The Most Diverse Books for Kids
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Teaching children about diversity is important at all ages, and it should start as young as possible. Part of the way young children begin to develop a sense of identity and self-esteem is by noticing traits and characteristics about themselves and others. For example, a three-year-old might notice that they have dark skin and dark hair while their best friend has blond hair and pale skin. Unfortunately, parents and educators struggle at times to find the best way to discuss diversity appropriately. It feels uncomfortable to many adults to point out and discuss differences. However, the more we embrace our differences and put them out in the open, the more normal it is to see people of all shapes, colors, sizes, and genders. We don’t need to be frightened of topics concerning ethnicity, religion, race, culture, gender, etc. instead;, we need to embrace them.
I spent years teaching preschool and Pre-K, and my classroom bookshelf was always full of diverse children’s books. Children love to listen to adults read aloud and learn new stories. By reading diverse books, I also opened myself up to learning new things and discovered many beautiful books and stories, factual and fictional, that I could pass on to others.
Reading is one of the truest and oldest ways to learn and pass on knowledge, not to mention the fantastic benefits it has for young people today who are surrounded by digital devices and screens. So if you are looking for some books to celebrate diversity with the young readers in your life, we have compiled a list of our top picks of diverse books!
Our Top Picks
- Best True Story: Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
- Best Book for Toddlers: We’re Different, We’re The Same, and We’re All Wonderful by Bobbi Kates
- Best Rhyming Book: Fiona Flamingo by Rachel Urrutia Chu
- Best Book on Inclusion: All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
- Best Book By a Celebrity Author: Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor
- Best Book About Self Empowerment: I Am Enough by Grace Byers
- Best Book on Muslim Culture for Young Children: Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
- Best Book on LGBTQ and Gender Issues: Julián Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love
- Best Book on Cultural Differences: Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
- Best Book for Girl Power: Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison
- Best Book About Difference Families: Families, Families, Families! By Suzanne Lang
- Best Book for Boys: A Boy Like You by Frank Murphy
- Best Books for Teens and Tweens: We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
- Best New School Book for Older Kids: New Kid by Jerry Craft
- The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
- Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic by Lilly Workneh
- The Girl Who Shared Kindness by Taylor Koelbl
- Love and Monsters in Sofia’s Life by Belinda Hernández Arriaga
- Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? by Bonnie Bader
- Ellie the Elephant Makes New Friends at School by Agnes Green
- Special Olympics: Global Citizens Sports by Adam Hellebuyck
- Black Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement: A Black History Book for Kids by Glenda Armand
- A Library for Juana by Pat Mora