In this last year especially, there’s been more discussion about the need for multiculturalism and diversity on the kids’ bookshelf than ever before (finally!) Although a lot of peers echo the sense that the time has come, sometimes I encounter people who ask why such a push is necessary. The kinds of questions I hear are: Isn’t reading at its core about a reader identifying with characters by transcending differences? Do stories need to be mirrors, do readers really need to have themselves reflected in stories? Aren’t we then saying that a reader can’t identify with a character who is…