19 Unforgettable Children’s Books That Celebrate Diversity
Go beyond all the same old stories.
1. The Princess Cupcake Jones series by Yllena Fields
This African-American princess goes on adventures all kids can relate to in these books which feature mellifluous rhymes and attractive illustrations.
2. Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee
The acclaimed filmmaker (Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X) and his wife wrote this book about a pair of energetic toddlers who meet an even more energetic puppy. The duo also wrote the companion book, Please, Baby, Please.
3. Curlilocks and the Three Pink Pandas by Yolanda King
This clever twist on the classic fairy tale features adorable illustrations and a good lesson.
4. Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia
An Indian-American boy’s grandfather shares with his grandson his adventures as a boy in India (trying to tie cobras in knots!) and his love of Indian cuisine.
5. Rifka Takes A Bow by Betty Rosenberg Perlov
Set in the 1920s, Rifka is the daughter of actors in the Yiddish Theater who one day finds herself center stage.
6. Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
Newbery Medal winner Park has woven a delightful tale about a modern Korean-American family and the delicious food they enjoy.
7. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
When Unhei moves to America from Korea, she vows to change her name because she worries that her new classmates won’t be able to pronounce it. The sweet twist is that, when her classmates learn of her name’s meaning, they urge her to keep it.
8. King For A Day by Rukhsana Khan
Set in the spring during the centuries-old Basant Festival, King For A Day tells the story of Malik, a boy who uses a wheelchair, as he competes with other kids in the traditional sport of kite fighting.
9. NiÃ±o Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
This quirky tale introduces the world to Niño, a wrestling-loving Mexican kid who takes on and defeats a series of increasingly formidable foes.
10. The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos
Deftly mixing words in both Spanish and English, this beautifully-illustrated book dramatizes the making of a heaping pot of arroz con leche.
11. Starring Hillary by Kathy Caple
A little girl — anthropomorphized as a cat — worries that she might not win a part in the school play because she’s “a little on the round side,” but when she embraces who she is she impresses at the audition.
12. Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting
This book is a starkly honest portrayal of a homeless boy and his father who live in an airport terminal.
13. Mommy’s New Tattoo: A Bedtime Story for People by Levi Greenacres
Written by a tattooist, this alternative bedtime story is about a little girl who visits a tattoo parlor with her mother and learns about the beauty — and lasting consequences — of body art.
14. Keeping Up With Roo by Sharlee Glenn
This poignant story is about Gracie, a girl whose best friend is her Aunt Roo. However, when Gracie grows older and realizes her aunt is mentally challenged, she worries about what people will think about her.
15. Crazy Horse’s Vision by Joseph Bruchac
Abenaki author Bruchac dramatizes the childhood of legendary Native American hero, Crazy Horse, back when he was known as “Curly” because of his curly hair.
16. Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis
Susan is a little girl who can do everything her peers do. On the last page, however, it is revealed that Susan uses a wheelchair.
17. Mommy, Mama, and Me & Daddy, Papa, and Me by LeslÃ©a Newman
These books follow a pair of toddlers as their loving same-sex parents take care of them.
18. The Boy With Pink Hair by Perez Hilton
A little boy who is teased for being different learns to appreciate his uniqueness thanks to his parents and best friend.