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36 Children’s Books About Diversity to Read to Your Kids

Fill your bookshelves with these entertaining children's books about diversity to educate your kids—and yourself—about equity and inclusion.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Diverse Children Booksrd.com, via amazon.com (7)

Let’s turn the page on discrimination and prejudice

The best children’s books have always provided a powerful way for kids to put themselves in other people’s lives—from the prairie of Laura Ingalls to the world of wizards in Harry Potter. It’s in that spirit of fostering imagination, equity, inclusion, and kindness, that we curated our list of children’s books about diversity. Because having a diverse bookshelf matters.

But unless you make it a point to seek out multicultural children’s books, chances are you don’t have them. A recent count by Cooperative Children’s Book Center School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that “books about white children, talking bears, trucks, monsters, potatoes, etc. represent nearly three-quarters of children’s and young adult books published in 2019.” In other words, vegetables, animals, monsters, and aliens had more visibility in books than brown or black characters.

If you believe that “you can’t be what you can’t see,” then you’ll agree it’s paramount for all kids to see diverse characters and storylines in books to help them learn, understand, connect, and feel at home in the world. To that end, we created this comprehensive list by asking our book editors for recommendations, poring over “Best Of” lists and starred reviews, and reading dozens upon dozens of books to our kids to get their input. Scroll on to check out our list, and while you are compiling your library, be sure and check out the best nonfiction children’s books along with these books about racism, LGBTQ books, and books by Black and Latinx authors.

Whose Knees Are These By Jabari Asimvia amazon.com

1. Whose Knees Are These? by Jabari Asim

Age: Baby to 3 years

Written in 2006, this classic multicultural board book by poet, playwright, and author Jabari Asim and New York Times best-selling illustrator LeUyen Pham shares sweet stories, affirming rhymes—including “So brown and so strong, to whom do these fine knees belong?”—and diverse characters. No wonder it has hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon. Looking for other ways to talk to your kids about race? Here are podcasts about race you need to hear.

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No My First Book Of Protest By Julie Merbergvia amazon.com

2. No!: My First Book of Protest by Julie Merberg

Age: Baby to 3 years

Published in 2020, No!: My First Book of Protest teaches kids about important historical figures, including famed author and abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafza, via vivid illustrations and easy-to-understand stories about important protest movements. Learn what anti-racism means and what it means to be anti-racist.

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Antiracist Baby By Ibram X. Kendivia amazon.com

3. Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

Age: Baby to 3 years

Antiracist Baby, published in 2020 by National Book Award–winning author Ibram X. Kendi and illustrator Ashley Lukashevsky, introduces anti-racism themes with colorful illustrations and nine actionable steps. This diversity book for toddlers makes a wonderful gift. Asking introspective questions based on the illustrations and cuddling your child in your arms when reading are just a few early reading habits that help young kids learn to love books.

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The Life Of La Vida De Selena By Patty Rodriguez And Ariana Steinvia amazon.com

4. The Life Of/La Vida de Selena by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein

Age: Baby to 4 years

Your baby will be bidi bidi bom boming in no time with this adorable board book about the life of legendary Mexican American singer Selena Quintanilla, one of the Hispanic women who changed the world. Released in 2018, the bright board book is also bilingual, so your kids can discover Selena’s life and learn some Español as well. Bonus points if you play Selena’s music while you read more children’s books about diversity.

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Think Big, Little One By Vashti Harrisonvia amazon.com

5. Think Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison

Age: Baby to 3 years

Published in 2018 by New York Times best-selling author Vashti Harrison, this gorgeous board book covers the lives of trailblazing women around the globe, from world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid to environmental activist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. This is sure to be one of your and your baby’s fave multicultural children’s books. It’s also a great starter mother-daughter book to read together.

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My Heart Fills With Happiness By Monique Gray Smithvia amazon.com

6. My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

Age: Baby to 2 years

This lovely and calming book follows a Native American family that’s enjoying the simple pleasures of life, from baking together to appreciating the earth’s natural beauty. This quiet celebration of family and culture was published in 2016 and feels more needed than ever today.

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Love Makes A Family By Sophie Beervia amazon.com

7. Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

Age: Baby to 3

In this joyful book, published in 2018 (three years after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage), we see families presented in a variety of shapes and sizes—two moms, single parents, two dads, Muslim parents, and more—enjoying and supporting their children and each other. This LGBTQ-supportive book proves that, yes, it is love that makes a family.

