Teaching Cultural Compassion

What is Cultural Compassion?

Cultural competence refers to the ability to honor and respect the beliefs, language, interpersonal styles and behaviors of individuals and families.*

Cultural Compassion refers to the first step of this process. Before we can truly learn and honor about cultures outside our own, we must first learn to see all humans with dignity and respect. Cultural Compassion is the step we can teach our children to allow for their growth into cultural competence.

The vision of Teaching Cultural Compassion is that all children know their worth and the innate dignity of all humans; that they know anyone can be the hero of the story.

The mission of Teaching Cultural Compassion is to give confidence to kids and their adults through recommendations of representative picture books and resources to connect the books to their lives and faith.


Teaching Cultural Compassion has been a labor of love for me for over five years. While working as a bookseller, I noticed how hard it was to know the stock of books that featured underrepresented demographics, but also that the titles in stock kept changing because people didn’t buy them, because they couldn’t find them, because it was hard to know the stock. This vicious cycle made me want to compile a database for easy use to find exactly what we were all looking for--and, with help from my amazing and tech savvier husband, “The Book Search” began.

Since I started the compilation in 2014, I have read and curated a searchable database of almost 1000 books so that you can find them more easily. I have also been called upon to speak to groups of parents, librarians, and even at the Parliament of the World’s Religions on how to incorporate books featuring girls and children of color into libraries at home, at school, and even where you worship. If children can see themselves as the hero in a story, they know they can be the one to save the day. On the other hand, if they see someone who doesn’t look like them save the day in a story, they learn that someone else can save the day, too. While much of the picture book market still features a white male character, if we don’t pay attention to the books we read with our children, we are inadvertently telling them there is only one type of person who can save the day. Let’s help our children see that anyone can save the day!

Thanks for coming to my site, I hope it helps you and your family grow in cultural compassion,

Tura

Reading a book to a group of parents at a presentation at Aurora Hills Library in Arlington, VA.

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author.

When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror.

Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of selfaffirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.”

-Rudine Sims Bishop, 1990

*definition comes from Denboba, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, 1993