Starting in 2009, at my other home, Saffron Tree, we have been celebrating a short and exuberant annual blog event, a festival of books we call CROCUS: Celebrating Reading of Culturally Unique Stories.
Each year, we adopt a theme after much deliberation and peaceful voting -- a theme that speaks to us at that time, a theme that guides our book picks to share during the few days of the festival.
Our CROCUS 2016 theme is: Exploring Inclusive Narratives in Children's Literature.
We are focusing the spotlight on our fellow humans who are marginalized based on arbitrary criteria that usually defies logic. Folks who are practically cast aside because they do not fit the mould made for social acceptance. Folks whose physical or mental make-up is so different from the generally accepted idea of "normal" that they are pushed into social isolation.
What better way to break this cycle than by talking about it, through children's books that showcase kids of all sorts - kids with disabilities both physical and cognitive, kids who have suffered abuse, kids who have not had a stable home/family, kids whose gender identities are not binary, kids who simply want to be who they are and not be judged and categorized and limited in any way...
To seal the idea, our own talented Lavanya Karthik has created the gorgeous poster for our theme this year, reiterating that differences are good and that we are the same no matter how different we seem.
Starting today, Dec 1, through Dec 4, we hope to bring children's books with diverse characters who believe that their disability is not a limitation, who know that their differences do not define them, and who help us see that their abilities cannot be measured and quantized in conventional terms.
Visit Saffron Tree during this time, as well as any other time, to find the wonderful books on diversity and inclusiveness.