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The Snowy Day By Ezra Jack Keatsvia amazon.com

8. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Age: 3 to 6 years

Published in 1962, The Snowy Day not only features beautiful illustrations but also portrays multicultural urban life while capturing the innocence of a child looking at the first snowfall of winter. This classic children’s book won the prestigious Caldecott Medal and is also considered one of the best children’s books of all time.

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Bodies Are Cool By Tyler Federvia amazon.com

9. Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder

Age: 3 to 5 years

The inclusive book (published in 2021) is a great way to begin the important conversation with your kiddos around anti-fat bias and loving your body. It’s an inspiring read that highlights bodies of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones.

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Julian Is A Mermaid By Jessica Lovevia amazon.com

10. Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Age: 4 to 8 years

This gorgeous 2018 book tells the story of a young Julián, who falls in love with the idea of becoming a sparkly mermaid, and his abuela, who supports her grandson all the way. Written sparingly—and featuring Jessica Love’s breathtaking illustrations—the book creates a magical world where kids are welcome to explore their imagination beyond the confines of gender roles. Learn more ways to be an LGBTQIA ally.

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A Is For Activist By Innosanto Nagaravia amazon.com

11. A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

Age: 4 to 6 years

Children’s author, illustrator, and activist designer Innosanto Nagara wrote this best-selling ABC board book to help teach kids about civil rights, LGBTQIA rights, and more. With glowing reviews and a progressive message, A is for Activist is definitely one the best children’s books about diversity parents should read to their children.

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The Name Jar By Yangsook Choivia amazon.com

12. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Age: 3 to 7 years

Written in 2003, this enlightening book tells the story of young Unhei, who moves from Korea to America. Being the new kid is always hard, but it gets even more awkward when no one can pronounce your name. In this sweet tale about family, friendship, and finding your voice, we follow young Unhei as she learns to love, honor, and appreciate who she is—and where she came from.

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Last Stop On Market Street By Matt De La Penavia amazon.com

13. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Age: 3 to 5 years

Told from the perspective of a little boy running errands on the bus with his grandma on a Sunday afternoon, the exquisitely illustrated diverse picture book deftly weaves messages of poverty, class, race, and ability in a delightful tapestry that is as enjoyable for parents as it is children. Released in 2015, Last Stop on Market Street is a Newbery Medal winner.

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Skin Again By Bell Hooksvia amazon.com

14. Skin Again by Bell Hooks

Age: 4 to 8 years

Written by prominent Black author Bell Hooks and illustrated by Chris Raschka, Skin Again, published in 2004, is a deceptively simple book that invites readers to go beyond race and appearance and take the time to get to know someone for who they really are. This is exactly why you should stop saying, “I don’t see color.”

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Hair Love By Matthew A. Cherryvia amazon.com

15. Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

Age: 4 to 8 years

This sweet story centers on Stephen, a Black father who has to step in and learn how to do the hair of his daughter, Zuri, right before a big event. Written by filmmaker and Academy Award–winning creator Matthew A. Cherry and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, the book is a love letter to natural hair and features important representation on the page. The duo also created an animated short film of the same name, which won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It’s a must-watch, just like these classic family movies.

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Marisol Mcdonald Doesnt Match Marisol Mcdonald No Combina By Monica Brownvia amazon.com

16. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald No Combina by Monica Brown

Age: 4 to 8 Years

Marisol McDonald is a red-headed, brown-eyed Peruvian-Scottish American who can’t be put into a box. She likes mixing and matching things like clothes and food—PB&J burrito anyone? One of the best children’s books about diversity that speaks to the biracial experience, this bilingual book, which came out in 2011, is a fun and joyous read that helps kids celebrate all their differences.

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I Dissent Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark By Debbie Levyvia amazon.com

17. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

Age: 4 to 8 Years

This brilliant book tells the story of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from her childhood in the Lower East Side of Manhattan to her career as the first Jewish female Supreme Court justice. It skillfully touches on tough themes, including losing a parent and discrimination, in a way that is and thoughtful and tender.

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Sofia Valdez, Furture Prez By Andrea Beatyvia amazon.com

18. Sofia Valdez, Furture Prez by Andrea Beaty

Age: 5 to 7 Years

Part of the popular Questioneers series of children’s books, which includes beloved characters like Ada Twist (who inspired a popular line of toys) and Iggy Peck, this 2019 New York Times best seller centers around Sofia Valdez, a dreamer and doer who lives with her beloved abuelo. When abuelo accidentally hurts himself slipping on a pile of trash, little Sofia bravely decides to petition her town to build a park in place of a landfill. It is a delightful book that will empower your kiddos.

