We live in a wonderful, colourful, diverse world. Children’s books that celebrate diversity are a fantastic way to teach youngsters about embracing culture, differences and the world around them.
By reading stories that discuss different cultures and people from around the globe, children gain exposure to these topics. In turn, they can understand and embrace these differences and become rounded individuals from an early age.
Here’s our list of 15 children’s books that celebrate diversity.
Whoever You Are
Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. They may not speak the same language. Their lives may be quite different. But inside, they are all alike. Stirring words and bold paintings weave their way around our earth, across cultures and generations. At a time when, unfortunately, the lessons of tolerance still need to be learned, Whoever You Are urges us to accept our differences, to recognize our similarities, and-most importantly-to rejoice in both.
The Family Book
The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way.
Told in rhyme, this story follows Susan through a series of familiar activities. She swims with her father, works hard in school, plays with her friends — and even rides a horse. Lively, thoughtfully drawn illustrations reveal a portrait of a busy, happy little girl with whom younger readers will identify. Not until the end of the story is it revealed that Susan uses a wheelchair.
Told with insight, and without sentimentality, here is an inspiring look at one spunky little girl whose physical disability is never seen as a handicap.
Last Stop of Market Street
CJ begins his weekly bus journey around the city with disappointment and dissatisfaction, wondering why he and his family can’t drive a car like his friends. Through energy and encouragement, CJ’s nana helps him see the beauty and fun in their routine.
This beautifully illustrated, emotive picture book explores urban life with honesty, interest and gratitude.
Last Stop on Market Street has won multiple awards and spent time at the number one spot in the New York Times Bestseller List.
The Sandwich Swap
Lily and Salma are best friends. They like doing all the same things, and they always eat lunch together. Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus-but what’s that between friends? It turns out, a lot. Before they know it, a food fight breaks out. Can Lily and Salma put aside their differences? Or will a sandwich come between them?
The smallest things can pull us apart-until we learn that friendship is far more powerful than difference. In a glorious three-page gatefold at the end of the book, Salma, Lily, and all their classmates come together in the true spirit of tolerance and acceptance.
Same, Same but Different
Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different!
Through an inviting point-of-view and colorful, vivid illustrations, this story shows how two boys living oceans apart can be the best of friends.
The Colours of Us
Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades.
Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.
Karen Katz created this book for her daughter, Lena, whom she and her husband adopted from Guatemala six years ago.
This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World
This Is How We Do It follows the lives of seven REAL kids from Japan, Uganda, Russia, Iran, Peru, India, and Italy for a single day.
From the time each kid wakes up until the time they fall asleep, the details of their days differ: their homes are different, their schools are different, even how they play is different.
This genuine exchange between real kids provides a window into lifestyles and traditions that may differ from our own, as well as a mirror reflecting the common experiences that unite us all
Everywhere Babies is a fantastic diversity book for toddlers. The rhymes are catchy, but the best thing about this story is that it’s full of babies (and their parents) of all different races and creeds. The underlying theme is that no matter what babies look like, they’re all loved “for being so wonderful just as they are!”
Not Quite Narwhal
In the tradition of Uni the Unicorn and Gaston, this heartwarming and adorable debut picture book tells the story of a young unicorn who was born under the sea to a family of narwhals.
Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. Sure, he’s always been a little bit different—his tusk isn’t as long, he’s not as good of a swimmer, and he really doesn’t enjoy the cuisine. Then one night, an extra strong current sweeps Kelp to the surface, where he spots a mysterious creature that looks just like him! Kelp discovers that he and the creature are actually unicorns. The revelation leaves him torn: is he a land narwhal or a sea unicorn? But perhaps, if Kelp is clever, he may find a way to have the best of both worlds.
Told with heartwarming illustrations and spare, sweet text, Jessie Sima’s debut picture book is about fitting in, standing out, and the all-encompassing love of family
All Are Welcome
Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.
“This is a must-read for pre-school and elementary classrooms everywhere. An important book that celebrates diversity and inclusion in a beautiful, age-appropriate way.” – Trudy Ludwig, author of The Invisible Boy and Quiet Please, Owen McPhee!
The Skin You Live In
With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children’s activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picturebook offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.
Why Are You Looking at Me? I Just Have Down Syndrome
This story is about the life of a child with Down Syndrome that wants to be your friend. Lynn may look different than most children, but has many of the same likes and dislikes. Help your child discover what it means to accept and embrace a relationship with people who are different.
Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!
Elmer’s Special Day
Elmer, the patchwork elephant, has been a favorite of children around the world since the first book debuted in 1989. Elmer’s Special Day is the latest book in this classic series. It’s almost Elmer Day again for the elephants, and they are getting their colorful parade outfits ready. But in their excitement they are making an awful lot of noise and upsetting the other animals. So Elmer changes the rules and invites every single animal to join in the parade. And they have a surprise in store for Elmer…
Happy reading! We hope you enjoyed seeing our top picks of children’s books that celebrate diversity.If you’d like to find books that teach children kindness and compassion, read our list here. All books can be purchases via Amazon and good book shops.
We are proud to celebrate diversity at Wild.Kind., and encourage children through play, reading, and general conversations to become knowledgeable and well-rounded in this topic.