June 4, 2020

16 Children’s Books that Celebrate Diversity

Childrens Books that Celebrate Diversity

This is a post I’ve been wanting to create for a long time. Admittedly, with everything going on in the world, it felt more appropriate than ever to finally publish. As a mom of two small children, I’m aware of the great responsibility, but also the privilege, to teach them about the beauty of different people and cultures. At the end of the day, it all begins at home and I’m hopeful for a future generation that’s more open-minded than the ones before it. Below is a list of children’s books that celebrate diversity. I also want to point out that I am using affiliate links, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to organizations educating all children about racial equality.

16 Children’s Books that Celebrate Diversity

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family (Ages 4 – 8)

An uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are.

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.

When We Were Alone (Ages 4 – 8)

A story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away.

We’re Different, We’re The Same (Ages 4 – 8)

A timeless story about acceptance and living in a multicultural world.

A Sesame Street picture-back book that tells a brilliant, timeless story about acceptance and living in a multicultural world. Great read for the classroom or to enjoy at home.

Where Are You From? (Ages 4 – 8)

A great conversation starter in the home or classroom.

This resonant picture book tells the story of one girl who constantly gets asked a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer. Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one.

Mae Among The Stars (Ages 4 – 8)

The perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts.

When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She wanted to be an astronaut. Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible. Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space. This story is inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison.

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment (Ages 4 – 8)

How an everyday moment became an extraordinary one, that continues to resonate its power, inspiration, and indelible impact.

A visit to Washington, DC’s National Portrait Gallery forever alters Parker Curry’s young life when she views First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait. Parker saw the possibility and promise, the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama.

Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills (Ages 3 – 7)

A timeless story about justice, equality, and the importance of following one’s heart and dreams.

Born to parents who were both former slaves, Florence Mills knew at an early age that she loved to sing, and her performing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired everyone from songwriters to playwrights. Yet with all her success, she knew firsthand how prejudice shaped her world and the world of those around her. As a result, Florence chose to support and promote works by her fellow black performers while heralding a call for their civil rights.

The Day You Begin (Ages 5 – 8)

A reminder about the importance of perseverance despite the uncertainty.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet. But somehow you do it. This #1 New York Times Bestseller reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History (Ages 8 – 12)

A bold, joyous light on black men through history in this New York Times Bestseller.

This beautifully illustrated and engagingly written volume brings to life true stories of black men in history. Among these biographies, readers will find aviators and artists, politicians and pop stars, athletes and activists. The exceptional men featured include writer James Baldwin, artist Aaron Douglas, filmmaker Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, lawman Bass Reeves, civil rights leader John Lewis, dancer Alvin Ailey, and musician Prince. The legends mentioned in this book span centuries and continents, but each one has blazed a trail for generations to come.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (Ages 8 – 12)

The important, educational true stories of 40 trailblazing black women in American history.

Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash. Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things – bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come.

Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You (Ages 4 – 8)

A kind and caring book about celebrating the differences that make each of us unique.

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

Littles: And How They Grow (All Ages)

A beautiful rhyming ode to babies —perfect for baby showers, first birthdays, and anytime babies are celebrated.

With adorable scenes from the busy life of a “little”—peekaboo, feedings, tantrums, giggles—and a final scene that reminds us how they become big kids all too soon, this is the ideal gift for any new parent and their child.

Separate Is Never Equal (Ages 6 – 9)

An educational story about a family’s fight for desegregation.

Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez, an American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, and her parents helped end school segregation in California after Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.

A Different Pond (Ages 6 – 8)

A powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son – and between cultures, old and new.

As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam.

My First Chinese New Year (Ages 2 – 5)

A fun and colorful way to introduce the Chinese New Year to young readers.

Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it.

AntiRacist Baby (All Ages)

For readers of all ages dedicated to forming a Just society.

With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, this board book introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism, by providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age.

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7 comments

  • Nora

    Love these suggestions- can’t wait to get some!

  • Sel

    Helena, wonderful book recommendations. I am drawn to the books showcasing the stories of exceptional black men and women in history for my young god-daughter. On a side note, I remember going to the cinema with my then 14 year old niece to watch the movie “Hidden Figures”. I did not know that so many women had been instrumental to NASA’s success during the space programme of the 1960s. My niece and I are white and the way that Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson handled the racism directed at them with intellect, strength of spirit in adversity and compassion moved us both and ignited curiosity in my niece to want to learn more about these women and their life experiences. I am not from the US and if anyone out there is aware of a biography/autobiography on any of these wonderful women, I would be grateful. Sel

  • Kelsey

    Hi Helena,
    I have been reading your blog for fashion inspiration for the past four years. I haven’t left a comment before but wanted to drop a line to thank you for this post and always having interesting, timely content!
    – Kelsey in Jersey City

  • Mireia

    So important to educate kids when they’re little!

    Mireia from TGL
    https://thegoldlipstick.com/

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  • Chris Domino

    Ugly Vegetables about a multiracial neighborhood and the variety of food they eat.

  • Lawrence Westfall

    My daughter lives diversity. She is 1/2 American and 1/2 Thai. She speaks both languages and is also learning Chinese. Unfortunately, the country we live in, Thailand, is highly racist – especially against dark skinned people – mainly because they are seen as poor farmer.

    https://smartphone-case.com/collections/personalized

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