Book List: It’s Never Too Early to Introduce Diversity & Activism into Your Home Library

This curated book list is targeted towards our littlest readers. These book picks are full of diverse, positive messages and images that depict a wide range of people, lifestyles, and experiences. Whether you are seeking to create a more diverse and inclusive collection for your little one, or looking to purchase a baby shower gift— this list is for you!

Little Heroes of Color: 50 Who Made a BIG Difference by David Heredia

Say hello to heroes! This book introduces preschoolers to 50 men and women of color who have changed the world!

A perfect book for tomorrow’s leaders, Little Heroes of Color educates and inspires by showing readers 50 trailblazers from a range of races and ethnicities. Bold colors and simple captions bring the youngest readers face-to-face with those who’ve shaped history and broken boundaries in science, the arts, government, and more.

Love the World by Todd Parr

What the world needs now is love–and who better than Todd Parr to share a message of kindness, charity, and acceptance. Touching upon themes including self-esteem, environmentalism, and respect for others, Todd uses his signature silly and accessible style to encourage readers to show love for themselves and all the people, places, and things they encounter.

Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

In the beginning, there were three colors . . . Reds, Yellows, and Blues.

All special in their own ways, all living in harmony—until one day, a Red says “Reds are the best!” and starts a color kerfuffle. When the colors decide to separate, is there anything that can change their minds?

A Yellow, a Blue, and a never-before-seen color might just save the day in this inspiring book about color, tolerance, and embracing differences.

Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne

For all the littlest progressives, waking up to seize a new day of justice and activism.

Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world.

This lyrical and empowering book is both a celebration of what it means to be a baby and what it means to be woke. With bright playful art, Woke Baby is an anthem of hope in a world where the only limit to a skyscrapper is more blue.

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. 

The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.

Brave by Stacy McAnulty

An empowering picture book for all kids that demonstrates to children that they can be real-life superheroes and that all kids have what it takes to be brave.Superheroes seek adventure, never give up, and stay calm when others are afraid. Superheroes are brave. But they aren’t the only ones.

Kids are brave every day. When they are told they are too little, but accomplish something big. When they check for monsters under the bed, just in case. When they face something uncertain, whether a thunderstorm or a hospital visit. When they stand up for what’s right, even when it means facing consequences.

Love is You and Me by Anna W. Bardaus

This adorable book helps young children to remember that love — whether between a parent and child, best friends, or even a dog and a mouse — is the most wonderful offering of all. Love Is You and Me is a vibrant, uplifting title perfect any time of day, any time of the year.

One Love by Cedella Marley

One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right: Adapted from one of Bob Marley’s most beloved songs, One Love brings the joyful spirit and unforgettable lyrics to life for a new generation. Readers will delight in dancing to the beat and feeling the positive groove of change when one girl enlists her community to help transform her neighborhood for the better. It’s a testament to the amazing things that can happen when we all get together with one love in our hearts.

Colors of Me by Brynne Barnes

Intriguing collage illustrations frame this playful rhyme told through the eyes of a curious, creative young child who determines the whole world is full of color. Would I climb a tree striped orange and blue? Does the rain have a color when it makes a puddle? If flowers had no color, would they smell as sweet? The child comes to realize and appreciate a world filled with all colors that paint the earth and sky–and decides she’d like to be them all.

No! My First Book of Protest by Julie Merberg

Little ones who love to say “No!” can chime in while they learn about iconic activists from Frederick Douglass and Alice Paul to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala.

Each spread introduces an iconic figure—such as Gloria Steinem or Cesar Chavez—along with a super simple summary of the actions they took to change the course of history. Activists of all ages will learn about the abolitionist movement, civil rights, women’s rights, and more! Detailed, colorful art will thoroughly engage toddlers and preschoolers. And the chance to join the refrain on every spread “NO, NO!” is sure to please the tiniest protestors. (A mini history of protest movements at the end of the books is a handy cheat sheet for parents!)

Every Little Thing adapted by CedellaMarley

A beautiful book that brings Bob Marley’s beloved song to life for a new generation: Every family will relate to this universal story of a boy who won’t let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three special little birds. This cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages—because every little thing’s gonna be all right

Be Who You Are by Todd Parr

Be who you are!
Be proud of where you’re from.
Be a different color. Speak your language.
Wear everything you need to be you.

Who better than Todd Parr to remind kids that their unique traits are what make them so special? With his signature silly and accessible style, Parr encourages readers to embrace all their unique qualities.

Skin Again by Bell Hooks

Celebrating all that makes us unique and different, Skin Again offers new ways to talk about race and identity. Race matters, but only so much–what’s most important is who we are on the inside. Looking beyond skin, going straight to the heart, we find in each other the treasures stored down deep. Learning to cherish those treasures, to be all we imagine ourselves to be, makes us free.

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children’s activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picture book offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.

Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin

Is there anything more splendid than a baby’s skin? Cocoa-brown, cinnamon, peaches and cream. As children grow, their clever skin does, too, enjoying hugs and tickles, protecting them inside and out, and making them one of a kind. Fran Manushkin’s rollicking text and Lauren Tobia’s delicious illustrations paint a breezy and irresistible picture of the human family — and how wonderful it is to be just who you are.

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby‘s nine easy steps for building a more equitable world.

With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.

We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates

Who better than Sesame Street to teach us that we may all look different on the outside—but it’s important to remember that deep down, we are all very much alike. We all have the same needs, desires, and feelings. Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it’s our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place. This enduring, colorful, and charmingly illustrated book offers an easy, enjoyable way to learn about differences—and what truly matters. It is an engaging read for toddlers and adults alike.

Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children

From Guatemala to Bhutan, seventeen vibrantly colored photographs embrace our global diversity and give glimpses into the daily life, traditions, and clothing of babies from around the world. Simple text in Spanish and English teaches the littlest readers that everywhere on earth, babies are special and loved.

I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont

High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves—inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here’s a little girl who knows what really matters.      

At once silly and serious, Karen Beaumont’s joyous rhyming text and David Catrow’s wild illustrations unite in a book that is sassy, soulful . . . and straight from the heart. The sturdy board book is just right for little hands. 

I Love Me by Sally Morgan & Ambelin Kwaymullina

I Love Me is a vibrant, multi-colored, and award-winning board book that teaches kids one of life’s most important lessons: self acceptance.

The 2019 Children’s Picture Book Silver Nautilus Book Award winner. “I love my eyes, I love my nose, I love the way my curly hair grows!” Acclaimed Australian creators Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina celebrate individuality and joyous self-esteem in bouncy, rhythmic prose and lively color. I Love Me is inclusive, fun, simple, and contains a necessary lesson for all about the positivity of self love.

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