Books can shape the world of the youngest minds. Indeed, they can take us to any place in the real or imaginary world that we’ve never been before. Books teach crucial life lessons, show what other people think, dream about, and achieve. Teaching children diversity is the key to a successful life in today’s huge landscape. But what is the best way to teach them this priority? The answer is undoubted - through books. Like these children's books about diversity that you can read.
Reading stories is always entertaining, even with toddlers. It is the most appropriate and fun way to introduce your precious one to inclusivity, respect, diversity, and empathy. There is a pile of awesome children’s books about diversity to pick out from.
In this article, we’ve put together the top 30 children’s books to celebrate diversity. Versatile, they feature characters of different gender, ages, races, and religious identities.
Sulwe is a little girl whose skin is the color of midnight. The girl is darker than everyone in her family and the whole school. Sulwe wishes she could be pretty and bright like her mother and sister.
Then a magical journey in the night sky turns her worldview upside down. Finally, the girl realizes what a unique beauty she has.
The book is a great resource to develop positive self-esteem, teach self-acceptance, and respect diversity.
2. Whoever You Are
The author takes readers on a journey all over the world, showing children of different ages, nationalities, appearances. They speak different languages, have different lifestyles, wear different clothing. But inside, all of them are the same.
Stirring narration and bold paintings knit their path across various cultures and generations, reminding kids of the significance of accepting diversity and recognizing similarity, still, most of all, to rejoice in both.
3. The Colors Of Us
A 7-year-old little girl, Lena, is going to paint a picture of herself and her family. And she needs only one brown color for that because brown is always just brown while mixing paints.
Mom wants to prove to her that there are different shades of brown and takes her daughter on a neighborhood outing. Lena sees that mother is right, and the brown color has so many beautiful shades: cocoa brown, chocolate brown, peachy tan, and a lot of other browns.
The story gives a nice discussion topic with children: we are all so different, and it is so beautiful.
4. Harriet Tubman (Little People, Big Dreams)
This is a story of a bold little girl, Harriet. She was born into slavery and worked on a plantation. Though her life was tough, the girl was brave and resilient.
And one day, she managed to escape and traveled to the North. The thought that other people like her were still working on plantations from morning till dawn nagged at her. So, she made a lot of dangerous missions coming back to the South trying to rescue others.
This inspiring book shows children a nice example of how resilience and a bit of bravery can twist the path of history.
5. Suki’s Kimono
The book tells the story about dancing to the beats of one’s own drummers.
A young Japanese girl, Suki, puts on her favorite kimono on her first day at school. Her sister teases her for making this choice, but Suki adores the outfit. She got it from her granny. And it brings her happy memories.
The book brings a good question to discuss: what makes all of us unique, and why is it so crucial to celebrate the difference?
6. Everyone Matters: The First Look At Respect For Others
The book gives a crucial life lesson for kids to build strong social skills.
Not only our family and friends deserve our respect and politeness, but everyone does. In child-friendly language, the story teaches how different people are and what abilities (or disabilities) they may have, but they are still the same people like we are. Kids should NOT treat them any differently than someone they are close to.
7. Happy In Our Skin
The story is a great introduction to teaching about races and skin tones.
Skin is a splendid thing. It has multiple tones. When kids grow, their skin grows together with them, protecting them, and making them one of a kind.
The book teaches kids to like the skin they have and see the beauty and uniqueness in the skin of others. In the future, it will help children to remain self-confident when their body makes them feel different (for example, because of acne, body type, skin color, etc.).
8. Boy Who Grew Flowers
Rick is a school-aged boy who has a strange botanical secret. He grows splendid flowers all over his body when the moon is full. Being different, his classmates treat Rick and his family as outcasts, though no one knows about this flower mystery.
One day a new girl Angelina shows up. She has a secret too. And that is what makes her and Rick similar. Being unique, they perfectly complement one another and become best friends.
