Jane Attah, Educator and Advocate for Inclusion
In the spirit of my former post, "23+ Children's Books Not to Miss and Why," I wanted to add this addendum in the spirit of inclusion. As racial tensions in America flare, books are a practical entry point for important conversations on healing and growth for those who are curious and eager to help.
I reached out to a respected educator from Ghana with over 18 years of classroom experience in America for her picks. Jane Attah, a second grade teacher, believes in the power of books. She notes, “Books are powerful and storytelling connects so I am intentional when I choose books to engage my students.”
Linsey Davis, author of One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different, agrees. When I interviewed Linsey following her coverage of George Floyd's funeral for ABC, she shared the inspiration behind her bestselling children's book. She observes that books can provide children with valuable glimpses into worlds that are different from their own, especially when their everyday exposure to diversity may be lacking.
Jane divides her impressive list of children’s resources on inclusion, many of which are bestsellers too, by age:
Infants – 5 year olds:
Same, Same, But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Brown Sugar Babies by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
Chocolate Me by Taye Diggs
The Color of Us by Karen Katz
6 – 9 year olds (Jane's specialty):
I am Enough by Grace Byers
I’m New Here by Ann Sibley O’Brien
Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds
The Water Princess by Susan Verde
And to Think That We Thought That We’d Never Be Friends by Mary Ann Hoberman
Throw Your Tooth on the Roof by Selby Beeler
10 – 12 year olds and up:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
This material is an excerpt from my article, "5 Essential Insights on Inclusion from an Educator," at iBelieve.com.