A couple weeks ago, I shared several of the books in Lucy’s library that celebrate diversity, featuring characters of color of all backgrounds. Now that Lucy is 3, we’ve shifted focus away from short + sweet animal-centric books, and our nighttime reading has sparked more genuine conversation and curiosity!
All Colors, Genders + Orientations
We choose to live in Chicago, because a top priority of ours is to ensure that Lucy is surrounded with friends of all colors, gender identities and orientations. We have loved seeing her interest piqued by characters that look like our neighbors and friends with skin and hair different than her own. She engages with these books by identifying her own friends within the pages, as well as noting when someone shares her same light hair, almond eyes and, of course, love of animals!
As requested, these are the books that make up Lucy’s library! We own, love and enjoy books 1-16, and 17-23 are high on our wishlist. We hope you find a few books new to you, and we are always, always looking for suggestions, especially as she’ll eventually move on from these and need ‘big kid’ books. Please share in the comments, if you’d like!
1. Carmela Full of Wishes | 2. Last Stop On Market Street | 3. This Is How We Do It | 4. You Matter | 5. I Just Want to Say Goodnight | 6. Eyes that Kiss in the Corners | 7. The King of Kindergarten | 8. The Snowy Day | 9. The Proudest Blue | 10. The World In a Second | 11. We’re Different, We’re the Same | 12. Love | 13. Little Legends Alphabet | 14. Little Leaders Bold Women In Black History | 15. Julián is a Mermaid | 16. I Am Enough | 17. Just Ask | 18. Jerome by Heart | 19. Ambitious Girl | 20. My Magical Choices | 21. Jabari Jumps | 22. Champ and Major: First Dogs | 23. Love Makes a Family
We’ve created a Bookshop.org storefront which will allow you to shop online for your favorite books while also financially supporting local, independent bookstores! Find our storefront here. Are there any other categories you’d like us to add?
I’ve used a bunch of these for our story time at the UU church I’m a part of. I would love to add it Feels Good to Be Yourself: a Book about Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn. It talks about it all in such a clear way that children and adults alike can better understand terms like cis, trans, and non binary. It also explains in such a lovely way that when we’re born grown ups have to guess someone’s gender but if they were wrong that’s okay.
Anyway highly recommend it.
Love that concept. Thank you for sharing, Jenn!
I would suggest Rosy Revere Engineer, Ida Twist Scientist and Iggy Peck Architect. About diverse girls in traditional male careers. As a female engineer boy mom, Rosy Revere is my favorite!
We have Ida Twist for when Lucy is a little older! Can’t wait.
And the newest one, Merci Suarez, Future Prez! Our boys love these books still.
Oops! It’s actually, Sophia Valdez, Future Prez! Merci Suarez Changes Gears is a YA chapter book our 11 year old recently read and loved.
Yes, highly recommend all the Andrea Beaty books! Others that we really enjoy in our house: Sulwe (my personal favorite, it’s beautiful), Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, Superheroes are Everywhere, Let the Children March (my five year old really likes this, the 3 year old doesn’t sit through it), I Like Myself, Dream Big Little One, Of Thee I Sing (a good one to read one or two stories out of at a time), Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon (a book about celebrating differences.) Obviously books are a very popular in this household! Hope you find a few new ones to enjoy. It only gets more fun from this age on as they really get in to certain “big kid” books.
Ooh, how fun! A lot to look forward to. :)
Thank you for sharing this list! I’m always looking for new books to share with my three year old twins. :)
Here are a few more we’ve also loved:
Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman
Neither by Airline Anderson
When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff
Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Hair Love has been on our list, too! Thank you for the reminder.
Harriet Gets Carried Away! The heroine is a little girl of color from a biracial family with two dads — but that’s all secondary to the storyline of an adventure with penguins while planning her birthday. It’s a really great example of inclusion that doesn’t “other” by calling attention to difference, but rather simply redefines what “normal” can look like.
Okay, that sounds incredible and right up our alley.
Yes to diverse families/kids in books that are not about the diversity! Our two-mom family loves Harriet too. Also wanted to echo Jabari Jumps, one of my faves, and a new sequel called Jabari Tries!
