Why Creating Neurodiverse Spaces in Literature is a Must

Dec 9, 2023 | Neurodiversity

Research shows children react positively to relatable representation. During my book reading, I witnessed first-hand that seeing children who look like them and have relatable experiences has a positive experience on their self-esteem.

This is why diversity in children’s books is crucial for children of color. It allows them to see themselves represented in the stories they read and the characters they encounter. This representation helps them feel valued and seen in a world that often ignores or stereotypes them.

Unfortunately, for far too long, children’s literature has been dominated by white, characters and animals with little representation of diverse perspectives. This lack of diversity can harm a child’s sense of self-worth, as it limits their exposure to different cultures and experiences. It can also perpetuate harmful stereotypes and reinforce biases.

When children of color see themselves reflected in literature, it can significantly impact their sense of identity and self-worth. It allows them to feel proud of their heritage and culture and helps to combat the negative messages they may receive from society.

Diversity in children’s books is not just about representation but about creating stories that accurately reflect their experiences, free from stereotypes and harmful messages. Oftentimes, when I would do book readings for Liam’s First Cut, so many little boys thought the story was about them! The relatability even crossed lines to children of different races. 

As parents, educators, and authors, we must work together to create a more diverse and inclusive children’s literature landscape. This means actively seeking out books from diverse authors and publishers and supporting their work.  It also means telling stories that accurately reflect the experiences of children from marginalized communities and celebrating their unique perspectives.