Show your children positive images of differences

By Ty Salvant

When my youngest was born, I started reciting the alphabet-speaking adjectives she possessed or that I wanted her to develop. You are adventurous, brave, calm, driven, empathetic and so on. I would have to recreate the words with each recitation, because I didn’t remember the previous selection. A friend encouraged me to write it down, hence the beginning of a new project.

During this time, my daughter loved pictures of people, and the concept for “The Alphabet of You” was born.

I would create a book with pictures of children depicting positive adjectives. I asked friends to send photos of their children to create a beautiful array of children of various ages and abilities, expressing adjectives depicting daily life.

Although it is easy to believe that children do not see color and cannot be racist, research and anecdotal evidence prove otherwise. I know I’m not the only mom to field these comments: “Mommy, that man is tall.” “He had red hair.” “Her skin is brown.” “He doesn’t have any hair.” “Why is his nose big?” “She only has one arm and why isn’t she walking?”

Children, like everyone, notice differences; they just do not associate negative thoughts with differences until it is modeled. That modeling can happen directly from our words and indirectly from only having dolls that reflect your ethnicity.

Everyone must see positive images of children of various races, ethnicities and abilities thriving. Inclusion positively impacts all of us, because it dispels myths and stereotypes. Everyone has gifts and talents often overlooked because of preconceived notions.

Let’s work together to embrace the inherent dignity in each of us. If you would like to support an endeavor to bring an uplifting and inclusive book that educates the heart and mind of our schools and libraries, visit

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