Children's Hospital Colorado

Resident Files: The Importance of Children’s Books About Diversity (S4:E24)

Many of our patients grow up never seeing a character that looks like themselves in a book. In fact, research suggests that 75% of characters in children’s books are white. Being able to relate to a character in a book helps entice our early readers to link themselves to the story and think of reading as fun. Seeing oneself in the lead character of a book gives our patients an idea of what they might become. Diversity in literature matters.

Listen to pediatric experts discuss diversity in literature

In this Resident Files episode, Alexis Ball, MD, Katelyn Soares, MD, and Ariel Porto, MD, join us to discuss Just Like Us Books, an initiative launched by the pediatric residents at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Dr. Ball, Dr. Soares and Dr. Porto are PGY3 pediatric residents at Children's Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In this episode, our experts discuss:

  • How the Just Like Us Books project came about
  • Findings from research on diversity in children’s books
  • Why it’s important for children to see themselves reflected in books
  • How residents raised money to purchase books for children treated at the Child Health Clinic at Children’s Colorado
  • Development of a survey tool to understand how the Just Like Us Books project impacts families
  • When children notice race-based differences and develop racial biases
  • How books can facilitate caregiver discussions about diversity and differences

Books included in the Just Like Us Books project:

  • “It’s Okay to Be Different” by Todd Parr (2 to 5 years)
  • “First Laugh, Welcome Baby!” by Rose Ann Tahe (2 to 5 years)
  • “Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi (baby to 3 years)
  • “Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry (4 to 8 years)
  • “Worm Loves Worm” by J.J. Austrian (4 to 8 years)
  • “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson (2 to 5 years)
  • “Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi (baby to 3 years)
  • “Round is a Tortilla” by Roseanne Thong (3 to 5 years)
  • “Fry Bread” by Kevin Noble Maillard (3 to 6 years)
  • “The Proudest Blue” by Ibtihaj Muhammad (4 to 8 years)
  • “Same, Same, but Different” by Jenny Kostecki-Shaw (4 to years)
  • “A Family Is a Family Is a Family” by Sara O’Leary (4 to 7 years)
  • “Sulwe” by Nyong’o Lupita (4-8 years)
  • “Just Ask, Be Different, Be Brave, Be You” by Sonia Sotomayor (4 to 8 years)
  • “Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver” (4 to 8 years)
  • “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga (8 to 12 years)

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