Not too long ago, parents and educators were hard pressed to find children’s books that addressed social justice issues, different kinds of families, and LGBT identities. Happily, there are many books out there today that broach complex topics in an approachable, kid-friendly way. Whether you’re a teacher of young children looking to diversify your class library, or a parent wanting to talk to your young kids about different kinds of identities, these inclusive books are as colorful, informative, and enjoyable as they come:
“Mister Seahorse” written and illustrated by Eric Carle. Iconic illustrator and storyteller Eric Carle’s books are a quintessential part of many a home library. Stonewall calls this book “A stunning new picture book about Mister Seahorse and other ‘male mothers.’” Indeed, it examines the ways in which different parenting structures work for different families in beautiful colors and images.
“Mommy, Mama, and Me” written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Carol Thompson. According to Amazon, “Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its mommies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together.” This beautiful story traces the day in the life of one family, and shares the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children with readers.
“Oliver Button Is a Sissy” written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. This book, written and illustrated by beloved children’s author Tomie dePaola is the story of how a little boy must come to terms with being teased because he’d rather read, paint, and tap-dance than participate in sports. “Oliver Button Is a Sissy” examines what it means to be different and proud.
“What Makes a Baby” written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth. This book has got to be one of the most comprehensive, inclusive answers to the question, “Where do babies come from?” This book is for “every kind of family and every kind of kid,” and explains the process of conception, gestation, and birth in a way that does not eliminate the experience of anyone involved in this process.
“A is for Activist” written and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara. This is not your typical alphabet book, but rather, one that packs a powerful message for the children of progressive families. Some critics explain that “A is for Activist” is for families who want their gets to grow up in a home that is proud of its activism, LGBT rights, civil rights, and anything else worth fighting for.
“The Great Big Book of Families” written by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Ros Asquith. This book is perfect for parents and teachers that want to show young children that every family is unique. From discussions and illustrations about pets, to holidays, family structures, feelings, and everything in between, “The Great Big Book of Families” is incredibly inclusive and beautifully executed.
What are your favorite inclusive books for kids?