Diversity

While the word diversity is old, the way that we are using it today in children’s literature is quite new. Diversity came into contemporary English usage from the medieval French word diversité, which at the time meant “difference” (OED). However, the ultimate origin of the word comes from the Latin diversitatem, which means “contrariety, contradiction, disagreement.” The very etymology of the term captures its inherent polarities. Conversations about diversity unwittingly appropriate a very old word for new purposes during our age of discursive volatility.

When it comes to considerations of diversity in children’s literature, location and identity matter. Former settler-colonial nations, such as the US, Canada, and Australia, conceive of diversity as existing within the nation’s borders. Though these countries have long histories of legal discrimination, their concept of nation is more heterogeneous: diversity refers to differences (ethnic, racial, religious, etc.) within national borders. In contrast,

This essay may be found on page 64 of the printed volume.

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