The best children’s books about diversity and inclusion

Matthew Ralph Author Of Family Means...
By Matthew Ralph

Who am I?

I’m a British author who specializes in writing about diversity and inclusion. I’ve always been a firm believer in equality for all, and I think diversity is such a vital subject for children to learn. It’s so important to teach children to love themselves and treat others how they would want to be treated, even if they are different than you. I believe a little bit of love goes a long way. I hope you enjoy my list of children’s books about diversity and share in my passion for children’s books that champion love and acceptance for everyone.

I wrote...

Family Means...

By Matthew Ralph,

Book cover of Family Means...

What is my book about?

Family Means… is a charming and heartwarming children’s picture book about family, diversity, inclusion, and the joy of everyday life. Every family is special, and this book celebrates all forms of living together: no one is left out. The types of families represented include nuclear/traditional families, adoption families, blended families, multiracial families, stepfamilies, single-parent families as well as LGBT families.

Each page starts with the words Family means… and shows different types of families in various everyday situations.

The books I picked & why

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But No Elephants

By Jerry Smath,

Book cover of But No Elephants

Why this book?

This book is an enduring memory from my own childhood. I remember my parents used to read this to me, and they put on funny voices for each of the characters. I love the message of this book, that even though you are different from others, we can all coexist and learn to celebrate our differences. The illustrations are also so charming and really bring the story to life. 

Julián Is a Mermaid

By Jessica Love,

Book cover of Julián Is a Mermaid

Why this book?

I adore the concept of this book and it’s so different from many other children’s books. I appreciate that the main character is proud to be different and doesn’t need to experience bullying in order to accept themselves. Julián’s grandmother accepts him straight away and the story is a beautiful example of family love. The book relies heavily on simple but beautiful illustrations, which showcase a great deal of diversity of skin colors, gender, hair colors, and body types. 

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

By Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali, Hatem Aly (illustrator)

Book cover of The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

Why this book?

I don’t think there is enough representation in children’s books for different religions and cultures. This book celebrates the hijab and its cultural significance and is an inspiring story of love and acceptance. I’ve not seen many other books like this one, so it’s important to champion books that showcase under-represented groups. The illustrations are fantastic and extenuate the story, and the color blue serves as a beautiful theme that runs throughout the book. My favorite color is blue as well, so perhaps that is also why I have a soft spot for this book.

Pink Is for Boys

By Robb Pearlman, Eda Kaban (illustrator),

Book cover of Pink Is for Boys

Why this book?

The idea that certain colors are only for certain genders has always bothered me. So, I love that this book addresses this subject without being “preachy.” It simply says that all colors are for everyone: boys and girls alike. It’s such an important message for children to learn and it allows young people to celebrate their own identity without fear of judgment. The text itself is very simple and uses clean but impressively colorful illustrations to tell the story. 

Our Diversity Makes Us Stronger: Social Emotional Book for Kids about Diversity and Kindness

By Elizabeth Cole, Julia Kamenshikova (illustrator),

Book cover of Our Diversity Makes Us Stronger: Social Emotional Book for Kids about Diversity and Kindness

Why this book?

This story is told in bouncy rhyme and teaches children an important message of self-love and acceptance of others. Most importantly, the message of the book is genuinely charming and heartwarming. The rich and engaging illustrations in this book are a joy to look at and perfectly fit with the theme of this book. I especially appreciate the variety of characters shown in the book: every gender, ethnicity, and body type is showcased beautifully. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in disability, mermaids, and elephants?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about disability, mermaids, and elephants.

Disability Explore 30 books about disability
Mermaids Explore 23 books about mermaids
Elephants Explore 34 books about elephants

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Mommy's Khimar, When I Listen to Silence, and The Green Umbrella if you like this list.