There is beauty in knowing that we are all different, and we all have different experiences. We can connect and better understand one another when we take the time to appreciate and acknowledge these differences.
As my daughter is getting older, she is asking more questions about the differences in race, religion, celebrations, languages and even skin tone. It is our job as parents and caretakers to ensure our children know that everyone deserves respect, regardless of differences. We all were uniquely crafted and it is our differences that makes the world so interesting.
One of my favorite stories that celebrates differences is Sulwe, written by Lupita Nyong’o and illustrated by Vashti Harrison.
Sulwe tells the story of a darker complexion child, who looks nothing like the rest of her family.
As she is teased and not accepted because of her dark skin, she goes through many changes to fit in. She longs to have lighter skin like the other members of her family. She eventually is told a story of light balancing darkness (and vice versa) and how both are needed. She then begins to realize her beauty and her life changes.Colorism exists. Sulwe has beautifully demonstrated that we all are beautiful, regardless of our skin tone.
Another favorite is The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.
This story takes us on a journey through different cultures, food, looks, and hair textures. It tells the story that sometimes we may feel inadequate because our experiences are different from others. But if we were all the same, what would we really have to talk about?
The day you begin to share your story is the day that you understand that your life and your experiences, however different, are just as important as the next person's. Never diminish yourself because you ARE enough, and your life matters!
These are two books that we read often. Sometimes adults can use a gentle reminder to be kinder and respect the differences in others too.
Lupita Nyong'o, author, Vashti Harrison, illustrator
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Format: Book, ebook
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