EmbraceRace

Where To Find "Diverse" Children's Books

By Melissa Giraud

A teacher reads to three children they are all sitting on the floor.

H​ere’s the thing about “diverse” children’s books: some of them… not so great. You know, the books about Native Americans that lump them together, idealize them, put everybody in teepees, get the history wrong, and more. Books about Asian Americans in which everyone’s an alike-looking, broken-English-speaking foreigner. And the huge disproportion of books about black and Latino families in which everyone’s poor and life’s a never-ending struggle! Many are good, quite good. But the near single-storying of black and brown people also feeds harmful stereotypes and denies the diversity of our experiences and the fullness of our humanity.

And then there’s this: many parents confirm and kids report that too many “multicultural” offerings are straight-up boring.

All to say: yep, We Need Diverse Books AND we might need help distinguishing the wheat from the chaff in what we already have. Here's an evolving list of resources that will help. 

Diverse Children’s Books Lists

Book Cover of Rancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • We Need Diverse Books: A portal to children’s books sites featuring various categories of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion and and culture.
Book cover of Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Book cover of Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan
Book cover of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Latinx in Kid Lit: This site recommends and reviews diverse books across youth age categories that feature Latinx characters of a wide range of identities and experiences. Check out these Pura Belpre prize winners.

EmbraceRace Children’s Book Reviews/Articles

A super short list that will grow — with your submissions!

Book cover of Princeless by Jeremy Whitley

A Black princess who saves herself and exposes princess culture? Kids and adults say “Yes!” 

Princeless comic book compilation series, Writer Jeremy Whitley, Illustrators Various. Recommended for ages 8 to 12
Reading Mike Jung’sUnidentified Suburban Object with My Kids, Part I.
In which we talk about confronting “weird questions” (or racial microagressions) with a little help from … an alien. And Part II. In which an alien inspires reflections on transracial adoption. Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung. Recommended for ages 8 to 12

How to think about diversity in kids books

Looking to create an anti-bias library or evaluate/review books yourself? These articles and frameworks about evaluating representation in children’s literature can help you think about bias in children’s books and other media.

Book covers of diverse children's books such as And Tango Makes Three, The Amazing Erk, and Keep Climbing Girls.
Book cover of How to Tell the Difference: A Guide to Evaluating Children's Books for Anti-Indian Bias

Melissa Giraud

Co-founder of EmbraceRace, a community of support about race and raising kids.
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