Hello! Welcome to Inclusive Story Time.
I’m Kelly, I started this project in May 2019 as a way to keep our family accountable to the picture books on our shelf. When this account began, I didn’t think anyone would really be looking. I was just looking for a way to take our deep love of kid lit and be more critical of what we consume. It all began after reading a challenge that The Conscious Kid put out to make sure that the library books we take out have people in them that don’t reflect ourselves.
When we began this journey through children’s literature took stock of what we owned and quickly realized that we had way, way too many animal and anthropomorphic truck books and not enough actual humans on our shelf. So we started collecting a new library, and I started applying a more critical lens to who wrote and illustrated the book as well as it’s actual content.
At the heart, Inclusive Story Time has grown into a community of parents and educators who love picture books. Picture books are actually rather complex pieces of art and literature! While I love having people along for our journey through books there is definitely some things you should be taking into account as you read our reviews:
I am not an antiracist or anti-bias educator. And, I never intend to be. I listen to the voices of people much, much more informed then me and I pay for their work whenever possible. I share some of the resources that they put out, and it is hard, deep work that isn’t for me to put out on Instagram. It’s not possible to take a picture of it and show it to you, and it isn’t up to me to call myself an ally.
I am a white, cis-gender, woman. I am a parent of a 4 year old. I was raised by gay dads and I identify as queer. I experience a lot of erasure because of my partner’s identity. I am Canadian. I go to therapy (but need to more often). I have always been actively involved in social justice on a local level. I am fat (and fine with it). I get uncomfortable with praise (working on it). All of these things and more factor into the viewpoint of how I review books, because they are ingrained into my perspective. I will always strive to continue learning and growing that perspective.
I have focused our time as a family since our kid was born on running fundraising and drives locally as well as community building and beginning our neighbourhoods first pride picnic. I set my intentions to make the best decisions possible and when I fall short and the impact is not as intended I work to take full and complete accountability. Impact is always more important than intention. I welcome and am thankful when someone takes the time to call me in.
I am doing my best to raise a good human. I will not tolerate explicit bias or racism. I work within my communities and country in every way that I can – comfortable or not – to identify and deconstruct systems of privilege. I cannot and will not write from an American point of view because it’s not my place to do so. I cannot and will not attempt to use the voice of another, because it is not my place to do so.
This account, this project, each review – is written from my perspective. My white, cis, queer, parent, Canadian, etc. viewpoint. That is the gaze that is putting this content out into the world. It’s not the right angle for everyone nor should it be. I deeply encourage you to go seek out reviewers who are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, South Asian, etc. because I think it’s important to see books from many perspectives. My perspective is not the only perspective.
I hope that we are putting something good out into the world. That you find great books that lead you down positive paths for yourself and your kids, that you enjoy these little works of art they way we do, and we can build a nerdy little community of picture book lovers that want to raise up readers up raise up others.
About Inclusive Story Time
Ingraining the values of inclusion, antiracism, and anti-bias in children is no easy feat, and the question of how to raise the next generation to be empathetic and equitable is absolutely vital.
We must give the opportunity for ALL children to read books that reflect their skin, religion, gender, sexuality, and family structure. We also need to make sure that our children are given opportunities to see people who are different then they are reflected in the media that they consume.
Picture books are key conversation starters that give parents and educators a tool to begin discussions about important issues and teach our children to be mindful. Having a diverse bookshelf is essential in consciously raising humans that value the concepts of inclusivity and empathy above all else. They are tools that help lead the way for us to shape small minds but they are useless without parents and educators having tough conversations and affirming their emotions.
When children are able to see and connect with a character that looks different from them, it will give them a basis of empathy and familiarity when they are playing with children of a different race. When a child who is Black, Indigenous, or of Colour is able to read a story about someone who looks like them excelling and succeeding and experiencing joy then they are given a boost in confidence that they can also thrive.
When a child is able to read a book that celebrates their culture and heritage, which was taken away from many of their parents and grandparents, we are beginning to help that child undo a tiny, tiny bit of the generational trauma that they are unfortunately forced to endure.
Picture books are POWERFUL. We are working to harness that power and create a resource – to make it easy and fun to find new books that promote inclusion and empathy for children, parents, and educators. Books can change the world!
Why diverse picture books are important:
“It is insufficient to only tell your children that racism and racists are bad. It is insufficient to simply explain “We love people of all colors.” It is lazy and near damaging to proclaim a love for all people but never make the leap of actually reaching out to people of color or adding tangible diversity to your life. In a world filled with empty rhetoric, our children don’t need to hear words from us without action.
They need to see us embody the beliefs we claim to hold dear.”Bellamy Shoffner
“I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color. I define a white progressive as any white person who thinks he or she is not racist, or is less racist, or in the “choir,” or already “gets it.” White progressives can be the most difficult for people of color because, to the degree that we think we have arrived, we will put our energy into making sure that others see us as having arrived. None of our energy will go into what we need to be doing for the rest of our lives: engaging in ongoing self-awareness, continuing education, relationship building, and actual antiracist practice. White progressives do indeed uphold and perpetrate racism, but our defensiveness and certitude make it virtually impossible to explain to us how we do so.”Robin DiAngelo
““Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill…For the master’s tools will not dismantle the master’s house. They will never allow us to bring about genuine change.”Audre Lorde