Is that me?!” That was the reaction recently of a boy who was shown a digital issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids featuring Black history in Canada. The child on the cover was wearing a Sikh headwear item called a dastaar.
“It’s rare, if ever, that I see a child of Sikh identity illustrated on the cover of any book or magazine,” said the boy’s mother, Navjot Kaur, an elementary schoolteacher and award-winning children’s author.
Kaur reminds us that representation matters. These moments are powerful and highlight the importance of diversity in books and media in Canada.
We know that history resonates with learners when they see themselves reflected in it. We also know that our print and digital audience reflects the diversity of the country and that readers are hungry for stories that share the popular history of Canada’s entire population.
Canadians from many cultural backgrounds have been calling for more inclusivity for years, and we as a society are finally listening — and heeding their calls.
History education has also evolved. It’s no longer just about remembering the past — it’s about engaging and educating new generations and inspiring them to transform the future. Our podcasts, videos, webinars, and social media help to connect readers, listeners, and viewers across the country. Sharing our stories — everyone’s stories — helps to create a more inclusive Canadian community.
These stories include everything from the experiences of young Syrian refugees, to oral histories from the LGBTQ community in Alberta, to discussions with Indigenous peoples about the need to share and to support authentic Indigenous histories.
By amplifying varied voices, we reach new audiences that further reflect the Canadian experience.
Exciting developments are underway. We have recently launched a new online youth channel to cultivate the next generation of leaders. The channel — part of our mobile-responsive CanadasHistory.ca website — will soon host more than one thousand existing student videos and will help to stimulate online exchanges between students, teachers, and education coordinators.
We are committed to greater diversity because we know that representation matters. The history community knows it, too. Increasingly, educators, students, organizations, and the public are thinking creatively about how to work together to explore the contributions of people of all cultures who have made Canada their home.
Going forward, we hope every child will see our magazine, a podcast, a video, or a webinar and say, not with incredulity but with pride, “That’s me!”
- Our audience of 1.4 million readers is trending younger, and includes many Canadians living in households with children under eighteen.
- Thirty per cent of our readers were born outside of Canada. Of these, more than two hundred thousand have lived in Canada less than ten years, and most use a language other than English or French at home.
- Millennials are an emerging powerhouse of more than half a million readers.