It’s 2017, we are more connected to each other than ever, yet we still don’t see our children’s literature reflecting our multi-cultural society. Diversity has become a buzzword in media, and we all agree we need more of it; but if it is actualized, it usually only represents African American, or to a lesser degree, Latino communities. Our books are missing the heart of a rich, vast landscape of so many cultures we live amongst.

Describing what an American would look like in todays world is exciting in that, it could be and is anything. Our demographics are rapidly changing and ever evolving along with our complexions. Our kids want to see books with characters that look like them, their friends, and all the places they hope to visit one day. And we want to promote tolerance, acceptance, and humanity. We wish to teach, not perpetuate stereotypes, and boost confidence in our kids so they all can be individuals who celebrate where they come from.

A fresh standard of story telling? Books that capture what it means to be an American today. Characters that defy gender and ethnic biases. More feisty and forthright female voices from a spectrum of cultural backgrounds. Introduced YOUNG. Gone should be the days where there are only a handful of books that deal with these themes, and even then, only homogenize them. Its high time we catch up to the times we are living in and rather, have a medium populated with an abundance of smart choices – that emphasize the universal, without losing the specific. 

So our kids can finally feel that they are not just part of a passing novelty, but preferred, cool, and the new normal…fearless and inspired to be true global citizens.

I am thrilled to share that my first children’s book, ALWAYS ANJALI will be published in the coming year. I am humbled to be able to bring these stories into the landscape. Please stay tuned for more details.

In the meantime, you can read more about it here.

 

-Sheetal Sheth

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