When is a book classed as a “diverse children’s book”? A number of factors may come into play, but definitely if it centers around black and brown characters.

We know it’s very important to get kids to enjoy reading. But did you know that according to last year’s research, just about 1% of children’s books in the UK have a black or ethnic minority main character?

Not reading books with characters that look like they do can’t possibly be any good. In fact, there’s a higher percentage of books with animals.

In recent times, I’ve been particularly pleased to see a growing range of kid titles with such diverse characters emphasising differences and appreciation for skin colour, hair, and culture amongst others. It’s particularly important in a multicultural society. Especially so as social media and western society’s past notion of beauty still seems to filter into our subconscious. 

Plus it’s never too early to teach kids to love the way they look, or that other children may look different from them. 

One of our recent diverse children’s books is Who Do I See in the Mirror.

Black toddler on couch reading a diverse children's book.

Who Do I See in the Mirror centres around Philly as she appreciates the various parts of her body. She looks at everything from her lovely brown skin to her thick curly locks. Even her nose, full lips and her chubby cheeks are not left behind.

Why we love it?

It may have been a coincidence, but as soon as Jidenna opened this book, he put his hand on the pages and started smiling happily. He also attempted the peek-a-boo pose as illustrated in the book.

Black toddler reading diverse children's book and playing peek a boo.

The pages of the book are beautifully illustrated and bring the characters and story to life. It’s also a straightforward book and while I do wish it had an actual plot, I appreciate its message. The reinforcement of appreciation for personal looks and individual differences is a good enough reason to have this in your little one’s library – either as their first diverse children’s book or added to their collection.

Finally, it emphasises that apart from physical attributes, each child is unique.

Baby boy playing with book showing black girl with afro in a diverse children's book called who do i see in the mirror

It’s a good size A6 size as well. I love the bright mint colour and it’s such a great book to give as gifts to babies and toddlers. It’s not a board book, however. So it will have to be read to toddlers or only left with them under supervision. Otherwise, you know what will happen to it. 

The award at the end of the book, signed by Philly and certifying each child as unique is also a nice touch. Honestly, it’s one that should be framed and hung as a daily reminder to kids.

I hope there are more forthcoming books in the collection and we can follow Philly on her various adventures.

toddler with large children's book philly and friends

Who Do I See in the Mirror is available in bookshops around the UK and Nigeria. See the Philly and Friends website for a list of stockists. It’s also available here on Amazon.

Have you read this? Do you have any current favourite diverse children’s book?

read too: Am I Reading Enough to My Baby? and 11 Diverse Children’s Books with Characters of Colour


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