Books to Add Diversity to Your Children’s Library
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During the current climate of social politics, are you finding yourself trying to find ways to teach about diversity in your home? I know I felt an extra push to be more intentional about teaching lessons around diversity, acceptance, and racism. I already own several books that include diversity, but I felt that extra push to increase the books in this category of our collection that my children were exposed to.
As a rule, I try to keep my home a place that avoids discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, gender, ability or age. I want my children to practice loving others, even those who appear different to them. I want my children to know that there can be strength in our differences, not only division. We have much to learn from one another’s unique perspectives if we take the time to practice.
It is important to create an environment where diversity is celebrated, but sometimes it hard to know where to start. Your book collection is an easy place to begin instilling these important principles into your little ones! If you’re struggling with where exactly to start adding a bit of diversity to your child’s book collection, these are some winning titles to consider!
Board Books to Show Diversity
- Global Babies by The Global Fund For Children: Global Babies was a staple in the toddler room I worked in for six years. The photographs feature babies from around the world and are simply lovely. I know your young kids will love it too!
- One Love based on the song by Bob Marley adapted by Cadella Marley – In this book, a young girl brings together a community to fix up a forgotten park, when they rename “One Love Park”. It shows a diverse group coming together to make the world a better place for everyone.
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox – This is a new book to my collection, and I am so glad I purchased it! I love the rhythm of this book and the illustrations. It shows babies being born all over the world, and how they are the same with ten little fingers and ten little toes. I love how the pictures show the babies interacting. In one picture there is a baby trying to wipe the others nose. It really is such a sweet book.
- Rainbow Colors Peekaboo by DK Publishing – This book simply features a range of babies, who all look a little different from one another. Hopefully, your child can find someone who looks like them, and someone who does not! Diversity is not a main focus in this book, but more of a subtle backdrop. No need to point it out. Your child gets the message just by seeing.
- I Am So Brave by Stephen Krensky –
- Say Hello by Rachel Isadora – How many ways do you know to say Hello? This book features a Spanish speaking girl, Carmelita. She says hello to many different people in different languages as she walks down the street to visit her Abuela Rosa with her dog Manny who also greets everyone with a “woof!”. I enjoy how different cultures are represented in this one, simple book.
- All Kids Are Good Kids by Judy Carey Nevin – This book lets your child know that no matter what kind of kid they are, all kids are good kids. At the end of the book it prompts your child to answer: “What kind of a kid are you?”
Picture Books That Show Diversity
- Yo! Yes? By Chris Raschka – Right now, my one year old’s favorite book is “Yo! Yes?” With not a lot of words in it, this sweet book about friendship is great for early readers as well as elementary age children.
- She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez – I LOVE this book! It’s a great story by Olympian gymnast, Laurie Hernandez, about never giving up and learning from every mistake. It shows a growth mind set where mistakes and failures are opportunities to learn rather than reasons to quit.
- I Love You Too by Ziggy Marley – If you want to look up the song that accompanies this book, it follows along well with the book. I sing it to my kids all the time! It works for a large age range of children, my one year old and my 4 year old both enjoy it equally.
- Boy by Phil Cummings – I mentioned that incorporating diversity into my home isn’t all about race. This book tells the story of a boy who is deaf and he uses “dancing hands” as the book refers to them to communicate. He draws in the sand as well to help two waring parties to make peace. I think this is a great addition to any home wanting to teach about accepting people of different abilities!
- We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty – This book shows families of all different shapes, sizes, genders, abilities, you name it! You are sure to find your family style here in this book!
- All The Ways To Be Smart by Davina Bell – We all have our own unique talents to bring to the world, and I love that this book teaches that there isn’t one way to be smart. Let’s be honest, we all know that one person who is extremely book smart but seems to have no common sense. For instance, they would stick a fork in the microwave. There are so many ways to be smart and bring value to this world! Let your kids find out what makes them smart!
- Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai – A Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author, this is Malala Yousafzai’s first picture book which is inspired by her own childhood. This is fantastic book and obviously very current. It really touches on the hardships Malala faces as a girl in her home country. In my opinion, it is a book you should read first before reading to your child to make sure you’re comfortable with all the material. However, it is a great book and one to include in your collection!
- Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed A Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell – Based on a true story, this book tells the story of a young girl who spreads joy to the rest of her grey city by painting and bringing color to her community after she meets a muralist.
- Hey, Wall! By Susan Verde – In this book, the storyteller takes you on a journey of a culture that was vibrant inside closed doors and then makes the leap to take their wonderful culture outside as they paint a mural.
- Hair Love by Mathew A. Cherry – Hair is an expression of who we are. This book celebrates the uniqueness of hair and how it can become an extension of our personality. I love how it highlight the relationship between a black father and his daughter and their unique bond. Great book!
- Sofia Valdez Future Prez, Ada Twist Scientist, Rosie Revere Engineer, Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty – The entire questioner series is WONDERFUL! I love the flow of these books. You definitely need to check them out for yourself!
- Lola Dutch When I Grow Up by Kenneth Wright – Lola Dutch dreams big about all the things she could possibly be and in the end decides that right now her job is to be a kid and learn about everything. I just love that sentiment. Lets just let them be kids and learn about everything without being pigeon holed into our ideas of what they should do!
Additional Picture Book Recommendations for Older Readers To Teach Diversity
- Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli – This book features biographies of women who’ve impacted history as well as women who are making a difference today. I love the fact that this book helps you to learn about both historically strong women and modern day women who are championing women’s rights and serve as leaders for young girls. It is truly inspiring.
- Stories for Kids Who Dare to Be Different: True Tales of Amazing People Who Stood Up and Stood Out by Ben Brooks
- I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- She Persisted: 10 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton
I know it can be confusing to navigate parenting. Teaching diversity can be one of those things that feels tricky and overwhelming. So take a break from the confusion, and let these children’s authors help you out for a little bit! Incorporating books into your library is a great first step in teaching our children to love each other and embrace diversity. Our world desperately needs more open minded people spreading love and awareness! I hope you find this post helpful to start you on your journey or assist you as you continue spreading love and acceptance in our community!
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