Every night my husband and I are reading to our little boy before going to bed. Many nights we are reading children's books, where I feel a slight discomfort. The main message of the storybook is clear to me, the story itself creates a nice atmosphere and nothing obvious is catching the eye as inappropriate or unfit. Then, I read about the mirror and window concept, which opened my eyes and made me understand why my subconscious mind was sending me an urgent message.
A child is looking into a children's storybook, like into a mirror to check „Is this me I am seeing there? Can I confirm myself and my way of life as being ok? “Additionally, a child looks through the kids’ storybook as out of a window into today’s world and today’s society: „I see! This is the world we are living in.“
The “Eureka!” Moment – The Mirror and Window Concept applied to our little boy.
And there I found the crux of the matter. Could my boy find himself and his way of living in the children's storybooks he is reading with us? To a certain extent he could, being a white boy with two parents, male and female. However, he was questioning why I must go to work? I realized that in many of his picture books the mother of children was staying at home, while the daddy went to work to take care of the family’s financial income or in many cases, the father was nowhere to be found throughout the book pages.
And the window to today’s world was causing even more discomfort for me as his adult reader. Too many times I felt that the depiction and the illustration of today’s world and society was highly traditional, stereotyped and homogeneous.
But the message I want to send to my little one is all about open-mindedness, diversity, frankness and the affirmation of being ok.
With the visualization of the mirror and window in each book, I became much better in labelling clearly where my discomfort came from. In every book, I can differentiate now between the mirror and window. I can discuss what my toddler might see in the mirror and I can talk over the window view described in the children's book we are reading together.
CUKIBO personalized kids’ books want children to get a positive message out of looking into the mirror and an open mind when looking out of the window into a diverse world.
However, I see room for improvement.
How can we make sure that the mirror of a children book enables as many children as possible to get the „I am ok“ affirmation? And how can we depict a world and a society in storybook windows, which lays the foundation for a healthy, realistic and open-minded child?
Our Contribution with a view to the Mirror and Window Concept when It comes to toddlers' storybooks
This is where we started to work on the first outline for a personalized children's book. A nicely illustrated storybook for that matter and with a thoughtfully written storyline, to affirm every child „You and the way you live are ok.“ Naturally diverse and colourful, studded with all kinds of tastes, ideas, structures, abilities, and nationalities, as this is how our beautiful world looks like today. And tomorrow also.