Due to the ongoing/never-ending state of the world and my recent foray into #kidsbookstagram, I’ve been taking a MUCH closer look at the collection of books I have amassed for my children. In that looking, and to my shame, I have noticed something. The majority of our collection gets a FAILING grade on diversity and inclusion. I could blame this on the fact that 95% of the books we own are second hand. Furthermore, 90% have come from thrift stores like Value Village and Talize. In those instances, you pretty much get what you get. But, for the other 5% I purchased second-hand online, the same cannot be said. What it truly boils down to is this, however: I come to this realization in a position of privilege. As a white person, I’ve never had to sit down and ponder if there were enough books in our collection that represent us. I’ve never had to purposefully purchase or borrow books that represent us. White people hold this position of power. We are already in every book of nearly every type — to the point of over-saturation. People of differing colour, beliefs, abilities, sex, gender, sexual orientations – are not. All of this were things I already knew. But, did knowing it change or effect my children’s book collection? Nope. ‘Cause as a white person, these are all taken for granted luxuries of our hegemonic identity. My beliefs in a socially justice world may be strong, and I have been strongly educated as such (thanks, @douglascollege and @capilanou) but I still have so so SO much more work to do — both on myself, and in the raising of my children. Part of this is reexamining the books we own, the books were read, and the conversations that come from these books. I humbly accept this moment of learning, and am committed to making a change.
Thanks, @nwplibrary, in helping me take a first step forward today.
I still love board books (and #kidlit in general!).⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Why? Here’s the history.
The first board book in our collection was purchased around five and a half years ago. In a thrift store and pregnant at the time with O, I came across the classic, Where’s Spot, and knew that I HAD to buy it. As an early childhood educator, I had seen first-hand how much joy Eric Hill brought to children in those pages and the magic hidden below the flaps, waiting to be lifted. The hunt and success of finding Spot was always such a celebrated ending, and one that brought smiles to all children alike. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ As an avid reader and book appreciator, it also dawned on me then and there how much I wanted to pass that love on to O. So, over the years, one board book turned into ten, fifty, one hundred, and two hundred. I’ve lost count at how many we’re at now. The bonding experience through board books with my him has been incredible, however, and the structure of board books got me hooked. Sturdy, colorful, strong and meaningful, board books became a treasured part of the fabric of my relationship with my child, and followed us everywhere we went. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ O is now nearly at the age of moving past board books now (*sad sigs!*). This past August I had M, however, which means at least another five years of board books to bond over, fall in love with together, and learn through. Luckily this means for me all the more opportunities to scavenge thrift stores for new and great (board book) finds, and opportunities to again reminisce with my children over my favourites. Some may say the birth of this second child was serendipitously timed. ;)⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ There may or may not be more on this in the future, here in this blog. If there is and starts to be, now you know why!
I have an obsession with buying/giving my kid books to read.
I don’t know how to stop.
I adore reading to him and do it lots, I keep finding amazing steals at Value Village (98% of these are second hand and were $1.25 each!) and I figure if you’re gonna spoil your kid, ya might as well do it with books in hopes of helping build a love of literacy.
Sometimes, I forget that I immigrated to this country.
While my process of moving to Canada was absolutely nothing like the refugees that are dying to get here, and the country from which I came (the US) has next to nothing of the horrors those said refugees are trying to escape (unless you can count Donald Trump as one), Canada is not the land of my birth and nor the land of my childhood/adolescence.
Citizenship of this country I do have, but acquiring that officially at the age of 22 due to my parents lineage, not directly my own, can sometimes make me wonder if it’s truly mine at all. Does a law and a location change give me the right to call myself Canadian? I don’t know. These are but the many question I ask myself.
As I make efforts to raise O, I do not want this for him. I want him to know and to unequivocally be a part of the land which homes him. I want him be able to proudly call himself Canadian and to know how lucky he is to call this country his own. I want him to know that he is part of the fabric of Canada and helps make it what it is, because sometimes, I am not entirely sure if I do, or if I am but just an immigrant.
Nearly everyday we read these books, and while they will never fully measure the scale in terms of what Canada is or what it means to be Canadian, at eight months old they are the start of something much greater. And that it is a greater I want so much for his life. 💚
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