9. Mae Among The Stars
This inspiring book tells the story of the first African American woman who traveled in space.
When Mae was a little girl, she always dreamt about becoming an astronaut. Her parents always supported the girl and never doubted her strong will and resilience.
Always curious and stubborn, Mae paved the path to her unbelievable success. So, one day she did travel to space.
10. Same, Same, But Different
“Same, Same, But Different” is a story about two pen friends. Alliot is from America, and Kailash is from India.
As they share their everyday life, they realize how much in common they have (owning pets, having classes at school, spending free time outside). Yet, there is a lot of stuff that differs in their words.
Boys are so excited and curious that even living oceans apart they are still similar but actually different.
11. I Am Enough
It is such a simple poem but empowers everyone who is reading.
We are all here for a reason. And the little girl from this story wants to prove it. She compares herself to nature. She tells the readers that she, and you, and every single person is complete and enough.
Kids easily get the deep moral of the book: every human is valuable and beautiful in their own way.
12. Good People Everywhere
The outside world is scary. Quarrels, gloominess, anger, and frustration. Everyone encounters unpleasant situations so often. And this story reminds you that no matter how bad it gets, good people are always there for you.
It is crucial to strive for being a good caring person and give a hand to others when they need it. After all, a good deed is never lost.
13. We’re Are Different, We’re Are The Same
We live together in a beautiful world. It is our common home. Our inside desires, feelings, and needs unite us into one big family and make us similar. But on the outside, we look completely different. And that is what makes our world amazing and versatile.
This book is an enjoyable way to teach children diversity and what really matters.
14. Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History
This inspiring book relates to amazing stories of 40 black women who became heroes of their times. Resilient and bold, they changed the history and the view on a woman’s place in society. Truly speaking, they made the world better for the next generations for girls and women to come.
The leaders are simple little girls, but their dreams are big. Having spoken up for the rights of others, they managed to implement their beliefs and made the whole world accept them.
15. Julian Is A Mermaid.
This mesmerizing book celebrates self-love, self-image, and the magic of creativity.
Once upon a time, Julian saw pretty women walking on the street, dressed astonishingly like mermaids. Their beauty enchanted the boy that he wished to look like a mermaid as well. And he followed his dream. Julian recreated their style for himself.
But what did others say? And what did Julian feel? Read the story and find out an amazing twist at the end.
16. Pink Is For Boys
This book breaks gender stereotypes.
When kids develop their worldview, they learn what things each gender can do. In fact, there shouldn’t be division like that. Pink can also be for boys, and blue - for girls. Any color is for anybody.
This beautiful picture book makes the reader rethink and reframe these girlish/boyish and pink/blue stereotypes, inspiring children to express themselves in any rainbow color they want.
17. The Skin You Live In
If you are looking for a guide to teach your little ones significant social skills, this novel is just the thing.
This lively prose raises the theme of friendship, acceptance, similarities between us all (both inside and outside).
The story is delightful and describes happiness in all its manifestations. Having a great time together, hugging, catching butterflies, or eating a delicious birthday cake. Such moments are priceless and develop social harmony.
18. Everybody Cooks Rice
This multicultural story helps children understand how so simple things can have such a beautiful and wide palette.
Carrie is looking for her brother because he is already late for dinner. When the girl goes from house to house asking about her brother, Carrie discovers that each family has meals with rice for dinner today.
After reading this book, try to cook something with rice for dinner together with your precious ones. Kids will be so excited.
19. Say Hello!
The story is about one friendly and sociable girl named Carmelita, who lives in a colorful neighborhood. People of different nationalities, who speak different languages, live there.
Every time Carmelita passes by, she greets her neighbors. Gradually, she learns how to say “Hello!” in different languages. Even her pet woofs when neighbors go by.
The book is a fabulous example of how friendliness ruins any barriers and brings hospitality to social relationships.
20. Let The Children March
“Let The Children March” is a very important and bracing story for any age range of readers.
