The best picture books about diversity & inclusion

Tanya Valentine Author Of Little Taco Truck
By Tanya Valentine

Who am I?

As the white parent of both a white child and a child of color, the discrepancies of representation and inclusivity in children’s literature is an important conversation in our home. Seeing themselves in books allows all children to dream big, feel seen, and know there is a place in this world for them. I hope both of my books, All Bears Need Love and Little Taco Truck do exactly that. I know the list of brilliant books I’ve suggested here are wonderful examples of inclusivity and diversity that young readers need.


I wrote...

Little Taco Truck

By Tanya Valentine, Jorge Martin (illustrator),

Book cover of Little Taco Truck

What is my book about?

Little Taco Truck serves up tasty treats to the hungry workers on Union Street. But when Miss Falafel arrives and parks in his space, Little Taco Truck's headlights dim. What if people like falafel more than tacos?When Jumbo Gumbo, Annie’s Arepas, and Hello Gelato arrive, there's no space left for Little Taco Truck. He swishes his wipers to hide his tears and heads home. At last, with some ingenuity and help from new friends, Little Taco Truck wins back his coveted parking spot. And guess what? There is room enough for everyone!

Packed with flavor and savory smells, this irresistible read-aloud about inclusion, determination, and friendship is perfect for even the youngest truck and taco fans.

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The books I picked & why

The Skin You Live in

By Michael Tyler, David Lee Csicsko (illustrator),

Book cover of The Skin You Live in

Why did I love this book?

Any book that represents red-headed & freckled boys as well as kids with “warm cocoa dream skin” was a hit with my kids when they were young as they saw themselves and would shout “That’s me!”. The easy rhyme and adorable art help this story share the important message of acceptance, diversity, and inclusion to young readers. Children will recognize their family members, friends, and themselves in the “wonderful hues” decorating every page.

By Michael Tyler, David Lee Csicsko (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Skin You Live in as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children's activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picturebook offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.


A Mother for Choco

By Keiko Kasza,

Book cover of A Mother for Choco

Why did I love this book?

As an adoptive parent, A Mother For Choco tugs at my heart. It is an adorable story of a little bird looking for a mother but unable to find anyone who looks just like him. Along the way, he meets Mrs. Bear, who cares for him as a mother would. She brings him home to meet her other children – a piglet, a hippo, and an alligator. Keiko Kasza’s story celebrates family diversity and reinforces the idea that families come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

By Keiko Kasza,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Mother for Choco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Family is about love no matter how different parents and children may be, adopted or not.

Choco wishes he had a mother, but who could she be? He sets off to find her, asking all kinds of animals, but he doesn't meet anyone who looks just like him. He doesn't even think of asking Mrs. Bear if she's his mother-but then she starts to do just the things a mommy might do. And when she brings him home, he meets her other children-a piglet, a hippo, and an alligator-and learns that families can come in all shapes and sizes and…


Last Stop on Market Street

By Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson (illustrator),

Book cover of Last Stop on Market Street

Why did I love this book?

Every week, CJ and his Nana take the bus after church to help serve food at a shelter. The joy Nana finds in the diverse population on the bus, in the community, and at the shelter encourages him to seek out the beauty in others and celebrate everyone. This incredibly sweet and simple story of a boy and his grandmother is filled with warmth and encourages us to really see the people around us and notice the rainbows we might not otherwise see.

By Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Last Stop on Market Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty and fun in their routine and in the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the love and understanding between grandparent and grandchild as the world comes…


The Day You Begin

By Jacqueline Woodson, Rafael López (illustrator),

Book cover of The Day You Begin

Why did I love this book?

This beautiful picture book gently reassures the reader that the world will ‘make some space,’ for them if they dare to share their stories – even if their story is different. There is always a commonality in our diversity and we should seek to find both – what makes us alike, and different – because both are important pieces of who we are in the world.

By Jacqueline Woodson, Rafael López (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Day You Begin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael Lopez's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when…


All Are Welcome

By Alexandra Penfold, Suzanne Kaufman (illustrator),

Book cover of All Are Welcome

Why did I love this book?

All Are Welcome Here follows school children throughout their day to reveal and celebrate many cultures, backgrounds, nationalities, races, body types, clothes, food, etc. Everyone is represented in this beautiful book, allowing children to find themselves and their families among the pages. The repetition of “All are welcome here” throughout the story reinforces the simple and important Celebration of diversity and inclusivity. 

By Alexandra Penfold, Suzanne Kaufman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Are Welcome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bright and uplifting celebration of cultural diversity and belonging, where all children are welcome in the classroom 'If your little one is a little nervous about fitting in and whether they'll belong at school, pick up All Are Welcome' Barnes & Noble No matter how you start your day, What you wear when you play, Or if you come from far away, All are welcome here. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcome. A school where children in patkas, hijabs, baseball caps and yarmulkes play side by side. A school where…


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