Books play an important role as mirrors for children: these stories and characters will affect how they see themselves and the world around them, their motivation to read, and their aspirations for the future. In a country as multicultural as Australia, it’s vital that we offer children an opportunity to see realities and experiences different from their own.
The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature introduced Australia’s first database of culturally diverse children’s books in June last year. The collection has been curated by experts and judged on the quality of writing and illustration, the readability and the strength of content. Stories selected for the database encourage readers to “walk in another’s shoes” and gain an understanding of cultures other than their own.
Included in the database are picture books, nursery rhymes, plays, short stories and novels. Key story concepts include empathy, family, kindness, resilience and respect. Here are some of our favourites.