The Parenting Cipher
Season Finale: Ye Yo- Spectacular ways Diverse Books can change your child's world
On the season finale of The Parenting Cipher, Stephanie Reed of MiJa Books joins Genie to talk about the importance of representation in children’s books and the positive effect it can have on our children’s self esteem and the ways they relate to others. Exposure to diverse books can create a more inclusive world. Hear about what MiJa Books is doing to make multicultural stories-- especially stories of joy and existence-- accessible to everyone in this episode of The Parenting Cipher.
Host of The Parenting Cipher, Genie Dawkins is a single mother of four and has over 25 years of being a parent advocate of special needs children. In addition to obtaining her Certification in Integrative Health Coaching, Lateefa holds an M.S. in Non-Profit Management and a B.S. in Social Sciences. Genie is the best-selling author of two books “Not My Child: Navigating Your Child’s Learning Difficulties with IEP’s and Education Resources” and a recent release “The Joyful Family Planner”. As an educational advocacy specialist, her mission is to help parents achieve a balanced life and overcome inevitable challenges both at school and home in a way that empowers parents and children.
About our Guest:
Stephanie Reed and her husband founded MiJa Books last year during the COVID pandemic. What started out as a book review website quickly pivoted into a full fledged e-bookstore that showcases children’s picture books that feature children of color on the front cover and as main characters. Their mission is to find and showcase multicultural and diverse children’s books and to create a platform for indie and self-publishers to reach a greater audience.
Insight from this episode:
- Benefits of multicultural and inclusive libraries for raising confidence in our children, especially when they’re young.
- Why bookstores should get rid of their labels and up their representation on the shelves.
- How books and stories can help our children better understand and verbalize what they are trying to discover about the world and other people.
- Some practical application of what scientific research is telling us.
Quotes from the show:
- “I wanted books with characters that look like [my daughter]. She’s Afro-Latina. I wanted books that celebrated her culture, books that celebrated other people’s cultures, and with children that looked differently.” –Stephanie Reed The Parenting Cipher Ep. #11
- “The more a child is able to see a representation of themselves in books and in stories in a healthy way, it helps them to create confidence and love of self.” –Genie Dawkins The Parenting Cipher Ep. #11
- “For the primary characters with disabilities, there’s only 3.4% in over 4000 books that they [the Cooperative Children’s Book Center] looked at… we know that that’s just not an acceptable number.” –Stephanie Reed The Parenting Cipher Ep. #11
- “We need to see an equal amount of representation on the bookshelves, so that all children from all backgrounds can start to have these books in their library and it’s entirely normal.” –Stephanie Reed The Parenting Cipher Ep. #11
- “A lot of times, parents in general, your early experience with someone who says something to your child, around your child, you unconsciously start to build up this protection around them-- what you don’t want spoken, what you don’t want them to hear, but in all honesty, this is the world they live in.” –Genie Dawkins The Parenting Cipher Ep. #11
- “Even though she can’t grasp the concepts of what it means to be a diverse, or from a different country, or know a different language, the fact that we’re starting her off on that footing from day one, I think helps in this conversation we’re having about making sure your children are prepared with the background knowledge to be able to approach somebody and have respectful conversation with other children. If that’s all she sees and all she’s used to is diversity, then she doesn’t know anything different.” –Stephanie Reed The Parenting Cipher Ep. #11
- “Seeing pure joy in a children’s book makes that book accessible to all children, not just that specific ethnic group or culture that you’re trying to highlight.” –Stephanie Reed The Parenting Cipher Ep. #11
- “[Starting to read] is an entry point and introduction to yourself in some ways. So when you’re trying to learn how to read and the character in the book you can’t even connect with, that can be a hindrance or something that slows you up.” –Genie Dawkins The Parenting Cipher Ep. #11
Website: Genie Dawkins
Facebook: Genie Dawkins
LinkedIn: Genie Dawkins
Facebook: MiJa Books
Youtube: MiJa Books
The Parenting Cipher
Website: The Parenting Cipher
Patreon: The Parenting Cipher
Itunes: The Parenting Cipher
Spotify: The Parenting Cipher
Youtube: The Parenting Cipher
Post-production for this episode was provided by Podcast Laundry.