So great! Just got several of these from the storefront you created. Thanks!
You’re welcome, thank YOU, Jessica!
Thanks for this great round-up! Updating my kiddo’s wishlist :) I recommend Kobi Yamada’s “What do you do with…” series. The illustrations are beautiful and the lessons about resilience and creativity are perfect for both kids and adults. :)
Wow, those look beautiful, thank you!
Whenever we’re in a book-finding rut, I head to AMightyGirl.com and just click through their seemingly-endless book lists on every subject imaginable, and they haven’t failed me yet! I’ve passed on the recommendation to so many people at this point, but in case you hadn’t heard about it yet, highly recommend!
Incredible, thank you! Here’s a clickable link for anyone interested.
We love the book Mixed A Colorful Story for our littles. Thanks for this list!
Love this! Diversity was not a part of my childhood at all so I’ve been making an effort to do more for my girls – and books are my starting place for everything. :) I love Christian Robinson. Recently we read “You Matter” and my 6 year old said at the end “Mom, almost everyone in this book has darker skin than me.” What a great discussion starter!
That is incredible. Christian Robinson can do no wrong, he’s a favorite over here, too, as you can see from the list! :D
Don’t forget books about disabled peers! Lucas the Lion Loves the Tiny Talker. My son uses an iPad for communication, and this is a great one for normalizing it.
THANK YOU for this recommendation.
On this topic, we also really like the book Charlie and Emma!
We have so many of these same books! Our daughter (2.5) ESPECIALLY loves Snowy Day and The Proudest Blue. Yay diversity & inclusion at a young age! Thank you for these other suggestions, I’ll be adding them to our personal library.
We have a daughter just a few months younger than Lucy, so I always love your posts that are geared toward little ones! I’m so grateful for this post, and we have many of the suggested books in our home too! We’ve subscribed to OurShelves, which is a quarterly book box curated with diverse collections– I’ve found so many favorites through their program! Living in a city, I definitely recommend “Thank you, Omu” (a story about a grandmother who shares a delicious pot of stew, bowl by bowl, with members of her comunity) and “Saturday” (a mother-daughter day out) by the same author Oge MoraAnother favorite is “The Little Red Stroller” a sweet story about a stroller that gets passed on from family friends to family friends as their kids grow older– I tear up every time I read it!
Lastly, I’ve almost sent an email to y’all with this recommendation about a dozen times, but this post gave me the perfect spark to share– if you haven’t read it already, I definitely recommend the book “Ask Me”. It reminds me of Lucy and Scott so much! Something about the rhythm of asking questions/giving answers back-and-forth is so soothing. The story features a father/daughter duo, who live in a city and spend the day exploring, sharing memories, and asking each other questions. It totally captures this fun age!
I’m such a fan of your blog, and am so grateful for all of the life/style/inspiration you share with us! Sending you big virtual high-fives :)
Aw, thank you so much, Allison! I’ll look into those books! xoxo
Our all time favorite is Mem Fox’s “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes”. It includes children of different abilities from all over the world, highlighting that their similarities, including the love in their families in poetic form. My 10 year old still quotes it.
Aaaah my BFF just had a baby (literally she had a baby today!!!) and I can’t wait to buy some of these for her daughter, to enjoy as she gets older.
The illustrations alone are great for baby to enjoy. Congrats to your friend, how exciting!
An acquaintance of mine wrote a book on activism for children, it’s called ‘Ellie Marches On’ by Audra Notgrass.
I highly recommend Your Name is a Song. It’s a beautiful story about a girl who goes to school and none of her classmates can pronounce her name. Her mother cheers her up by telling her that all names are songs and that she will need to teach her friends and teacher how to sing her name. The pictures and message are just fantastic.
I don’t even have children (yet) but I bought Eyes that Kiss in the Corners because I have never felt so seen and so touched by a book before. I am keeping an eye out for all of these books now, for my eventual kids or for kids that visit. These are all so so beautiful!
I love that, Stephanie! It’s a gorgeous book all-around.