10 Children’s Books That Celebrate Diversity

Diverse Books

The demand for vibrant, thoughtful children’s books that celebrate the multicultural society we live in has never been greater. What better way to help children learn at an early age that the world is filled with many different kinds of people than through the magic of books? Children love reading books about people and families that are similar to theirs, as well as books about those who are different. Below are some of our favorite beautifully illustrated children’s books that embrace a wide spectrum of children and families of different colors, cultures, abilities, and nationalities.

Round Is a Mooncake, by Jenny Thong
A curious young girl explores her home and neighborhood and marvels at objects that are different shapes—a round rice bowl, a square pizza box, and a rectangular cell phone—which are also a clever reflection of the traditional Chinese and American cultures that enrich her world. (Ages 2–5)

The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
This unforgettable classic, with its indelible collage illustrations, follows snow-suited little boy Peter as he explores the beautiful transformation his city undergoes after a heavy snow. We read it as kids, and our kids will hopefully read it to their kids. (Ages 3–5)

The Good Luck Cat, by Joy Harjo
This sweet, warmly illustrated book tells the story of a contemporary Native American girl and her lucky cat, Woogie, who has used up 8 of his 9 lives when he suddenly disappears. Will he make it back to her? (Spoiler alert for parents—he totally does.) (Ages 3–7)

Something Beautiful, by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
The moving tale of a young African American girl who, dispirited by the ugliness she sees in her neighborhood, seeks to find “something beautiful,” and is inspired by those around her to see the beauty in everyday sights and objects. The gorgeous illustrations will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. (Ages 3–7)

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth, by Sanjay Patel
A zingy, delightful interpretation of a classic tale from Hindu mythology, this book will hook children with its eye-popping illustrations and compelling blend of traditional Hindu lore with a contemporary flair. (Ages 4–8)

My Brother Charlie, by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
Callie’s twin brother Charlie is very dear to her, but he’s also very different from her, especially in one important way: Charlie has autism. There are many things that he can do very well, and other things he needs some help with. This loving story celebrates the special bond that siblings have and offers a glimpse into the world—and family—of a child on the autism spectrum. (Ages 4–8)

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, by Monica Brown
A Peruvian-Scottish-American spitfire, Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and brown skin, wears polka dots with stripes, and brings peanut butter and jelly burritos to school for lunch. And that’s the way she likes it…that is, until she begins to feel self-conscious about the way she stands out. Will she take the other children seriously when they try to tease her into fitting in with everyone else? Or will she take her kindly teacher’s advice and continue to be her wonderful self? (Ages 4–8)

Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Alvin Ho Series), by Lenore Look
Alvin is an Asian American second grader who is so timid in school that he never says a word—but at home, it’s a different story, as he becomes a thunderous superhero named Firecracker Man! Kids—especially those who love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series—will root for Alvin. (Ages 6–10)

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream, by Jenny Han
When 8-year-old Clara Lee has a bad dream that is interpreted by her Korean grandfather as lucky, she does indeed have a great day at school! But soon her luck runs out—does that mean she’s going to lose her chance at being the next Little Miss Apple Pie in the town’s fall festival? Readers will sympathize with Clara Lee’s dilemmas in this charming chapter book. (Ages 7–10)

Donavan’s Double Trouble, by Monalisa DeGross
African American fourth grader Donavan thought this was going to be his year—but instead, he’s having trouble in school (spelling is no problem, but math is eluding him), and problems at home, where his beloved Uncle Vic has returned from the war in a wheelchair with both legs missing. Will his younger sister have to tutor him in math? And what are his friends are going to think when they see Uncle Vic in his wheelchair at a school event? Donavan’s perseverance in overcoming his problems with math and in repairing his relationship with his uncle will inspire and delight kids, particularly those who have struggled in school or at home. (Ages 8–12)

What are your favorite children’s books celebrating diversity?

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