Children’s books are known for colorful illustrations, rhyming prose, and plot lines that encourage values such as friendship, family, and forgiveness. However, many children might not find themselves or their families reflected in the books they read. A 2015 study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center found that while diversity in children’s literature is improving, white and non-human (animals, trucks, etc) characters still make up 85.8% of characters in books.
In our vibrant community, it’s important to include books that celebrate diversity in both our home and school collections. The following are just a few of the increasing number of children’s books that celebrate different abilities, colors, cultures, nationalities, and more.
- The Good Luck Cat – Joy Harjo
Woogie is a cat with plenty of luck. Unfortunately, he’s also used 8 of his 9 lives already. When Woogie suddenly disappears, will his good luck help him make it home? Ages 3-7
- Round Is A Tortilla: A Book of Shapes – Roseanne Thong
Beautiful illustrations and fun rhyming texts help children explore the shapes in the world around them! Young readers ages 2-5 will also enjoy other books from the series including Round is a Mooncake, Red is a Dragon, and Green is a Chile Pepper, which all celebrate the everyday beauty of different cultures in our world.
- My Brother Charlie – Holly Robinson Peete
Callie loves her twin brother Charlie; he knows lots about airplanes, can play the piano, and can tell you the names of all the Presidents. Charlie also has autism, which makes it hard for him to express his feelings, make new friends, or stay safe. My Brother Charlie is a great choice for siblings of children with autism, as well as those who want to better understand their autistic friends or classmates. Ages 4-8
- Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match – Monica Brown
Marisol is Scottish-Peruvian; she has red hair and brown skin, wears stripes with polka dots, and brings peanut butter and jelly burritos for lunch. When her classmates start teasing her, Marisol wonders if matching more would help her fit in. Perfect for multiracial children struggling to find how they “match”. Ages 4-8
- Donovan’s Double Trouble – Monalisa DeGross
Donovan thought fourth grade would be his best year yet. Instead, he’s failing math and might need his younger sister to tutor him. Donovan’s beloved Uncle Vic also returned from overseas a double paraplegic; what will the kids at school think when they see Uncle Vic in his wheelchair? A great addition for children struggling with their feelings about a disabled relative. Ages 8-12