Inclusive Reading Recommendations — Children

Wanting to add a little more inclusivity into your reading habits? Here are a few books to get started. This list is focused on children’s books, but check back for more lists in the future!

  1. Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
    • Red’s factory-applied label clearly says that he is red, but despite the best efforts of his teacher, fellow crayons and art supplies, and family members, he cannot seem to do anything right until a new friend offers a fresh perspective.
  2. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
    • Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.
  3. Islandborn by Junot Diaz
    • Lola was just a baby when her family left the Island, so when she has to draw it for a school assignment, she asks her family, friends, and neighbors about their memories of her homeland … and in the process, comes up with a new way of understanding her own heritage
  4. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel
    • From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way.
  5. My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
    • Callie is very proud of her brother Charlie. He’s good at so many things — swimming, playing the piano, running fast. And Charlie has a special way with animals, especially their dog, Harriet. But sometimes Charlie gets very quiet. His words get locked inside him, and he seems far away. Then, when Callie and Charlie start to play, Charlie is back to laughing, holding hands, having fun. Charlie is like any other boy — and he has autism.
  6. Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman
    • A baby enjoys a number of fun activities with her two mothers.
  7.  And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    • At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
  8. Big Bob, Little Bob by James Howe
    • Big Bob likes trucks and throwing balls and being loud. Little Bob likes dolls and jingling bracelets and being quiet. No matter what they do, they do not do it the same way. Can they possibly be friends despite these differences?
  9. Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship by Jessica Walton
    • Errol’s best friend and teddy, Thomas, is sad because he wishes he were a girl, not a boy teddy, but what only matters to both of them is that they are friends.
  10. That’s What Friends Do by Kathryn Cave
    • Two fantastical creatures celebrate their friendship.
  11. I’m a Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail
    • A rough and tumble little girl loves being herself, although she is often mistaken for a boy.
  12. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
    • A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.
  13. The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
    • Jerome enjoys collecting and using words that he hears, reads, or sees, and then decides to share his collection with others.
  14. Alfie by Thyra Heder
    • Told from the perspective of both the girl, Nia, and her pet turtle, Alfie, and describes what happens when he disappears on the eve of her seventh birthday to find her a special present.
  15. Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
    • Having to take her younger sister along the first time she is invited to a birthday party spoils Rubina’s fun, and later when that sister is asked to a party and baby sister wants to come, Rubina must decide whether to help.
  16. Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Thong
    • Children discover a world of colors all around them. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, but all are universal in appeal.
  17. The Water Princess by Susan Verde
    • With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. She dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own.
  18. Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
    • When all her older siblings are away, Cora’s mother finally lets her help make pancit, a Filipino noodle dish. Includes a recipe for pancit.
  19. Lovely by Jess Hong
    • Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!
  20. F is for Fiesta by Susan Middleton Elya
    • A rhyming book that outlines the preparations for and celebration of a young boy’s birthday, with Spanish words for each letter of the alphabet translated in a glossary.

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