Children’s books about diversity are a great way to help your child embrace difference and learn empathy. Here are our top picks for teaching your kiddo that being different is always worth celebrating.
In our world today, we’re learning more and more to celebrate diversity.
And we are here for it. 🙌🏻🙌🏼🙌🏽🙌🏾🙌🏿
Children’s books about diversity provide a great opportunity to teach your child about the beauty of variety—as well as encouraging them to treasure the qualities that make them unique.
And when it comes to developing little kids’ social and emotional development, these are lessons that last a lifetime.
We’ve gathered 17 enriching books on diversity and inclusion sure to offer your child a wide selection of illuminating lenses through which to see their world.
Ready to open their minds and unlock their empathy?
In this article 📝
- How do you teach diversity in a fun way?
- What is diversity in children’s books?
- What books represent diversity?
- 17 Most popular children’s books on diversity
- How do I find a diverse children’s book?
How do you teach diversity in a fun way?
The best way to explain diversity to your child is to use their natural curiosity.
Children notice differences very early in their lives and they’re not afraid to ask questions.
Introducing them to lots of different people and experiences is a fun way of showing them diversity and fostering acceptance.
Providing them with engaging children’s books about diversity is a great idea, too.
Through the magic of storytelling, kids can start to see through the eyes of people who are different from themselves.
What is diversity in children’s books?
Diversity in books is all about representation.
And it comes in many forms – that’s the beauty of it.
Representation allows your child to see themselves (and others) as worthy of acceptance.
It also opens their eyes to other children’s experiences, fostering that deep empathy that leads to better relationships, leadership skills, and emotional intelligence.
If you’re wondering how do you explain diversity to a child, providing them with stories about diverse characters created by diverse authors is a powerful way to do it.
And it’s not just how characters look either.
Learning about diversity can also take the form of seeing how fictional characters navigate different scenarios like bullying, loss, and difficult emotions.
The more unique experiences your child sees, the more opportunities you have to engage in healthy discussions.
And that can only bode well for supporting their social and emotional wellbeing.
What books represent diversity?
Diversity knows no bounds.
Books embracing cultural differences, LGBTQ+ families, disability, and adoption are all powerful examples of representation.
Look out for books written by diverse authors and who feature characters from all walks of life.
You can start with a few of the books we’ve chosen below.
Just like the stories within them, the reading level varies but they all share vibrant illustrations that toddlers and young children will enjoy.
17 Most popular children’s books on diversity
From bilingual heroes to breaking gender rules, here are our top picks to bring a world of difference to your storytime:
1. Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival
Norman has a new set of wings but what will everyone think?
Featuring vibrant illustrations, this first book in the Big Bright Feelings series is an uplifting take on embracing individuality.
Tom Percival’s sweet tale explores themes of self acceptance and not conforming to the ‘norm’.
A powerful choice for helping little kids find the courage to honour themselves no matter what.
2. A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza
The heartwarming tale of a bird in search of a mama to love him.
Keiko Kasza’s cheerful story is a highly recommended choice for helping kids to understand adoption.
Especially if they feel in anyway different from their loving carers.
3. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
When it comes to children’s books about same sex families, you can’t beat this one.
One of the first of its kind, Justin Richardson’s book tells the sweet story about two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who raise a chick together.
And better yet, it’s true!
4. Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
A beautiful board book with pictures of babies being cared for in all different kinds of families, with rhyming text that children will love to hear at story-time.
One of the best (non-obvious) diversity books for curious toddlers.
5. I Am Enough by Grace Byers
An empowering and lyrical illustrated book for girls of all ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.
Written by actress and activist Grace Byers, I Am Enough celebrates self-confidence while highlighting the importance of respect.
Buy for Keturah A. Bobo’s vibrant illustrations alone.
6. Love Makes A Family by Sophie Beer
This colorful board book shows families enjoying spending time together.
They all look a little different—older parents, same-sex parents, multicultural families—but they all have one thing in common: love.
7. Lovely by Jess Hong
A fun and quirky book featuring pictures with thought-provoking captions.
For example, a page of legs (yep, just legs) where someone with hairy legs wears stilettos (“Fancy”) and someone with a prosthetic leg is about to kick a soccer ball (“Sporty”).
We’re all different, but we’re all lovely.
8. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald No Combina by Monica Brown
This bilingual (English and Spanish) book tells the engaging story of Marisol, a Peruvian-Scottish-American girl who’s determined to go her own way in the world.
Monica Brown brings her own experiences of being mismatched to a visually splendid tale about the beauty of being biracial and the power of independent thinking.
9. Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
A little Muslim American girl has fun playing with her mama’s colorful headscarves, feeling the warmth of love with each one.
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrator Ebony Glenn provide an affirming picture book for Muslim and interfaith families.
And in the center of it all, the unbreakable bond between a mother and a daughter.
10. My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best
The uplifting story of Zulay, a young girl who isn’t going to let her blindness get in the way of her ambition to run a race on Field Day.
This inclusive tale offers inspiration and empowerment in abundance without shying away from the unique challenges faced by children with special needs.
A great pick for the whole family to read together.
11. Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima
One for the unicorn fans!
The heartwarming tale of Kelp, who always thought he was a narwhal like everyone else in his family, but one day finds out that he’s really a unicorn.
Where does Kelp fit in now?
You and your child will love finding out.
12. Over the Hill and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes edited by Elizabeth Hammill
Expose your child to cultural diversity with this beautifully illustrated collection of nursery rhymes from across the world.
Featuring 150 beloved rhymes from Chinese, African, and even Latino cultures, this beautiful collection also features a unique mix of illustrations from over 70 artists!
Imagine the questions your little Peanut will have…
13. Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman
Ready to reframe the pink/blue binary?
Robb Pearlman’s colorful and empowering book tackles gender stereotypes, encouraging kids to do whatever they love to do.
Even if that means loving unicorns and racing cars.
14. Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg
If you’re looking for children’s books about different cultures coming together, try this one.
It’s the light-hearted story of a multicultural family celebrating Hanukkah while savoring delicious traditional Indian food.
15. Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
A blue crayon is given a red label by mistake, and we join him on his journey towards discovering that he is, really, blue!
A great story about being true to your inner self, which also speaks into the experience of being transgender.
16. We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Jane Kates
This is one of those children’s books about diversity and inclusion that’s become a classic.
Let the Sesame Street gang teach your little one about how we’re all the same on the inside—but different and special on the outside.
17. What Happened to You? by James Catchpole
A funny and thought-provoking story from the point of view of a young boy with a disability who just wants to play.
Based on James Catchpole’s own childhood experiences, this essential book teaches kids with special needs that they always have a choice to answer.
And teaches all children the value of empathy.
How do I find a diverse children’s book?
Check out your local library, visit bookshops, or ask other mamas on Peanut for recommendations.
There’s so much out there.
Happy reading! 📚