100 books like Janine

By Maryann Cocca-Leffler,

Here are 100 books that Janine fans have personally recommended if you like Janine. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Big Umbrella

Norene Paulson Author Of What's Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

From my list on children’s picture books on inclusion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school language arts teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles some students face trying to be accepted and the heartbreak they experience when they are not. Every child deserves to be seen and appreciated for who they are and not be excluded or ostracized due to factors over which they have little control. I write and promote picture books about friendship, acceptance, and inclusion because everyone deserves to be included…always. 

Norene's book list on children’s picture books on inclusion

Norene Paulson Why did Norene love this book?

Two things first drew me to this story. First, in our hall closet there is also a big umbrella—a big white, blue-striped umbrella which when opened is roomy enough for all our family members. Second, I love the metaphors in the book…the umbrella = shelter, rainy weather = troubles/hard times, and the variety of characters under the umbrella = family, friends, strangers, and the best part is no one is left out from beneath the umbrella as it simply gets bigger to accommodate everyone’s needs. What a compassionate, empathetic message of inclusion.

By Amy June Bates, Juniper Bates,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Big Umbrella as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

“A subtle, deceptively simple book about inclusion, hospitality, and welcoming the ‘other.’” —Kirkus Reviews

“A boundlessly inclusive spirit...This open-ended picture book creates a natural springboard for discussion.” —Booklist

“This sweet extended metaphor uses an umbrella to demonstrate how kindness and inclusion work...A lovely addition to any library collection, for classroom use or for sharing at home.” —School Library Journal

In the tradition of Alison McGhee’s Someday, beloved illustrator Amy June Bates makes her authorial debut alongside her eleven-year-old daughter with this timely and timeless picture book about acceptance.

By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is…


Book cover of Strictly No Elephants

Benson Shum Author Of First Night of Howlergarten

From my list on inclusion and being true to yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I was always the outcast. I wasn't the smartest in class. I wasn't the strongest in sports. I was always the shy kid in the back, trying not to make a noise. But when I made a connection with someone or they made the effort to say hi. I treasured our friendship. I love writing and sharing stories where we are talking about inclusion and building empathy toward each other. I hope you will enjoy these books on the list.

Benson's book list on inclusion and being true to yourself

Benson Shum Why did Benson love this book?

I love the friendship between the boy and his elephant. They watch out for each other cause that's what friends do.

After they weren't allowed into the pet club, he meets a girl and her skunk and they create their own club. We learn that we don't want to be a part of something that is exclusionary. And for us to create a space where everyone is welcome.

By Lisa Mantchev, Taeeun Yoo (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Strictly No Elephants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A sunny, smart, tongue-in-cheek tale." The New York Times Book Review
"Sweet and affirming." Kirkus Reviews
"With a gentle message of inclusion and helping others, this title reaches beyond a mere friendship story."School Library Journal
"Heartening."Booklist

In this bestselling and internationally beloved picture book, the local Pet Club won't admit a boy's tiny pet elephant, so he finds a solution-one that involves all kinds of unusual animals.

Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephantsare allowed. The Pet Club doesn't understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like…


Book cover of Up and Adam

Norene Paulson Author Of What's Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

From my list on children’s picture books on inclusion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school language arts teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles some students face trying to be accepted and the heartbreak they experience when they are not. Every child deserves to be seen and appreciated for who they are and not be excluded or ostracized due to factors over which they have little control. I write and promote picture books about friendship, acceptance, and inclusion because everyone deserves to be included…always. 

Norene's book list on children’s picture books on inclusion

Norene Paulson Why did Norene love this book?

This is a wonderful story whose main character has Down’s Syndrome, but it’s not a book about a child with Down’s Syndrome. The focus instead is on Adam’s kindness, his helpfulness, his positive attitude, and his community’s willingness to value him as a respected member. I absolutely love the sense of community inclusion found in this story.

By Debbie Zapata, Yong Ling Kang (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Up and Adam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A boy with Down syndrome lifts spirits all over town!

It’s the day after the big storm. Adam and his dog, Up, are finishing breakfast when the mayor appears on TV asking everyone to help with the cleanup. She says, “Now, it’s time to get to work. Up and at ’em!” When Adam hears the mayor tell him and Up to get to work, he’s on it! “We can help!” Adam says. And as everyone in the town is about to discover — they really can!

With kindness in his heart and a smile on his face, Adam shows readers…


Book cover of You Are Enough: A Book about Inclusion

Norene Paulson Author Of What's Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

From my list on children’s picture books on inclusion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school language arts teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles some students face trying to be accepted and the heartbreak they experience when they are not. Every child deserves to be seen and appreciated for who they are and not be excluded or ostracized due to factors over which they have little control. I write and promote picture books about friendship, acceptance, and inclusion because everyone deserves to be included…always. 

Norene's book list on children’s picture books on inclusion

Norene Paulson Why did Norene love this book?

