SEE ALSO: 7 inspiring children’s books to motivate your young activist The $25-per-month service, which is split into three age groups, is designed to bring positive depictions of black characters to children up to age 12 a demographic that is drastically underserved by children’s literature. Of the 3,400 childrens books published in 2015, surveys estimate that only 270 featured black protagonists. While many children’s books feature animal main characters, there’s still a serious lack of representation and that means black children are often left reading about the lives, adventures and experiences of people who don’t look like them. The Just Like Me! Box is the ideal model to help, McNeil says. With a subscription service, parents can guarantee their children are regularly getting the representation and stories they need. Books from the service include Naturally Me!, a rhyming story on celebrating your appearance, and A Storm Called Katrina, a book about a young black boy dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A photo posted by Diverse Children’s Books (@justlikemebox) on Sep 7, 2016 at 6:13am PDT The service has accumulated nearly 1,000 subscribers since it officially launched in May 2016. McNeil says this positive reaction has validated that she’s not the only parent looking to increase representation on their children’s bookshelves. “I am just a parent who just saw a need in the community and wanted to fill it.” McNeil personally vets each selection included in a Just Like Me! Box, reading every book to her own son to ensure they celebrate blackness, and instill a sense of joy and pride in black heritage and culture.
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