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Sulwe By Lupita Nyong'ovia amazon.com

19. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

Age: 4 to 8 years

Sulwe is a 2019 children’s picture book by Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and illustrated by Vashti Harrison. A New York Times best seller and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award recipient, Sulwe tells the story of a young girl who “is the color of midnight” and who looks nothing like her parents and sister, who are the colors of “dawn,” “dusk,” and “high noon.” It’s a beautiful and important story about colorism, and learning to love your individual beauty.

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I Talk Like A River By Jordan Scottvia amazon.com

20. I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott

Age: 4 to 8 years

“I wake up each morning with the sounds of words all around me. And I can’t say them all…” Released in 2020, this New York Times Best Children’s Book of the Year tells the story of a little boy who stutters and as a result feels embarrassed and isolated because he can’t communicate the way he wants to. A story about parental love, natural beauty, and finding our way, this diverse children’s book brings much-needed visibility and understanding to speech disorders.

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Sonia Sotomayor A Judge Grows In The Bronx By Jonah Wintervia amazon.com

21. Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter

Age: 4 to 8 years

Like I Dissent, this book highlights the life of a Supreme Court justice. This time, the focus is on the first Latinx one, Puerto Rican Sonia Sotomayor. Starting in a housing complex in the Bronx, the book explores the trials and triumphs of a young Sotomayor, including losing her father and being diagnosed with diabetes at a young age. The 2009 classic masterfully puts us in Sotomayor’s shoes as she makes her way in the world, and it shows how one’s cultural background can be a driving force.

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Eyes That Kiss In Corners By Joanna Hovia amazon.com

22. Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

Age: 4 to 8 years

Author Joanna Ho called Eyes That Kiss in the Corners “the book I wished I had growing up.” The instant best seller, which Ho wrote when she was pregnant with her own daughter, tells the story of a little girl who notices that her eyes are shaped differently than her classmates. She has “eyes that kiss in the corners,” just like her mama, grandma, and little sister. Published in 2021, it’s a beautifully illustrated book about self-love and the power of family.

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The Proudest Blue By Ibtihaj Muhammadvia amazon.com

23. The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali

Age: 4 to 8 years

In 2016, Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first American Muslim to compete in the Olympics in hijab. This trailblazing fencer wrote this number one New York Times best-selling book about two sisters who start the first day of school excited, one wearing light-up shoes and the other proudly wearing a hijab for the first time. As the day progresses, kids start to whisper about the hijab. The lessons of love, support, and standing up for yourself—and others—come through in a profound way.

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Dreamers By Yuyi Moralesvia amazon.com

24. Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Age: 4 to 8 years

Award-winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales shares her personal tale of immigrating to America from Mexico. Released in 2018, it’s a sweet and heartfelt portrayal of dreams and fears—and the creativity and awakenings that happen from books.

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A Friend For Henry By Jenn Baileyvia amazon.com

25. A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey

Age: 5 to 8 years

Told from the perspective of a child on the autism spectrum, this 2019 book follows Henry throughout his school day as he hopes to find a friend. The book gives the reader an inside look at what autism feels like and makes for a compassionate and informative read.

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Yasmin In Charge By Saadia Faruqivia amazon.com

26. Yasmin in Charge by Saadia Faruqi

Age: 5 to 8 years

Part of an ongoing series, this 2019 tale follows Yasmin and her Pakastani family as she gets herself in—and out of—many adventures. Yasmin is an engaging character, and the book weaves in Urdu (the official language of Pakistan) and Muslim traditions.

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The Day You Begin By Jacqueline Woodsonvia amazon.com

27. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Age: 5 to 8 years

Written by National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López, two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner, 2018’s The Day You Begin reflects on the power of sharing stories and finding companionship when you feel different and alone. The book has been published in both English and Spanish.

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We Are Still Here By Traci Sorrellvia amazon.com

28. We Are Still Here by Traci Sorell

Age: 7 to 10 years

Far too often, children learn about Native Americans in not-entirely-accurate historical contexts, like through the story of Thanksgiving. In We Are Still Here, released in 2021, 12 Native American children take us chapter by chapter through their history and present-day challenges, like relocation, assimilation, language protection, and tribal activism, helping us better understand the lives of our indigenous brothers and sisters and their present-day struggles.

