Teaching children about diversity is a ‘sooner rather than later’ necessity in life. When kids learn from a young age to respect and appreciate differences, they grow up to be well-adjusted and well-liked individuals. For those who live in communities that aren’t particularly multi-cultural or are not around minorities or those of a different race, books that introduce different heritages are a good starting point. Here is a list of 15 books that do an excellent job of teaching children about all the wonderful differences that come together to make the world special. Some of these books will also help children open up their eyes to the values, and challenges, that minority and women business owners need to overcome.
Some of the top 15 books for diversity for kids to read
1. The Colors of Us
Author: Karen Katz
A girl named Lena wants to paint a picture of herself using brown paint for her skin. When she and her mother take a walk through their neighborhood, she notices that brown comes in many different shades. Lena then sees her world in a whole new way. Celebrating the differences and similarities that connect all people, this is one of the best children’s books about diversity.
2. Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building (2012)
Author: Christy Hale
This is a great STEAM book (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) that is targeted for kids under the age of 9 and older than 4.. It is an award winning picture book with images of Black, Latino, and other students of color, and it encourages engineering and building for preschoolers. Too many minority children (as well as women) miss out on this critical field, and Dreaming Up is a great start. Even find minority contracting businesses near you, including Juneau Construction LLC and others.
3. We’re Different, We’re the Same
Author: Bobbi Kates
Elmo and the Sesame Street cast help toddlers and adults alike to understand that it doesn’t matter that people look different on the outside because inside everyone is all the same. The same feelings, needs, and desires are shared despite appearances.
4. Chocolate Milk, Por Favor
Author: Maria Dismondy
On Gabe’s first day of school in America, a classmate decides not to be kind to him because he doesn’t speak English. Chocolate milk plays a major role in this story where student differences are celebrated and the real universal language is discovered.
5. Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
Author: Reem Faruqi
After Lailah’s family relocates to Peachtree, Georgia, from Abu Dhabi, she is excited to be old enough to fast during Ramadan, but concerned that her new classmates will not understand her traditions. With the help of the librarian and her teacher, Lailah learns how she can explain Ramadan to fellow students while making new friends who are respectful of her culture.
6. All are Welcome
Author: Alexandra Penfold
At this school, all children have a place, a space, and are loved and appreciated. Students are followed through their day as they learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. This is a lovely rhyming story.
7. A Family is a Family is a Family
Author: Sara O’Leary
A child worries that her family is just too difficult to explain, but then learns that everyone’s family is different and special. This is a warm and whimsical look at the many types of families.
8. Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World (2017)
Author: Reshma Saujani
The NY Times bestseller is targeted for children from age to 9 to 13. This is a down to earth books that teaches and encourages girls, including those of color, to be “coders” (get into the IT field). Drawing, simple explanations, games, and other content is this award winning book is easy for kids to understand. Learn how activities such as baking, riding a bike, and other activities can be thought of as “coding”. Find other women owned IT companies.
9. The Push: A Story of Friendship
Author: Patrick Gray
Marcus and John live next door to each other and are best friends. With Marcus pushing John’s wheelchair, they go on numerous adventures as John fuels their escapades with jokes. The boys discover that their unique gifts make them stronger as a team.
10. Giraffes Can’t Dance
Author: Giles Andreae
A touching story of Gerald the Giraffe who wants to learn to dance, but thin legs and crooked knees make it almost impossible for a giraffe to dance. Encouraging words from an unlikely friend help Gerald learn to dance to his own tune. This book provides gentle inspiration for children.
11. Happy in Our Skin
Author: Fran Manushkin
Cocoa brown, cinnamon, peaches and cream. An irresistible picture of the human family, and how wonderful it is to be together no matter what.
12. I’m Like You, You’re Like Me: A Book About Understanding and Appreciating Each Other
Author: Cindy Gainer
Children from preschool to lower elementary learn about diversity in terms they can understand: families with many members or few, hair that is curly or straight, and bodies that are small or big. Wide-ranging examples help kids appreciate the ways they are alike while affirming their individual differences.
13. A Mother For Choco
Author: Keiko Kasza
A sweet story that explains adoption in an age-appropriate manner for pre-schoolers. Choco wants a mother of his own and finds a family of animals who look nothing alike.
14. Everybody Cooks Rice
Author: Norah Dooley
This book celebrates food and the role it plays in different cultures, as a girl named Carrie searches her San Francisco neighborhood for her little brother who’s late for dinner. Every house she goes to contains a family of a different ethnic heritage, but they are all eating or preparing rice for their dinner. The book even includes recipes for the rice dishes.
15. Teach Your Dragon About Diversity
Author: Steve Herman
A dragon is sad because he is different from his friends. This is a fun and entertaining book from the My Dragon Books series with beautiful illustrations teaching kids that differences in gender, appearance, skin color, and beliefs do not separate people from one another.
16. Say Hello!
Author: Rachel Isadora
Carmelita loves to greet all the neighbors in her colorful neighborhood. There are so many cultures represented that she learns to say hello in French, Spanish, Japanese, and many other languages. Her dog, Manny, gets in on the fun with a cheerful, “Woof!” This simple portrait of a child’s day provides a wonderful introduction to the joy of language by emphasizing the rich diversity of America’s neighborhoods.
17. May Chinn : The Best Medicine (Science Superstars) (1995)
Author: Joyce R. Schwartz
This is a little older book, but a great resource celebrating diversity for children. The book is recommended for grades 3 to 9, and it tells the story of African American doctors. Racism, resilience, small business development, and other topics are touched on. But the end of the day, this is a great book for kids and celebrates diversity of the Black community.
18. Red: A Crayon’s Story
Author: Michael Hall
A blue crayon suffers an identity crisis after being mistakenly labeled as red in this engaging children’s book about finding the courage to be different. Funny and heartwarming, it deals with charting a unique path despite obstacles. The book can be read on different reading levels.
Both children and adults will enjoy reading these delightful stories over and over again. If not, we have additional women or minority authors listed on our directory, local book sellers, influencers that celebrate diversity. for both parents and their children. Find the Black, Latino, Asian, and Women owned business directory.
By Jon McNamara