2016 in [Book] Review Award-Winning Books DiverseKidLit Picture Books Reading Themes

[DiverseKidLit] How Diverse Children’s Lit Has Evolved In Dan Santat’s “Are We There Yet?”

Myra here.

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in March is the Changing Seasons. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, March 18th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current month is Changing Sesons. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • March 18th: Changing Seasons. As we eagerly await the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern, let’s share favorite books and resources on the seasons.
  • April 7th and 14th is our one-year anniversary of #diversekidlit! Stay tuned for some big events to celebrate!

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit is Beth’s great roundup of Diverse Novels in Verse, part 2. (You can catch up on part 1 here.) Novels in verse are an incredible and accessible way for kids to get to know a character inside and out. You will find some new favorites!


We are now about to conclude our reading theme on the 2016 best of the best in books, and I am glad to share an extremely popular title that I hardly ever find in our libraries.


Are We There Yet?

Written and Illustrated by: Dan Santat
Published by: Little Brown and Company, 2016 Literary Award: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Books (2016)
ISBN: 0316199990 (ISBN13: 9780316199995)Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book Photos taken by me. 

I wanted to share this title when we were having our Nomads, Homes, and Habitats reading theme last year. But as I’ve mentioned, I hardly ever see this in our library shelves as it is an extremely popular title, and with good reason.


The title alone says everything, as most parents, uncles, or anyone who has taken care of a child in a long road trip can attest: hearing these words repeated ad infinitum can drive even the most patient adult up a wall. I like how each page demonstrates literally the passing of time from prehistoric era when dinosaurs roamed the earth, to when pirates ruled the seas – and how the book has to be physically turned upside down to match the narrative’s twists and turns.


I also noted that this is a clear demonstration of how diverse kid lit has evolved – mainly because colour or race or ethnicity is a non-issue here. Evidently, the parents are not your usual blond and blue-eyed Caucasian – but that takes a backseat when contrasted with the immediate, almost-frenetic questioning of “Are We There Yet?” that really takes precedence over anything else.


While stories that depict racism, social justice, discrimination, do constitute a fair bit of how diverse literature is portrayed – I also strongly feel that fun, humorous stories that authentically depict children’s everyday experiences complete with a diverse set of characters that are perceived as per normal rather than highlighted for their token ‘diversity’ also show how much our definitions have evolved over the years. And just look at that final page, right there. I am sure a lot of kids and adults would be able to relate very well. Definitely a book that you should add to your libraries.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
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Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
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Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
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Jane @ Rain City Librarian
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Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
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Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
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Myra @ Gathering Books
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Guest Hosts for March

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
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Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
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Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[DiverseKidLit] How Diverse Children’s Lit Has Evolved In Dan Santat’s “Are We There Yet?”

  1. Okay, that looks hilarious. Love the illustrations!


  2. Yes! This kind of casual diversity is exactly what we need more of! Fun, entertaining stories in which being African American, or in a wheelchair, or in a same-sex family, or whatever you happen to br is just a normal part of life, just as it should be in real life!


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