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Call Me Max By Kyle Lukoffvia amazon.com

29. Call Me Max by Kyle Lukoff

Age: 7 to 9 years

Published in 2021, Call Me Max follows the main character, Max, as he explains the word “transgender” and that even though his parents called him a girl at birth, he always saw the boy inside. We follow Max to school—which he describes as “hard”—where he navigates which bathroom to use and tries to explain what it means to be—and feel—transgender to his friends. Written smartly by Kyle Lukoff, a trans author, the book also tackles rigid gender roles in a way that can be appreciated by all.

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Merci Suarez Changes Gears By Meg Medinavia amazon.com

30. Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Age: 8 to 12 years

In this rich multigenerational coming-of-age story published in 2018, we meet 11-year-old Merci, whose parents are from Cuba and who attends a fancy private school on scholarship. Vivid details, like the smell of garlic and onions in her house and the sound of abuela‘s telenovelas drifting in from the living room, create a realistic view of what it’s like for a young Latina who wants to fit in but also stay true to her roots and family.

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Ghost Squad By Claribel Ortegavia amazon.com

31. Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

Age: 8 to 12 years

Described as Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters, this fantasy debut book recently released by Dominican American writer Claribel Ortega has already been optioned for film. When the protagonist, Lucely, accidentally awakens evil spirits, she needs the help of her friend’s witchy abuela to save their town. A spooky and exhilarating read inspired by Ortega’s Dominican background, it’s one of the children’s books about diversity that should be on your shelf.

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New Kid By Jerry Craftvia amazon.com

32. New Kid by Jerry Craft

Age: 8-12 years

New Kid, a 2019 graphic novel, is about seventh grader Jordan Banks, who lives in Washington Heights and whose parents enroll him in a prestigious school in the tony enclave of Riverdale, where he is one of the few kids of color. The book begins with Jordan’s very first day of school and shows how he and his friends navigate the school while remaining true to themselves. Written and illustrated by Jerry Craft, the diverse book has won numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.

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Front Desk By Kelly Yangvia amazon.com

33. Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Age: 8 to 12 years

In Front Desk, named a “Best Book of the Year” by the Washington Post in 2018, we meet 10-year-old Mia, who manages the front desk of a motel where she and her immigrant parents work and live. It honestly and entertainingly shares the experiences, hardships, and dreams of the new Chinese immigrants.

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When Stars Are Scattered By Victoria Jamieson And Omar Mohamedvia amazon.com

34. When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Age: 9 to 12 years

A true story of Somali brothers who live in a refugee camp in Kenya, the 2020 graphic novel puts a face to the migration and displacement we too often see and ignore—or don’t understand. A tale of sibling love and the power of resilience, it’s a story your child won’t soon forget.

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This Book Is Anti Racist 20 Lessons On How To Wake Up, Take Action, And Do The Work By Tiffany Jewellvia amazon.com

35. This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell

Age: 11 to 12 years

Written by activist and anti-racist educator Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurélia Durand, This Book Is Anti-Racist uses gender-neutral words and vibrant illustrations to bring characters to life and help readers have a better understanding of race, social identity, and racism, among other topics. The book, published in 2020, features 20 chapters and activities.

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Roll With It By Jamie Sumnervia amazon.com

36. Roll with It by Jamie Sumner

Age: 10 and over

“Weird is my normal, I like that just fine.” So says the irrepressible Ellie, the baking-obsessed, wheelchair-using heroine of 2019’s Roll with It. She has cerebral palsy and has just moved to a new town. The author’s son also has cerebral palsy, and the realistic voice and details help readers better understand Ellie and others with disabilities.

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Source:

Robyn Moreno
Robyn Moreno is former Editor-In-Chief and Co-President of Latina Media Ventures, an Emmy-nominated TV host, a keynote speaker, and author of two lifestyle books, Borderline Personalities (Harper Collins;) Practically Posh (Harper Collins). She has interviewed powerhouse women from Rihanna to Latina activist Dolores Huerta, Jennifer Lopez to Hillary Clinton, and is working on a new book and podcast, Finding My Magic. A certified yoga teacher and life coach, she lives in Cold Spring, New York, with her spirited daughters and her hubby, Sven.