Some of the links below may be affiliate links. That means that, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. All opinions and recommendations here are our own.
We live in an increasingly diverse world. At school, out children are likely to meet other kids who are different from them in any number of ways, whether they’re of another race or religion, have a disability, speak a different language, or have same-sex parents–just to name a few examples.
Parents and teachers can play an important role in helping children appreciate and respect these differences, and understand that they have more in common than they realize. Having these important conversations with children can help them grow as human beings, and possibly even make them more successful adults.
According to Jennifer Brown, author of Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will To Change, the leaders of today and tomorrow need to be inclusion minded. She believes that parents can plan a key role in making that happen. “If parents can make positive discussions about diversity – of background, of identity – a core part of regular family dialogue,” she says, “this will encourage kids to carry that valuing behavior with them, into their working lives – ultimately making them more effective, more hirable candidates for the world’s best companies.”
But broaching these conversations around diversity can be awkward. It isn’t always easy to choose the right language to resonate with young children.
Children’s Books About Diversity Stimulate Discussion
Fortunately, many great children’s books have been written to explore the subject. Reading them with the children in your life can spark meaningful conversations and supply helpful metaphors to anchor your discussion.
In this post, we present fifteen of the best children’s books about diversity and inclusion to help you navigate these important conversations.
From the cherished author of dozens of emotional children’s books, It’s Okay to Be Different encourages kids to express their feelings and accept themselves and others.
This rhyming read makes for a fun read-aloud. It celebrates multiculturalism by focusing on skin — from its different shades, to the fun you can have in it.
This charmingly illustrated book celebrates what people have in common, as well as what sets them apart. You’ll also find helpful tips for discussing these themes with children.
This touching book evolved from a bed-time story told by the author to his son. With its gentle words of encouragement, it is sure to create meaningful moments with the children in your life.
A sweetly illustrated story that presents beautiful messages of inclusion and unity with a rhyming cadence that is sure to appeal to young children.
Visit Frankie’s world, where there are no gender stereotypes and kids can do what they love and be themselves. Don’t miss the discussion questions for parents and teachers.
This children’s book sends the message that the millions of children around the world — who live very different lives, look different and speak different languages — are still very much the same on the inside.
This book, written by parenting expert Doyin Richards, focuses on diversity on inclusion, encouraging children to see that “it’s what makes you different that makes you wonderful”.
Filled with beautiful photos of children with different complexions, this children’s book celebrates ethnic diversity in a heartwarming way.
Another exploration of skin color, through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl whose interest in painting a self-portrait leads her discovering the different shades of people.
Based on a true story, this tale follows young Rowan on a journey to meet his neighbors, representing 14 countries and four of the main religions. Young readers are sure to enjoy learning about the different countries, religions and languages mentioned.
Striking painted visuals set this book apart and brings the theme of diversity to life by depicting a faraway planet where being different is the norm.
This book is a great launchpad for meaningful discussions with children about diversity, inviting young readers to notice and appreciate both similarities and differences.
Sesame Street is well placed to teach children that we’re all the same on the inside (whatever differences exist on the outside) and that these differences are what make the world a special place.
Dreamed up by the author and illustrator and her seventh-grade daughter, this heart-warming tale shares a fresh perspective on the subjects of diversity and inclusiveness, using the metaphor of a big red umbrella that is large enough to cover everyone.