get lost amongst those that are picked up by big name publishers or bookstores. Our personal biases influence what we purchase and, therefore, make accessible to the children in our lives.


With the advancement of technology, one would hope addressing issues of accessibility has become easier. But there’s still work to do. As parents, teachers, authors, and publishers, the decisions we make around books influence what a young reader gets to experience when reading.

Together, we can bring children back to books time and time again despite the obvious distraction technology brings. Together, we can develop a love of reading in children that lasts them a lifetime.  The key to achieving this is ensuring we write, publish and purchase books which tell stories that are relevant to the diverse world in which children live in today. 

0-2 Years

  • What did you notice about the character? If your children struggle to respond, you can prompt them by pointing to the different characters’ defining features such as physical appearance, feelings, age, events and experiences.
  •  What did you notice about the story?
  •  Note: avoid judgement by asking what they like/not like. Focus on what they noticed.

3-5 Years 

  • Which character is most like you, and why?
  • Which character is different to you, and why?
  • What do you think it would be like to visit [place the story is set]? What would you eat there? What language would you speak? What would the people be like?

6-9 Years 

  • Which character is most like you, and why?
  • Which character is different to you, and why?
  • What is unique about the main character?
  • Have you ever seen someone like you in a book? How did it make you feel?
  • Have you ever read a book that has a different language in it?
  • Why is it helpful to read about the lives of people who are different from you?
  • If you could write a book about any place in the world, where would it be?

We have some amazing books on global citizenship and cultural diversity. We are sure that will help you teach them to take a closer look at where their families and friends come from while we all live happily together here in our chosen home.