Diversity in holiday children’s literature

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Books such as “Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever” and “The Real Santa” feature more diverse holiday stories. Photo by Maddie Hess.

Maddie Hess, Staff Writer

Throughout December, a plethora of holidays are celebrated by millions of different people, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and Ōmisoka are a few examples. 

The holiday season inspires joy and excitement in much of the population, specifically those of younger generations. This happiness manifests itself in movies, toys, and often books. 

However, more times than not these items show a white nuclear family celebrating Christmas. While this picture is true for some families in the United States, it most definitely does not represent the whole or even the majority in certain parts of the country. 

Children should be able to see themselves represented in all types of literature. 

Around the holidays it is especially important that kids truly believe that their families, traditions, and religious observations are not only legitimate but matter in the same way others do. 

Kelly Bower, the Library Media Specialist at Emmaus High School, spoke about why this type of diversity and inclusion matter so much.

“You can learn how to be comfortable and feel like you can walk with your head up in the world,” Bower said. 

Throughout American history citizens who celebrate and observe different holidays have been persecuted and treated as “less than,” this history presses the shoulders of everyone who does not feel like they conform to the stereotypical norms. 

Children should not be forced to endure this pressure. 

Handing a child a book that validates their experiences can truly alter the meaning of the holiday season, it can give them the boost they need to enjoy themselves and feel confident in their skin. 

Molly Magro, the Library Media Specialist at Eyer Middle School, described the role adults play in the nurturing and development of a child through literature. 

“It is our duty as caregivers and educators to adequately represent the world to our students and to share the beauty of many different celebrations and cultures with them, and when we can’t do this within our own experiences, books are there to help us build that bridge,” Magro said.

Children’s books depicting holidays other than Christmas exposes the next generation to diversity early in life. Photo by Maddie Hess.

She discusses the importance of not only showing a child themselves but also showing a child the lives and experiences of others. When children are exposed to the vast diversity of the world in a positive light they are less likely to develop harsh or hateful opinions towards those they deem different.

Diversity is necessary for all types of literature but even more so for books about the various different holidays, every child should feel loved and cared for this season.