Celebrate Diversity and Difference with Inspiring Picture Books

Celebrate diversity with inspiring (and fun!) picture books

Embrace similarities and honor differences with this evolving book list.

This collection sets the stage for big conversations about the differences and similarities between us all. Plus, they are outstanding stories your whole family will want to re-read! (For a list of books for older children, please see our Diversity - Chapter Books page.) 


  • What can be learned from considering various points of view?

  • Imagine you are one of the characters in these stories. How would you feel?

  • What are some things you can do every day to celebrate differences?

Project Ideas

  • Good Eggs: a recipe for tolerance. Teach tolerance over breakfast with this thought-provoking recipe.

  • Make your home reflect cultural diversity by the art, music, and books you display; the movies and television shows you choose to watch; and the restaurants your family frequents.

Or, try this:  On a sheet of paper, draw a Venn diagram, list the things that are unique about you on the left side, the things that are unique about a character in one of these books on the right side. Add similarities in the middle. Take time to respectfully discuss these differences and similarities as a family.

Featured Title

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Fall in love with the latest picture book from the incomparable Jacqueline Woodson. This book is a beautiful reminder to take pride in our own stories, watch for what we have in common with others, and delight in our fabulous differences.

Additional DGT Favorites

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Celebrate diversity and inclusion with this beautiful, rhyming poem and its simple, loving refrain: all are welcome here.  

Across the Alley by Richard Michelson
The story of two boys, Abe and Willie, who become friends despite racial differences by talking through their bedroom windows at night and sharing their talents.

An Apple for Harriet Tubman by Glennette Tilley Turner
An Apple for Harriet Tubman is the story of the life of Harriet Tubman, from her childhood working in the apple orchard on a plantation to her adulthood as a free woman and the conductor on the Underground Railroad.

 The Big Orange Splot by D. Manus Pinkwater
Celebrate creativity and individuality with this fun story. Children of all ages will discover how different ways of seeing the world can enrich our lives.


The Friendly Four by Eloise Greenfield
Told through engaging poetry, this story celebrates friendship as the best antidote to a "bummer summer."

The Judgemental Flower by Julia Cook
When Purple moves to the Blue Patch, all of the flowers struggle a bit to know the right way to react. In the end, they take their cue from the bees, the birds, and the wind, who treat all flowers the same.

Hey, Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose, Hannah Hoose, and Debbie Tilley
Practice empathy by stepping into the smallest shoes imaginable. Seeing the world from such a different point of view offers a great starting point for imagining how different people experience the world.

Let's Talk about Race by Julius Lester
Even the youngest children will be drawn into a thoughtful conversation about race with this remarkable little book. Julius Lester, a Newbery-Honor-winning author helps kids understand race as just one of many chapters in a person's story.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
For a child new to America whose whole world is changing, the continuity of her own name may mean an awful lot. And friends who are willing to take the time to learn her name may mean even more. This is a great book about acceptance, friendship, and change.

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima
When a young unicorn is born to a family of narwhals, he can't help but notice the many ways he stand out. Is he a land narwhal or a sea unicorn? Join young Kelp on his sweet journey to discover who he his and how to celebrate differences while emphasizing what he has in common.

One Green Apple - part of a growing list of books celebrating diversity

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting
Imagine how you might feel if you suddenly lived in a new country where everyone spoke differently, dressed differently, and ate differently. Celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity with this heart-warming story of Farah, an immigrant who is relieved to discover some familiar sights on a field trip to an apple orchard, where she begins to create new friendships across differences.

  • One by Kathryn Otoshi
    This story may seem sweet and simple, but at it’s core is an important lesson about embracing differences, the power of standing up for others, and empathy.

Whoever you are - part of a growing list of picture books that celebrate diversity

Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle
The author weaves his family's personal history into a bewitching story about a boy, his grandmother, and the challenges faced by modern American Indian families. 

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
What happens when you organize the world into them versus us, plain-belly sneetch or star-belly sneetch? This children's classic makes a mockery of superficial judgments, providing the perfect starting point for a conversation about similarities, differences, and acceptance.

Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
Inspired by the L.A. race riots and the civil rights movement, this is the story of a neighborhood that learns to bridge differences during hard times.

The Other Side by Jacqueline Wilson
The story of Clover and Annie, two young girls who are able to become friends despite the racial divide in their community.

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
This simple, lyrical book is the perfect bedtime story for young children and an exceptional reminder that across the world children everywhere share profound similarities along with fascinating differences.

For rich resources celebrating diversity through children's literature, browse these outstanding blogs.

Back to Read Together for more book lists...

Haven't found what you're looking for?
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Or check out our other tools to celebrate diversity.

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The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.