To say that I love children’s books would be definite understatement and if I can find an excuse to buy more children’s books then you bet I will. This week I visited my local Book Face shop to ascertain the level of diversity amongst their children’s book collection.
Here, I discovered the most divine curation or children’s books that were not just culturally diverse but embraced many aspects of diversity such as age, ability and gender. I did find one particular book that had to come home with me titled “How To Be A Real Ballerina” by Davina Bell illustrated by Jenny Lovlie.
This is a Little Hare publication that celebrates the joys of dance. The main character is a little black girl with beautiful curly hair and for me I thought this was quite significance as I know that many CALD ballerinas have experienced racism and bias within the dance profession and arena. I recall yarning with one friend who danced for many years with a national company who divulged the difficulty she had in finding skin colour leggings and attire that suited her complexion and not the “mainstream” peach.
I also thought that this book could be used by families and educators to counteract children’s assumptions about Indigenous dance. I have found that its common for pres-schoolers to already hold some very stereotypical beliefs about Aboriginal people such as what we look like, where we live and what we eat. A good follow up experience to do with children could be to use the “lets compare” cards and book that shows both contemporary and traditional aspects of culture.
I also think it is an opportunity to scaffold children’s awareness of prominent Aboriginal dancers in ballet such as Ella Havelka. See link for more info Ella Havelka | The Australian Ballet