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Inclusive And Diverse Books For Toddlers And Babies

Why should we read inclusive and diverse books to our toddlers and babies? There are a million reasons and benefits to making sure your child’s library is diverse and inclusive regardless of your race, ethnicity or gender.

a stack of inclusive and diverse children's books

If you are Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC) you already know representation matters.

It is important that children grow up seeing children that look like them in the books they read.

Sadly, 2018 statistics showed that 50% of children’s books were White characters, with more children’s books with animals as characters than there are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian Pacific characters combined!

As parents and caregivers, we can help change this by creating more demand for diversity in our children's books and by supporting BIPOC or LGBTQ+ authors whenever possible.

2018 diversity in children's books graphic

Not only is it vital that characters in books reflect a wide variety of races or ethnicities, but it is also important to have books that reflect different gender, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and children with different abilities.

Ideally, we want a mixture of books showing strong, diverse role models (real or fictional) AND diverse characters in every day stories.

Seeing children that reflect the wide variety of children in real life will help develop their empathy, compassion, and acceptance. And the earlier the better!

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Diverse Books For Babies (0-1)

  • Global Babies by The Global Fund For Children – Babies love seeing the real-life faces of other babies, and this book shows real-life babies from around the world. There are also Global Baby Bedtimes, Global Baby Boys, and Global Baby Girls.
  • Every Little Thing and One Love, based on songs by Bob Marley, adapted by Cedella Marley
  • Rain Feet by Angela Johnson
  • All Kinds of People by Shelley Rotner – The board book adaptation of Shades of People.
  • My Friends by Taro Gomi
  • Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson – A great board book about colors that celebrates love and shows photographs of children and LGBTQ+ families.
  • Amazing Me!: Music! by Carol Thompson
  • May We Have Enough To Share by Richard Van Camp – Features beautiful real family photos by Indigenous women photographers. 
  • You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith
  • How Do You Say I Love You by Hannah Eliot – Learn how to say “I Love You” in ten different languages.
  • Let’s Dance by Valerie Bolling – A beautifully illustrated book about different types of dances from around the world. This book is simple enough for babies, but at the end, it has more information about the dances for older children.
  • A Feast For Ten by Cathryn Falwell
  • Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison – An empowering board book featuring 18 Black female role models.
  • Dim Sum For Everyone by Grace Lin

Diverse Books For Toddlers And Up

cooked fry bread on tray in front of Fry bread children's book

Older Toddler/Preschooler Books

The For Purpose Kids also has a great book subscription focused on inclusive books with diverse characters.

diverse children's books:

By reading diverse books to our children, we can raise them to be more empathic, anti-racist and accepting. Thus, creating a happier, safer world for all.

This is a fairly small list of books that I personally own or we’ve lent from the library. There have been a few that I’ve seen on some suggested book lists that are somewhat problematic, so I’ve intentionally left them off this list.

So, please be sure to use your own critical eye when choosing diverse and inclusive books for your child(ren).

Please share your favorite diverse and inclusive books for toddlers and babies that need to be added to this list!

My grandmother is Mohawk and it is very important to me to have my children grow up appreciating that part of them. So, I'm always on the lookout for some great children's books by Native American authors!

For more Montessori-aligned baby books find Sue's list here.

montessori quote about children and humanity

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