You Are Enough is a powerful book celebrating diversity and inclusion. I literally had goosebumps the first time I read it. Every line is poster-worthy and each page is amazingly illustrated with kids from diverse backgrounds and abilities. Working together, the text paired with the illustrations reinforce the messages that “our differences are what make us special,” “we all belong,” and “you are just right exactly as you are.” 

By Margaret O'Hair, Sofia Sanchez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Are Enough as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A positive, beautiful and inclusive picture book all
about celebrating being yourself from Down syndrome advocate Sofia
Sanchez!
Wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same? Being just
who we are is great!

This inclusive and empowering picture book from Sofia Sanchez,
a twelve-year-old model and actress with Down syndrome, reminds
readers how important it is to embrace what makes you unique,
be confident, and be proud
of who you are.

Imagine all of the wonderful things you can do if you don't let
anyone stop you! You are enough just how you are. Sofia is unique,
but…


Book cover of We're All Wonders

Leslie Kimmelman Author Of The Eight Knights of Hanukkah

From my list on more elusive than ever kindness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am no expert on kindness—though more than twenty years at Sesame Workshop, working on a TV show that focuses on kindness, may give me a slight edge. And I am not unfailingly kind, though I try my hardest. But I am passionate about nurturing this quality in children. At the risk of sounding naive, I feel that it’s our last best hope of solving some of the world’s biggest problems.  

Leslie's book list on more elusive than ever kindness

Leslie Kimmelman Why did Leslie love this book?

Adapted by the author from her bestselling Wonder, this book is more of a wish for kindness than an actual portrayal of kindness. Auggie looks different from anyone else, but inside he wants the same things: to have friends, to go on adventures, to be loved for himself. Besides, isn’t everyone different in one way or another? It’s a lovely book to read with young children, leading them to the realization that acceptance is not only the best choice, but also the choice that opens up an enormous world of possibilities. As the author concludes, Look with kindness and you will always find wonder.

By R.J. Palacio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We're All Wonders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

I know I can't change the way I look. But maybe, just maybe, people can change the way they see...

For younger readers, the unforgettable story of August Pullman and Wonder reimagined in this gorgeous picture book.

With spare, powerful text and richly-imagined illustrations, We're All Wonders shows readers what it's like to live in Auggie's world - a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he's not always seen that way.

We're All Wonders taps into every child's longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It's the perfect way for families…


Book cover of Bird Hugs

Sandra Horning Author Of The Giant Hug

From my list on children’s books about hugs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a children’s author of board books through picture books (Baby Code series, Chicks!, Bizarre Birds, and The Biggest Pumpkin) and as a librarian, I love books that make children feel good and loved. When I was working on my picture book The Giant Hug, I researched what other hug books had been published. There weren’t many back in 2002, but I continued to be on the lookout even after mine was published. I’m happy to report that there are quite a few hug books out there now, spreading love, hugs, and kindness to readers of all ages. We all need them!   

Sandra's book list on children’s books about hugs

Sandra Horning Why did Sandra love this book?

I couldn’t resist a title with two of my favorite things, hugs and birds. (In fact, I’ve written early readers about birds.) Bird Hugs, by author-illustrator Ged Adamson, tells the story of Bernard, a sweet little bird with wings too long to fly. He tries to fly many times, but isn’t successful. He feels useless and lonely until he meets an orangutan who needs a hug. It turns out Bernard’s long wings are just perfect for hugging. One hug leads to another and soon all the animals come to Bernard when they need comfort. Bird Hugs tells a lovely story with a positive message about fitting in when you’re different and, of course, how a hug can brighten your day. 

By Ged Adamson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bird Hugs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bernard isn't like other birds. His wings are impossibly long, and try as he might, he just can't seem to fly. He's left wondering what his wings are good for...if they're even good for anything at all. But a chance encounter with a dejected orangutan leads Bernard to a surprising discovery: that maybe what makes him different is actually something to be embraced.


Book cover of Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

Christine J. Ko Author Of Sound Switch Wonder

From my list on promoting curiosity about our differences.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading, partly because I believe in the power of books to feed curiosity, promoting understanding, inclusivity, and belonging. While growing up, my favorite books didn’t have anyone that looked like me. Through reading diverse books to my kids, I realized I’d missed out on this meaningful experience as a child. Even more, I wanted my son, who has bilateral cochlear implants, to be able to read a picture book with a main character with cochlear implants. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as, in unique ways, they all celebrate curiosity about our differences.

Christine's book list on promoting curiosity about our differences

Christine J. Ko Why did Christine love this book?

This book is about different abilities and being inclusive, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor herself, partially based on her own lived experience of being diagnosed with diabetes as a child.

I love the thread of respect that infuses the book – a gentle push that we can stay curious and ask about things that we don’t quite understand when others seem different from us. As a bonus for the nerd in me, there is a baked-in deliberate practice component because many pages incorporate questions that each reader can answer for themselves.

