Civil rights activist, poet, and award-winning author Maya Angelou once said, “It is time for parents to teach our child early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” She was a firm believer that the world would be a better place if we all learned to work together to achieve one goal. Over the past ten years, there has been an exponential increase in children’s books to bring awareness of various races and cultures. One such author who promotes this message is Isabel Cintra.
Reading is such a fun and informative way to expand a child’s mind regarding the world’s multifariousness. Incorporating reading into a child’s daily schedule, especially during bedtime, is a creative way to stimulates their senses. It facilitates their ability to learn, boosts their social and cognitive development, and also their emotional health. As parents, we are given the amazing opportunity to help shape young minds and create lifelong morals and values that will help them better themselves and the world.
Introducing books about diverse cultures and races is encouraged to educate our children about the importance of understanding and accepting others. Reading increases the child’s consciousness, appreciation, and inclusion of diverse beliefs and cultures. Our brain develops as we mature, so our ability to become critical thinkers can be primarily influenced by the amount of time spent reading as a child. According to a study conducted by the Fester Readers, children from birth to age five experience the most significant brain development. It was concluded that by age three, approximately 85% of the brain’s core structure is developed. With this information, it would be reasonable to argue that this period would be ideal for introducing children to the concept of diversity.
Recently there has been a growth in the number of books being published that illustrates diversity. In a survey conducted by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) that was released in 2019, Madeline Tyner stated that “Despite the sluggish growth, the number of books featuring BIPOC (black, ingenious and person of color) protagonists lags far behind the number of books with white main characters—or even those with animal or other characters. While there has been some progress, there is much more that needs to be done in diversity in children’s and young adult literature.” Books exemplifying diversity encourage children to be perceptive and acceptive that there will be people who don’t necessarily have the same socio-cultural or economic backgrounds as themselves.
The importance and benefits that can be derived from reading have diminished as the years go by. We seem to forget how reading, at a young age, can help to mold and shape children’s minds while giving them information and keeping their minds active. Jean M. Twenge, a renowned author and professor of psychology at San Diego State University stated that when compared with the previous generations, teenagers in the 2010s spent majority of their leisure time online and less time with conventional forms of media such as books, magazines, or even television. As with each generation of technology advances, we see where scrolling through social media has become the substitute for reading.
While scrolling through YouTube, you may observe that there are so many options to choose from. A child who is eager to learn is opened to discovering so much from random videos. How do we streamline the information that is being distributed to our children? How do we help expand their minds to new possibilities and new ideas that can broaden their imagination and thinking? To not limit their concept of what they are taught to believe? The answer is still books and diverse books is the bridge we truly need.
Inspired by how reading has influenced her throughout the years, Isabel Cintra, a published Brazilian author, has written two amazing fictional novels ‘The Great Little Tailor’ and ‘The Princess and the Mirror.’ These colorfully illustrated books highlight the importance of learning about different races and cultures and how precious and beautiful diversity can be. Isabel’s books are like the steel that pave the bridge our children need.
Isabel’s dream is to encourage children between the ages of six to twelve to read to have a more accurate view of the world around them. These books are intended to give a child of color the opportunity to see other children of the same race depicted in fairytales. They allow children to recognize and identify with the characters showcased in the book and connect to the text on another level. This is exactly what this world needs.
She illustrates her vision of an enchanted princess in her likeness centered around a beautiful fairy tale with kings and queens, princes and princesses within ‘The Princess and the Mirror.’ This book is the perfect way to encourage young girls of color to be beautiful and proud of their skin color and culture as well as open other children to embrace the diverse world we live in.
Isabel Cintra grew up in the small town of Sao Joaquim de Barra, Brazil. At an early age, she entered the magical world of writing and literature. A shy girl with a head full of thoughts, her greatest desire was to share with the world, through her books, the vision of an enchanted princess who looked like her. Through her vibrant picture books, illustrated by her brother Zeka Cintra, Isabel strives to introduce kids to a world where diversity is valuable and beautiful. Fantasy, representativeness, and diversity are common themes in her editorial production. She currently resides in Stockholm, Sweden with her husband and daughters. Her books are available on Amazon.