May Reading List: Children’s Books About Diversity

children's books about diversity

May’s reading list comes to you a bit late, but with the events that have happened in the past few weeks, I thought instead of sharing what I’ve recently read, I will share a few children’s books about diversity.

As a parent, I think introducing my kids to different cultures early on is so important. As you may already know, I was born and raised in Bulgaria, and my husband is born and raised in the States but comes from a Mexican family. Because of that, our kids have experienced so much diversity from both sides, and I love that.

Diversity is what makes us different and unique. It’s what makes us who we are. And these books are an excellent way to introduce your little ones about the importance of race, equality, and inclusion.

Children’s Books About Diversity

Whoever You Are

Age Range: 4-7 years

A book that teaches children that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and respectfully, whoever they are. It’s written in a straightforward language, which makes it easy to understand by younger kids.

We’re Different, We’re The Same (Sesame Street)

Age Range: 3-7 years

Everyone loves Sesame Street and what better way to teach your kid about the diversity than with this book. We all look different but we share the same needs and have the same feelings. We may have different skin colors or look different on the outside, but on the inside, we’re all the same.

The Ugly Vegetables

Age Range: 4-8 years

In this charming story about celebrating differences, a Chinese-American girl wishes for a garden of bright flowers instead of one full of bumpy, ugly, vegetables. The neighbors’ gardens look so much prettier and so much more inviting to the young gardener than the garden of “black-purple-green vines, fuzzy wrinkled leaves, prickly stems, and a few little yellow flowers” that she and her mother grow. Nevertheless, the mother assures her that “these are better than flowers.” Come harvest time, everyone agrees as those ugly Chinese vegetables become the tastiest, most aromatic soup they have ever known. As the neighborhood comes together to share flowers and ugly vegetable soup, the young gardener learns that regardless of appearances, everything has its own beauty and purpose.

Last Stop on Market Street

Age Range: 3-5 years

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

Listening with my Heart: A Story of Kindness and Self-Compassion

Age Range: 6-10 years

When Esperanza finds a heart-shaped rock, she sees it as a reminder to spread kindness and love in the world. But when the school play doesn’t go the way she’d hoped, will she remember to show it to herself?

Chocolate Milk, Por Favor: Celebrating Diversity with Empathy

Age Range: 4-11 years

It’s Gabe’s first day of school in America, and he doesn’t speak English. This story shows how a simple act of kindness is worth more than a thousand words. Kindness really is a universal language.

I Am Enough

Age Range: 4-8 years

This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

The Day You Begin

Age Range: 5-8 years

There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. 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.

Hair Love

Age Range: 4-8 years

Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy. Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair — and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.

Ada Twist, Scientist

Age Range: 5-7 years

Ada Twist’s head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie—stars of their own New York Times bestselling picture books Iggy Peck, Architect, and Rosie Revere, Engineer—Ada has always been endlessly curious. Even when her fact-finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments don’t go as planned, Ada learns the value of thinking her way through problems and continuing to stay curious.

An ABC of Equality

Age Range: 0-5 years

From A to Z, simple explanations accompanied by engaging artwork teach children about the world we live in and how to navigate our way through it. Each right-hand page includes a brightly decorated letter with the word it stands for and an encouraging slogan. On the left, a colorful illustration and bite-size text sum up the concept. Cheerful people from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities lead the way through the alphabet.

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