Children’s Books that Celebrate Diversity
From race to gender identities to abilities and more, we’ve created a list of our favourite books which we hope will encourage kids to use their imagination, exposing them the beauty of uniqueness and inclusion
Mommy, Mama, and Me; Daddy, Papa, and Me by Lesléa Newman
One of the only original board books about gay parents! Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its mommies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together, sharing the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children. This book gives a positive view of LGBTQ families and are great books for kids with two mums or two dads, as well as for kids who could benefit from seeing a different kind of family structure.
Lovely by Jess Hong
Lovely, a debut picture book written and illustrated by Jess Hong, is a lively ode to being different. “What is lovely?” the text asks. “Lovely is different.” A girl with one blue eye and one brown eye looks directly at the viewer. Then comes a series of illustrative plays on words. The word “Black” is next to a white woman wearing black clothes. On the facing page, the word “white” accompanies a black woman with white hair. On other spreads, we see a tall woman walking a short dog (“tall”) opposite a short man walking with a tall dog (“short”), and a red-haired girl with a “fluffy” cat opposite a straight-haired girl with a “sleek” snake. As with any successful picture book, the art in Lovely doesn’t just illustrate the text, it expands it. This is why a spread like “Fancy. Sporty. Graceful. Stompy” works so well: Illustrated with four sets of legs — hairy legs wearing fancy red stilettos, prosthetic legs playing soccer, black legs in pink ballet slippers, and fishnet-stockinged legs in punk-rock platform boots — it shows the multifarious world in all its glory.
— Review by R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder, for The New York Time’s Book Review
Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Winner of a 2019 Stonewall Book Award.
This is Jessica Love’s debut picture book, and every choice she makes — the spare text, a color palette both muted and lively, full-bleed pages that make even subway cars and apartment rooms feel as expansive as the ocean — imbues the story with charm, tenderness and humor…Alongside Julián, readers learn that anyone can be a mermaid: All it takes is love and acceptance, a little imagination and a big swishy tail.
—The New York Times Book Review
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary
When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all.
One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby.
As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, her family is special.
– Review by Goodreads
A Day In the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
HBO’s Emmy-winning Last Week Tonight with John Oliver presents a picture book about a Very Special boy bunny who falls in love with another boy bunny.
Meet Marlon Bundo, a lonely bunny who lives with his Grampa, Mike Pence – the Vice President of the United States. But on this Very Special Day, Marlon’s life is about to change forever…
With its message of tolerance and advocacy, this charming children’s book explores issues of same sex marriage and democracy. Sweet, funny, and beautifully illustrated, this book is dedicated to every bunny who has ever felt different.
– Review by Goodreads
A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager
Tale of Two Daddies is a playground conversation between two children. The boy says he heard that the girl has two dads. The girl says that is right–she has Daddy and Poppa. True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow: “Which dad helps when your team needs a coach? / Which dad cooks you eggs and toast?” To which she answers: “Daddy is my soccer coach. / Poppa cooks me eggs and toast.”
Intended for 4- to 8-year-olds, this book introduces a type of family increasingly visible in modern society. Neither favoring nor condemning, it reflects a child’s practical and innocent look at the adults who nurture and love her. It becomes clear that the family bond is unburdened by any cultural discomforts.
– Review by Goodreads