Update: We have adjusted this list to share only the voices of Black authors at this time.
If we are raising our children to be world-changers, that means we have to tackle some tough topics along the way. Topics like race, tolerance, and diversity are important to talk about at an early age. But where do we begin?
Age-appropriate books are a great way to begin to tackle these tough topics and encourage your child to see and celebrate the beauty in our differences. Our Preschool staff has put together this list of books to help you start appropriate conversations.
Six books that can help you talk to your child about diversity
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
A beautiful tribute to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.
Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin
A picture book for magical yet imperfect girls everywhere.
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
This book tells the story of two sisters' first day of school. It's also one sister's first day of hijab—the traditional hair and neck covering that is worn by Muslim women.
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen
This is a story about an elementary-aged girl who is a dancer and how she works hard to perform on stage. It shows her family life, too.
Hair Love by Matthew Cherry
This book is a story about a dad doing his daughter’s hair. It is a tribute to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters.
Orange by Derrick S. Slack
This book is about diversity, inclusion, the power of words, and self-esteem.
How should you use these books?
It is important for parents to be intentional about how they talk to their young children about the issue of race and diversity. We would not recommend discussing specific details about current events. That may frighten your child. These books are a way to springboard positive conversations around how to treat and care for others.
We have an opportunity to show by action, conversations, and to be a role model in how to treat others. Children form their opinions by watching their parents. It is also critical that our young children have opportunities to see a variety of skin colors depicted in their storybooks, especially if this diversity is not present in their own lives. The goal is that diversity remains normal and nurtures children’s innate sense of equity and equality.
We believe in the power of children to change the world around us. We cannot raise world-changers if we shy away from tough topics. We hope these books may empower children and their grown-ups to address these challenging topics with sensitivity and compassion, empowering children to make a difference in our communities—no matter how young.
Looking for more?
Check out our Year of Action reading list.