It is about a group of bold children who were inspired by the speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and marched to protest the law that kept black people separate from white ones.
The book demonstrates that every child’s role is important, and when there is work to be done, that is their responsibility either.
21. Thunder Boy Jr.
The book tells a beautiful story about a little boy who is frustrated with his name. Little Thunder is named after his father, - Big Thunder. Still, the boy wants a new powerful name, for example, Full Of Wonder, or maybe Touch The Clouds.
But any of the names seem to be right. Respecting his son’s desire, Big Thunder picks a great new name for the boy - Lightning.
22. Everywhere Babies
Warm, funny, and gorgeous, the book tells the story of babies from every corner of the world.
They are born in various types of families, but, in fact, they are treated in the same way: loved, hugged, and kissed; dressed and fed.
This joyful ode depicts the miracles of babies. Adorable illustrations show the most wonderful things that babies do best: crawling, sleeping, and screaming.
23. All The World
Life is made up of tiny things. The whole world is here, and there, and wherever you are. Life circles non-stop. And everything that happens is important, whether it is a small shell on the beach or the never-ending sky.
Calm and philosophical, the book makes readers think about their importance in this huge world.
24. Rapunzel (Once Upon a World)
A classic story about Rapunzel gets a fresh brand-new twist in the “Once Upon a World” collection. Rapunzel is the same girl with beautiful long hair, but she is totally reimagined. Now Rapunzel is from India.
“Once Upon a Time” keeps many other classic tales, taking place in different countries and cultures. After all, these stories are for everyone and everywhere.
25. Goldy Luck And Three Pandas
The actions take place on Chinese New Year. Goldy Luck gets an important task from her mother - to go to their neighbors and give them a plate of turnip cakes. When Goldy comes to the Chans’ house, they are not at home.
Still, the girl is curious how their rice porridge tastes or how their beds and chairs are comfortable. The girl wreaks havoc on the Chans’ home. And when she takes the rap, she makes new friends.
26. Ten Tiny Babies
This funny book tells the story of the active day of ten cute babies. They get so exhausted from playing the whole day that they fall asleep at once. Babies represent different cultures, although they do the same things.
Rhythmic language makes reading fun. And the story tells the familiar routines and activities that make the book appealing to little ones.
27. Babies Around The World
This multilingual book invites children on a journey around the globe. The journey takes one day. It starts early in the morning in New York City, goes through eight amazing countries, and ends on a wonderful San Francisco night.
Cute mini citizens greet each other in their countries, in their native languages (with English translations), and present their unique cultures.
The narrative is educational and teaches a tiny bit about our huge world.
28. Love Makes A Family
This sweet book shows different families enjoying their lives from early wake-ups to a kiss before bedtime.
Kids will learn more about the world, family lives of people from various countries and compare how their family is different from others. Still, one thing unites all families.
And this is love. Only love makes a family, and no matter if the child has two fathers or two mothers, one parent or one of each.
This narrative is a nice reminder of how crucial it is to share love with your family.
29. I Am Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson couldn’t imagine his life without sport and basketball. Even though Lackie was an excellent player, they did not accept him to a team because of the skin color.
He lived at a time when rights between African Americans were not equal. Yet, being resilient and brave, Jackie obtained justice. The boy became the first black player in Major League Baseball.
30. Different Like Me
Sometimes, children may feel uncomfortable because of the features that make them diverse. “Different Like Me” can help them overcome fear and gain self-confidence.
The book takes the reader on an interesting journey where kids have a mutual goal - to launch a huge colorful fish balloon. While they are getting it done, they discover what they all have in common and celebrate their differences.
Parents often feel overwhelmed raising kids in today’s society that screams children's books about diversity at every corner. Surely, that is not an easy thing. All those conversations about open-mindedness, difference, and acceptance are complicated and difficult to go through.
But you should keep trying. And you know why? Because you are raising the future of society. And just a bit of your effort can make this future amazing.
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