The best picture books on diversity and feelings

Colleen Rowan Kosinski Author Of A Home Again
By Colleen Rowan Kosinski

The Books I Picked & Why

The Big Umbrella

By Amy June Bates, Juniper Bates

The Big Umbrella

Why this book?

This book deals with inclusivity in a heartfelt way. I love how this book uses simple language to get across a big message. The story shows how there is always room for everyone under the big umbrella. In other words, you can think of your heart as a big umbrella that can find room for everyone—no matter how different they might be from you. The story is highlighted with loose, watercolor illustrations that complement the feel of the book. It’s hard to give character to an inanimate object, but the artist is very successful in this book, using a simple expression on the umbrella when it is opened.


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Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship

By Jessica Walton, Dougal MacPherson

Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship

Why this book?

Errol and Thomas (his teddy bear), are best friends. But Errol starts noticing that Thomas doesn’t seem to enjoy all the things they do together and seems to be sad. Eventually, Thomas admits to Errol that they had always felt like a girl bear and would like to be called Tilly. Errol doesn’t care about the bear’s gender—just that they are best friends. It’s a lovely story about unconditional love and acceptance.


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The Scarecrow

By Beth Ferry, Eric Fan, Terry Fan

The Scarecrow

Why this book?

The Scarecrow is an emotional story about the unlikely friendship between a scarecrow and a baby crow. The story explores loneliness and the value of friendship. The writing in this story is gorgeous and the illustrations are simply beautiful. This, like all of my other picks, is evergreen and a treat for children and adults alike.


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And Tango Makes Three

By Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry Cole

And Tango Makes Three

Why this book?

And Tango Makes Three is an excellent example of acceptance. It’s the tale of two male penguins who fall in love and build themselves a home. But they yearn for a chick of their own. An astute zookeeper notices and puts an orphaned egg in their nest. The two raise their baby and are a happy family. Like in my book, A Home Again, the fact that this family consists of two dads and a baby is not an issue. It’s all about love.


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My Heart

By Corinna Luyken

My Heart

Why this book?

This book describes feelings in such a beautiful and lyrical way. It covers everything from happiness to sadness and is an excellent conversation starter. Using only a few colors, the accompanying illustrations are simple and impactful.
Sometimes, emotions such as depression can be a hard concept to talk about with children. The soft illustrations and metaphors in this book will resonate with young readers.


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