CHICAGO (CBS) – For a Chicago mom, representation in children’s books is essential for children.
Not only does this inspire children to place themselves in a story, but it also allows them to see themselves as the hero.
CBS’ Adriana Diaz tells the story of the mom who’s made it her mission to make sure kids of all races, religions and families can find books featuring characters just like them.
They say never judge a book by its cover.
But it’s the covers of a Chicago children’s store that move people.
“We get a lot of gasps from kids,” owner Keewa Nurullah said. “We do. We’ve had parents and adults crying.”
It’s because in Kido, the faces of the books are black and brown, and protagonists that we don’t usually see: a girl in a wheelchair or a mother in a hijab.
These are deliberate choices, Nurullah said.
“We want every child to feel reflected, to feel seen, to feel included,” she said. “Children with disabilities, children who are growing up in foster care or who have been adopted or whose parents are going through a divorce.”
The store has books with titles like “Queer Heroes,” “Hair Love,” and “The ABC’s of Black History,” and books that celebrate Aztec and Chicana heroes.
“They’re beautiful and I love them,” said 6-year-old Maxwell Carey.
“They all have different lessons to learn in each book,” Jack said. “So that’s really nice.”
Some of the regular visitors said they came for the inclusiveness and community of the store.
“Ryan has two beautiful, brilliant mothers and we have an exceptional daughter and we want her to be represented in the books she sees,” said one of the regulars, Angela.
DIAZ: “For people who say, you know, to play devil’s advocate, that there’s too much focus on race these days. What do you say to them?”
“That’s easy for you to say,” Nurullah said. “You know, it’s just like why Women’s History Month? Why not Men’s History Month? You know, the reason we need these things is because there is a deficit.”
Although Nurullah was never a business owner before opening Kido, entrepreneurship runs deep in his family.
His great-grandfather was a tailor and owned his own store on Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He fled during the 1921 massacre and took his family to Chicago where he reopened his tailor shop on the South Side.
Nurullah embarked on this work as a new mom. She struggled to find clothes that reflected her family. So she started designing her own onesies and an entrepreneur was born.
“We don’t want a child to feel isolated in their experience,” she said. “We want them to walk into the store and say ‘Oh wait, I’m not the only one. “
And when the books have heroes from all walks of life, real-world heroes are born.