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Why We Need More Cultural Representation In Children’s Stories?

Remember being read Brothers Grimm as a child? How about Hans Christian Anderson? While all of these children’s stories are tell-tale classics, they’re not the only folklore that should be told during bedtime.

There have been gaps in the lack of multiculturalism in folklore and Monica Robinson is here to change that. Both an activist and best-selling Author, she is stopping at nothing to bring Azerbaijani Turkic culture to new generations of children. Her determination and vigour are helping push forward the movement of representation of cultures from across the globe in our storytelling.

Marrying both her Azerbaijani Turkic culture and her current life in the US in her recent children’s book, ‘Deeper Go’ she’s taking traditional stories and giving them a Western twist. Based on Turkic Folklore, the book is a modern adaptation of ‘Jirtdan and Dev’ which is a spooky story back in Hodaei’s country. Giving these classic Turkic tales a fresh new coat of paint, she hopes to engage children’s readers to read and learn more about their culture.

These days, there has been a rise of authors and writers from many different cultural backgrounds shining the light on stories from across the globe that have never been heard of before.

Other authors who are making their stance in the rise of multicultural artists includes Dean Howell’s ‘The Story Of Chinaman’s Hat’ which explores Hawaiian Culture, ‘Yasmin In Charge’ by Saada Furuqi which introduces Urdu phases and Pakistani family lifestyle, and ‘Fish For Jimmy’ by Katie Yamasaki that tells a historical tale of the Japanese being taken to internment camps.

Even in children’s movies, there has been an increasing amount of representation such as Pixar’s ‘Turning Red’ which explores Chinese culture, Disney’s ‘Moana’ which brings awareness to Pacific Island culture, and even Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ which explores topics of racism and the importance of treating other cultures with respect.

The exorbitant number of stories being pushed to Western audiences has helped uncover more stories from around the world that have never been told before. Cultural representation is important especially in children’s books because it teaches them to learn to be empathetic, understand each other, and even learn to relate to a culture that might not even be their own. Even children who are seeing themselves whether in a line of pages or on the big screen can feel at ease knowing they are not alone.

These multicultural authors and artists are doing their part to pay forward the lessons they’ve learnt from their own background to help future generations become more culturally aware. Starting with the joy of a children’s book, this plants the seed for a world that is much kinder than history has been before.