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Children’s Books that Celebrate Diversity

Books are so special for children—they introduce kids to new places and offer unique perspectives to help children expand their minds. Reading diverse books is especially critical because children are able to learn the lessons at an early age to help them become a better global citizen. Diverse characters and stories invite all children to recognize the broad spectrum of human experience. 

For children of color and different abilities, it’s important for representation and creating role models. For all children, it’s important to be able to celebrate other cultures and what brings us together. While it’s still more difficult than it should be to find books by and about families of color, it’s never too early to stock up your children’s home bookshelves. Here are our favorites!

For young children (ages 0-3)

Besos for Baby by Jen Arena & Blanca Gomez

Besos for Baby: A little book of kisses is a soothing bedtime (or anytime!) story of the love a baby brings for a family. This story weaves in Spanish and English to highlight the cross-cultural nature of giving your baby a smooch!

Dream Big Little One by Vashti Harrison

Dream Big Little One is an inspiring story featuring 18 trailblazing Black women across American History. The beautiful illustrations highlight new role models, friends, and heroes to celebrate the achievements of Black women. 

First Laugh Welcome Baby by Rose Ann Tahe, Nancy Bo Flood, & Jonathan Nelson

First Laugh Welcome Baby is a tale from the Navajo Nation about the joyous sound of a baby’s laugh. The story weaves in the entire family as they celebrate their youngest member’s chuckle! This story helps shine light on how baby traditions differ across cultures.

For children in preschool or kindergarten (3-6)

Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Mommy’s Khimar is a beautiful story of a young girl who loves to play dress up in her mother’s head scarves. The story highlights the bond the mother and daughter share.

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Julian is a Mermaid is a sweet tale of a young boy living in New York who is obsessed with mermaids. Julian and his abuela explore his passion in this heartwarming book. This book demonstrates acceptance and love.

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

The Colors of Us explores our different skin tones through the eyes of seven-year-old Lena as she and her mom walk through their neighborhood. This book can inspire beautiful conversations about the broad color spectrum of human skin. 

For school-aged children (6-9)

We are Grateful Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell & Frane Lessac

We are Grateful Ostaliheliga is an award winning book from the Cherokee nation. The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) expresses gratitude in the Cherokee language. This book takes you through the seasons, and the gratitude felt during each time. 

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang & Charlene Chua

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao is a tale of a child striving for perfection. The book’s beautiful illustrations take us through this family cooking together to make, of course, the perfect bao. 

Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls  

Emmaunel’s Dream is the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, born in Ghana with one deformed leg. This story, championed by Oprah Winfrey, highlights perseverance. Emmanuel shows that disability is not inability in this touching story. 

Do your children love reading? Tag SmartSitting in your Facebook and Instagram posts so we can see your kid’s favorite books! Looking for more book recommendations? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for all the latest info coming from our team!

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