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Can you imagine turning on the television or opening book after book and seeing no characters that look like you? If you are a minority, then this is your reality. If your child is part of any marginalized minority, they are likely steeped in media that doesn’t mirror themselves. And what does that mean for their self-image? The message they are provided is that they aren’t worthy of being a main character; that they are somehow inferior to the characters they see at home, at the theater, and in their books.

Just as important as providing children with strong characters in their own image is exposing all children to capable, starring characters that are different than themselves. Keeping our children in a bubble of same-ness and familiarity does nothing to prepare them for the multicultural world we live in.

Far too often, children of color or children that are differently-abled are portrayed as side characters. Even worse, they’re cast as villains. It is common to see them play out the disadvantaged foreigner trope or a cultural stereotype. These roles do nothing to advance ideas of commonality between children. We should be encouraging our children to extend themselves past what they know, to see deeper, and to make friends without bias.

We sought out children’s books, television shows, and movies that feature diverse characters in a big way. It isn’t always easy to find media that portrays diversity and minority groups positively, even if it is vitally important. Hopefully, our list will give you a place to start.