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Melissa Martin: All of us are on a multicultural mission

May 3, 2018 GMT

We are one race. And that is the human race.

However, subcultures preserve group history and ancestral stories. Would the world experience more peace and less adversity, if this mindset prevailed?

What would happen if humankind meant humans being kind to each other? How do we end race wars, discrimination, and prejudice?

Recently, I attended an event and it was the first time I experienced more African Americans in the crowd than Caucasians. The event was the annual Dayton Book Expo in Ohio.

The African American hosts and helpers were welcoming, helpful, and gracious. And so were the attendees; mainly minorities.

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I participated as an author with my diverse picture book that features a biracial girl as the main character.

All children need to see characters with their same skin color and culture in books. And I interacted with diverse authors whose books featured characters of color.

Multicultural children’s books are: books that contain characters of color, as well as characters that represent a minority point of view; books that share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions; and books that embrace our world, and offer children new ways to connect to a diverse and richer world.

“Our world is filled with amazing sources of multicultural book ideas, websites, authors, organizations and other resources to help your family incorporate diverse books into your reading process.” www.multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/.

We Need Diverse Books movement is an organization with a vision of “a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.” www.weneeddiversebooks.org.

Why do Caucasian children need to be exposed to diverse picture books? The world is full of people and children need to learn about different nationalities, cultures, languages, religions, customs, and beliefs.

Exploring books that explore, recognize, and celebrate human diversity and multiculturalism may teach children to embrace and embody fairness, equality, and justice for all as well as promote empathy for marginalized minorities.

The multicultural mission is to raise awareness for kid’s books that celebrate diversity and to get more of these of books into classrooms, libraries, and homes. And reading promotes literacy.

Diverse books by diverse authors are important for adults as well.

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The Dayton Book Expo featured both fiction and nonfiction books for teens and adults by Black authors.

I purchased several books in order to continue my own personal multicultural mission.

Attending events and interacting with people of different ethnicities is one way that communication and understanding is established. Mingling, conversing, and laughing together breaks down barriers.

The Southern Kentucky Book Fest, one of the state’s largest literary events, is held annually in April at the Knicely Conference Center, Bowling Green, KY. www.sokybookfest.org/.

The Ohioana Book Festival is held each April in Columbus, Ohio and gives readers the opportunity to connect with their favorite Ohio writers. www.ohioana.org/.

The Dayton Book Expo is held annually in April at Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio. www.daytonbookexpo.com/.

Books by the Banks, Cincinnati Regional Book Festival will take place Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Duke Energy Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The annual West Virginia Book Festival will be October 26 and 27, 2018 at the Charleston Civic Center. wvbookfestival.org/.

“To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. In fact, it creates a grey area.” - Meghan Markle

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in southern Ohio.

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