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West Philly Coalition Combating Islamophobia Through Diverse Books

In Book News, Children, Human Interest, Libraries, Muslim/Arabic Culture, Reading by Trish Parsons

There’s a call for diverse books. We need them because research shows that by age 6, girls think they’re less intelligent than their boy peers. Children rarely see people with disabilities in the media they consume. In 2011 a documentary called Dark Girls revealed the harmful ways our society sees beauty and intelligence as synonymous with having light skin.

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Source: Amazon

Unfortunately, books don’t do much better, and children’s literature is not nearly as diverse as the children who read it.

What can books do to break down these barriers for children?

Many people champion the idea that dismantling stereotypes from gender, ability, skin tone, etc., can be aided by representation. A group in Philadelphia believes this so much that they’ve started a collection of books that represent a specific, targeted group.

The West Philadelphia Coalition Against Islamophobia believes in representation so wholeheartedly that they created a GoFundMe campaign to get children’s books with Muslim characters for West Philadelphia public schools.

The “Kids Books That Fight Islamophobia” Campaign aims to have books with positive portrayals of the Muslim community in as many schools as possible.

Diverse books are not just the rallying cry of a few librarians. The Human Rights Campaign has an initiative called Welcoming Schools which describes diverse books as a critical piece in an inclusive learning environment. The campaign also maintains the idea that beyond books that feature diverse characters, they need “diverse, positive role models” as well.

If you want to help fill West Philadelphia’s schools with books that feature Muslim characters and role models, you can donate to their GoFundMe. They’ve already met their $5,000 goal, but all additional donations will continue the good fight, using the overflow to donate to private schools and mosques.

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Featured image via OCFRealty

h/t Bustle