By Sonia Sotomayor, Rafael López (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges - and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to…


Book cover of Every Body Shines: Sixteen Stories About Living Fabulously Fat

Christen Randall Author Of The No-Girlfriend Rule

From my list on young adult books that put fierce, fabulous fat girls front and center.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up as a fat kid, I hardly ever saw myself reflected in the media I consumed. If I did, it was by someone relegated to the side character status as the funny fat friend or the cautionary tale. Now, it’s my great joy to spread the word about books that put fat people in the spotlight—living our best lives, falling in love, and just having our much-deserved Main Character Moments.

Christen's book list on young adult books that put fierce, fabulous fat girls front and center

Christen Randall Why did Christen love this book?

I’m an author by day, but by night, I’m a library worker, and as a library worker, I absolutely love a good anthology. They’re the perfect place to try a lot of authors on for size and find your next fave, and Every Body Shine has some gems on offer. I found two of my new favorite fat authors, Sheena Boekweg and Kelly deVos, thanks to this anthology.

I love how easy this book is to pick up and put down—nice little one-sitting packages of fat girls (and folks of all genders!) being fantastic for any genre or mood craving I have.

By Cassandra Newbould (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Every Body Shines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

An intersectional, feminist YA anthology from some of today's most exciting voices across a span of genres, all celebrating body diversity and fat acceptance through short stories. A Junior Library Guild Selection Fat girls and boys and nonbinary teens are: friends who lift each other up, heroes who rescue themselves, big bodies in space, intellects taking up space, and bodies looking and feeling beautiful. They express themselves through fashion, sports and other physical pursuits, through food, and music, and art. They are flirting and falling in love. They are loving to themselves and one another. With stories that feature fat…


Book cover of A Tale of Two Sloths

Renee Kurilla Author Of The Flower Garden

From my list on children's books that celebrate the joys of friendship, exploration, and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi there! I am a children’s author, illustrator, and designer living in MA. I spend a lot of time thinking about how important friendship is to me; both the good and bad times, and how I could have handled certain scenarios differently. Books give us the opportunity to act out scenarios without having to live them. Books can teach us mannerisms and coping skills, making us more prepared for life. They also give us an opportunity to take a break from reality and sneak off into other worlds from time to time. Every book on my list highlights the importance of friendship and the thrill of adventure, I hope you enjoy them!  

Renee's book list on children's books that celebrate the joys of friendship, exploration, and imagination

Renee Kurilla Why did Renee love this book?

This book has the perfect sense of humor to grab your attention, but then slips in notes on being a good friend, bravery, trusting others, and general appreciation for the world we live in. 

Peter and Ernesto are so relatable (I truly think there is a little bit of my own personality in each of them). Peter is content to experience life right where he is, Ernesto wants to explore. When Ernesto leaves their shared tree home to see more “pieces of the sky,” Peter panics and tries to catch up with him to make sure he doesn’t get hurt. In doing so, nervous Peter has unknowingly been as brave as Ernesto! In the end, they reunite (in the most hilarious way) and realize how much they need each other. 

I can see kids re-reading this one a lot, and also grabbing one of the other 2 books in the…

By Graham Annable,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Tale of Two Sloths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Peter and Ernesto are sloths. Peter and Ernesto are friends. But Peter and Ernesto are nothing alike. Peter loves their tree and never wants to leave, while Ernesto loves the sky and wants to see it from every place on Earth. When Ernesto leaves to have a grand adventure, Peter stays behind and frets. The two friends grow even closer in separation, as Peter the homebody expands his horizons and Ernesto the wanderer learns the value of home. With ridiculously cute art and simple, funny text, their reunion is even more adorable than you are imagining.

Laika Studios superstar artist,…


Book cover of I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times

Linda Rising Author Of More Fearless Change: Strategies for Making Your Ideas Happen

From my list on talking to people who don’t agree with us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been on this journey for decades. I have just celebrated my 81st birthday and I am still learning. What I have seen is that most problems are people problems. That’s hard for me as a technical person with a Ph.D. in computer science. I have learned a lot the hard way and books like these have helped me. The books that helped the most were Fearless Change and More Fearless Change, written with my good friend and writing partner, Mary Lynn Manns. They changed my life. I hope these books will change yours.

Linda's book list on talking to people who don’t agree with us

Linda Rising Why did Linda love this book?

Mónica Guzmán is not just another author and storyteller.

She’s also a supporter of an organization that is doing amazing things to bring our divided nation together – Braver Angels (check out BraverAngels.org).

I thought I knew a lot about facilitation and listening but the folks at Braver Angels have opened doors for me that I didn’t know were there.

Please, please, please check them out and read Monica’s book!

By Monica Guzman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Never Thought of It That Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PORCHLIGHT BOOKS JUNE 2022 NONFICTION BESTSELLER

"I can see this book helping estranged parties who are equally invested in bridging a gap-it could be assigned reading for fractured families aspiring to a harmonious Thanksgiving dinner." -New York Times

"Like all skills, these techniques take practice. But anyone who sincerely wants to bridge the gaps in understanding will appreciate this book. Guzman is emphatic about making an effort to work on difficult conversations." -Manhattan Book Review

We think we have the answers, but we need to be asking a lot more questions.

Journalist Monica Guzman is the loving liberal daughter of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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