I am in love with this illustration by Shannon Wright, who also illustrated one of our May books, My Mommy Medicine written by Edwidge Danticat. Wright is a prolific artist and you should check out more of her work on her website.
For me, Reading Rainbow encapsulates the part of Jambo Books’ mission that seeks to encourage empathy in our readers. There is no reason that a black boy or white girl shouldn’t be able to relate to a Korean-American girl in a book like Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han.
Reading is about firing the imagination, placing the reader in a situation where she hasn’t been before and allowing her to identify with the emotions and experiences of the characters in the book. We don’t need the characters to look, talk and think like us in order to identify with them.
We can take those lessons from books – about our shared loves, fears and dreams – and carry them into our interactions with other people in our lives. Diversity is beautiful: it lends texture and flavor to otherwise homogenous lives. Our commonalities, though, are what make us human. Reading expands our humanity. Jump in!