Friday, May 19, 2017

Best Children's Books About Diversity


There's no better time than now to do a book list for parents to read with their children about the importance of celebrating diversity. The younger - the better. Sometimes children can be naturally curious of different people and different cultures, and it's our job as parents to educate them that different doesn't necessarily mean bad. Different is beautiful, and there are all kinds of people in the world.

Here are some of our favorite books that celebrate diversity and multiculturalism:
(Ages 4-10)
This book is one of our new favorites, written by the elegant Queen Rania of Jordan. It is really relatable and it's a situation that they will all experience - someone will make fun of their lunch, particularly if they come from another culture. It tells kids' not to be afraid of food that is "different", especially when they have never tasted it. A good book too, for picky eaters who are scared to try new foods.

People
(Ages 4-10)
This is a lovely book that celebrates diversity all over the world in beautiful, delicate drawings. It will ignite a greater understanding of other cultures from around the world, explained through geography, fashion, religion, holidays, families, and work. It's a short, colorful encyclopedia for curious minds.

Everybody Cooks Rice
(Ages 3-8)
This book follows the story of a little girl going around her diverse neighborhood before dinnertime to fetch her older brother. As she wanders into her neighbors' houses, she realizes all of them are cooking rice in different ways. The neighbors all come from different cultures, like China, or Haiti, for example. It teaches the young reader that you can make so many different things with one ingredient.

It's Okay To Be Different
(Ages 2-6)
This is a simple book with bright pictures that I would recommend for the youngest readers. It provides a great foundation for celebrating diversity and tolerating differences. The author touches on race, disabilities, families, feelings, and more.

It's A Small World
(Ages 1-6)
If you have to buy a Disney storybook, this one should be it. This book is based on the "It's a Small World" ride from Disneyland and song. This book comes with a CD so you can sing along to the story. The illustrations are modern, cute, and fun.

A Ride on Mother's Back
(Ages 3-8)
I originally discovered this book in my midwife's office and fell in love with it. This book follows all the mommies who carry their babies in different parts of the world - from the Arctic, to Asia, to Africa, and beyond. Children can learn that all moms and babies around the world are similar, but they just live in different climates and wear different clothes.

One Family
(Ages 1-6)
I loved this simple and direct book about different types of families. It was so incredibly diverse - showing gay parents, foster parents, big or small families, and more. The pictures were colorful and vibrant, and the language was strong and simple. This is also a good book for practicing counting.
(Ages 2-8)
This book is particularly nice for interracial families because it features a black mom and a white dad. It celebrates the love that the parents' have for their children and how mom and dad have such different personalities. It's a feel-good book with charming, poetic language.

Mixed Me!
(Ages 2-8)
This is one of our favorites, written by the famous actor Taye Diggs. It's about a super cool mixed kid named Mike who's unique and proud to be mixed. The book touches on the fact that not everyone will understand why "mom and dad don't match" but that's okay. It also tells mixed children that they're "a perfect blend of dark and light", instilling self-confidence in a young reader.

The Colors of Us
(Ages 2-10)
This book is a celebration of diverse skin color, written in pretty prose. It focuses on the many shades on brown skin and celebrates it in a positive way by comparing the shades of brown to a delicious food. The illustrations in the book bounce off the page and are very painterly.

Click HERE to see some of our other favorite children's books.

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What are your favorite children's books that celebrate diversity?
Is there any that we can add to this list?
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