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, and learning more about the publishing industry
At the heart, Inclusive Story Time has grown into a community of caregivers and educators who love share a love of reading with children. Picture books are complex pieces of art and literature! And, while I love having people along for our journey through books there are definitely some things you should be taking into account as you read my 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 than 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 am queer. I experience a lot of erasure because of my partner’s identity. I am not neurotypical. 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 neighbourhood’s 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 will always 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 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 is vitally important to see books from many perspectives. My perspective is not the only or best perspective, by a mile.
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 race, 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 BIPOC, Disabled, LGBTQIA+, Non-Neurotypical, from an under-resourced family is able to read a book about someone who looks or feels like them excelling and succeeding and experiencing joy then they are given a boost in confidence that they too 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 works of art. 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!