stories to bring diversity and inlcusion home and in schools

By: Pallavi Aggarwal*

Dr. Seuss says in The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

For Ginny’s Planet, this “you” is “YOU”, us, and everyone around you. Practicing empathy, respect for diversity, and believing that “Being Different is Ok” is the need of the hour. So, through Ginny, her stories and their workshops Ginny’s Planet is helping to build an inclusive world. Ginny will help you initiate a meaningful conversation with children on Diversity, Empathy, Disability, and Inclusion.

New storybook: What is new about Ginny?

Ginny’s Planet invites you to come along on this journey with them. They are here with a new storybook about 8-year-old Ginny and her life: कुछ अलग सी गिन्नी ! There is Something About Ginny”.

Ginny storybook for children

This is part of their series of Ginny books. Meeting new people, especially older ones, makes Ginny anxious! Find out what happened with Ginny today in their latest book! This book is written by Vinita Krishna who along with being a writer is a storyteller and a special educator and illustrated by Suvidha Mistry whose visuals catch the imagination of children. The Hindi story has been translated into English by Manisha Chaudhry- a publishing professional working since 1986. She is a bilingual editor, writer, and translator with a special interest in children’s literature and women’s writing. 

Join us for the book launch events in Delhi NCR! Check for Details Here

Who is Ginny?

Some of us have already been acquainted with Ginny. But for some who want to be friends with her, let’s get to know her a little better. Ginny was introduced as a 4-year-old girl in 2019. She is a busy girl! She is fun-loving and curious. Ginny was born with many physical challenges. She has a radial club hand. She manages with nine fingers. She needs to wear thick heavy spectacles to see well. Ginny needs to wear a brace to support her wrist.

Children are very curious about Ginny. They want to know

What is Ginny’s everyday life like? What does she worry about? Who are her friends? How does she question, absorb and deal with things around her?

Well, Ginny’s Planet will be answering these questions and more in the series of Ginny Books they are bringing to us this year.

Read previous stories of Ginny

While you wait to read the new storybook about Ginny, have you read the books Ginny’s Planet has already released about Ginny yet?

1. Ginny written by Dr. Shweta Verma and illustrated by Tarun Kumar. This is a poem that gives an introduction to her. Download the free book from Ginny’s Planet shop HERE

2. Kahaan Hai Kenk written by Dr. Shweta Verma and Jamal Siddiqui, Illustrated by Annesha Ali. This book tells us about Ginny’s adventure when she is looking for Kenk. Download the free book from Ginny’s Planet shop HERE

3. May I Join the Class Today? Written and illustrated by Poulomi Pal. This book helps children raise questions, understand, and embrace diversity in classrooms. This book is currently available as a part of Ginny’s Planet Educator’s Kit on Diversity. It will soon be available to order.

Why should you introduce storybooks to children? 

Books are meant to trigger a child’s curiosity, trigger and nurture their imagination. As Dr. Shweta Verma writes in her latest blog, “How To Select Good Storybooks For Children?”, before you choose a storybook for your child, it is good to think of what purpose you want the story to fulfill for the child/ children it is meant for. She goes on to specify that some stories are for normalizing common feelings, some for fun but they do not ridicule anyone for being different, some with characters from diverse backgrounds, and stories related to social issues.

Shweta stresses the importance of choosing a story based on time and perspective. Read the full blog HERE to know more about how to choose a book for your child.

What does Ginny Read?

Ginny’s Planet has a ready resource in the form of the What Ginny Reads” series on their YouTube channel where every week, they recommend a book you can read along with children.

You have heard about Ginny’s stories and experiences. But what do you think Ginny reads? Ginny’s Planet has a list of books they recommend for children and where they tell us why Ginny reads them! Watch the playlist “What Ginny Reads” HERE. The books all have an underlying theme of empathy, diversity, disability, and inclusion.  They help in integrating these themes in conversations with children. Some examples from the “What Ginny Reads” list are –

Machher Jhol written by Richa Jha and illustrated by Sumanta Dey. This is the story of a child – Gopu, whose father is unwell. Gopu wants to bring his father’s favorite fish curry, Machher Jhol for him. This book talks about how as a child with visual impairment, Gopu travels and experiences the world outside his home. This story presents the efforts and happiness that one experiences in doing something special for loved ones as well as in doing something on their own.

The Day You Begin written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez, is another book in the series. How often have you entered into a room and found that you are an odd one out and that you don’t look like or sound like anyone else and there is no one quite like you in the room? Children hesitate at times to do new things or different things as a result. This book talks about how these feelings are completely valid and how at times the adults need to draw the child out gently to participate and make friends. This story is about a girl who feels that there is no one like her. No one who looks like her has hair like her. How does she strike friendships in her class and what does she have to say to children who feel there is nobody like them?

Explore the playlist for suggestions on more book recommendations.

About Ginny’s Planet:

Ginny’s Planet is a social enterprise Co-founded by Dr. Shweta Verma in 2019. They aim to build a world where no one feels odd one out, where being different is Okay, and where empathy & respect for diversity is practiced as a way of life. They believe that disability is also a part of human diversity. They believe that everyone should have opportunities to flourish. They hope to share these beliefs with others around them, especially children.

Through their workshops, dolls, stories, gifts, and conversations, they nurture people and spaces to build an empathic and diversity-respecting world. EMAIL: contact@ginnysplanet.com

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*Pallavi Aggarwal started her journey with Ginny’s Planet as a mom intern in 2021. She says: “The pillars of Ginny’s Planet – Empathy, Respect for Diversity and Inclusivity resonate very strongly with me. As a mother of a 8-year-old, I am striving to build a world where -Being Different is Ok”.  Pallavi is currently Head- Marketing and Communication, at Ginny’s Planet.

Ginny's planet is building a world where being different is okay through Empathy, Diversity related products and workshops.