Children need diverse picture books. The earlier you begin reading your children diverse picture books, the better; the literature that children are exposed to at an early age can have a fundamental influence on their mental, social, emotional and educational development. That is why it is important to begin incorporating diverse children’s books into your children’s library as soon as possible, so that they can reap the most benefits from a selection of books with diverse characters, stories and more. If you want to know the primary benefits of reading diverse picture books to your children, consider the following 4 benefits that you will definitely want to know.

Benefit #1: Children who read diverse picture books have more empathy

One of the most important things you can teach your child is empathy, but teaching empathy can be a difficult concept even for experienced educators. Research has found that exposing children to the concept of differences and diversity is an excellent teaching tool for empathy. Children who learn how to understand, acknowledge and embrace diversity are more likely to feel empathy for others, a skill and trait that will assist them for the rest of their lives

Benefit #2: Children can benefit linguistically from bilingual diverse books

If you are reading your children bilingual diverse books which not only feature diverse characters and stories but introduce another language to your child as well, then you are giving your child a gift of greater linguistic skills. Children who are regularly exposed to other languages—such as through school lessons and bilingual diverse books—have improved linguistic skills overall. Not only will children be better at English, but they will have a stronger grasp on the secondary language being used in the book as well.

Benefit #3: Reading diverse books helps children connect with the world

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the ability to better connect with others and with the world as a whole. Diverse books help children understand that people have different cultures, different languages, and even different appearances—and that these differences are not something to find intimidating or strange but simply something to accept and embrace. This greater connection with the world will help your children make more friends, make better interpersonal connections and, as they grow up, have a stronger grasp of what it means to be an individual in our multicultural society

Benefit #4: Diverse books help children feel more secure with themselves

Whatever your cultural background happens to be, your child will reap the benefit of feeling more secure about themselves when they are regularly exposed to a diverse range of picture books. The concept of cultural identity is hard for many children, especially if they grow up in an area where they are considered an outlier; but with regular exposure to diverse picture books, children will have a better sense of identity and self that they can feel secure about. Thankfully, it is easier than ever in today’s multicultural world to find excellent diverse children’s books, so start looking for books to add to your child’s library today.