Every child deserves to see themselves reflected in picture books, and every child deserves to see the many cultures we have in our world! I’ve put together this list books celebrating diversity for preschoolers, which is great to either get you started or give you a new resource for your continued reading! I know you will love reading these diverse and multicultural books to your preschool aged children.
Check youtube as well because there are many kind and loving people who read picture books celebrating diversity (and other books) aloud to give busy and tired moms a break. Letting someone else read to your kids is ok too. Just google the title of any of these books and almost all of them feature someone reading it out loud.
There’s no question about how important reading to your kids is, and choosing books to celebrate diversity will help impart your values and ideals with them.
Babies and Toddlers
Please Baby Please by Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee
From in the middle of the night to tantrums, experienced parents present a behind-the-scenes look at the chills, spills, and unequivocal thrills of bringing up baby! The illustrations and rhythms of this sweet picture book celebrating diversity made this a household favorite
What is Light by Markette Sheppard
Through this thoughtful and celebratory book, young readers will discover the special glow in everything from nature to the smiles of loved ones. Each page reveals a differentc celebration of diversity in the child’s exquisite world. The light revealed on the final page makes a fitting finale for this sweet, bright tale.
Baby Dance by Anne Taylor
Up and down, to and fro, coo and crow baby, there you go. Up to the ceiling, down to the ground, backward and forward, round and round … All babies love to be lifted, twirled and held in loving arms.
I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Peter H Reynolds
I Am Human affirms that we can make good choices by acting with compassion and having empathy for others and ourselves. When we find common ground, we can feel connected to the great world around us and mindfully strive to be our best selves.
More More More Said the Baby by Vera Williams
Share this Caldecott Honor-winning book with the little ones in your life. Vera B. Williams’s tribute to babies and the people who love them is a happy celebration—you won’t be able to stop smiling while reading the catchy refrains. It’s a picture book that celebrates diversity from page one, and gives you reason to frolic.
This is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe
In Japan, Kei plays Freeze Tag, while in Uganda, Daphine likes to jump rope. While the way they play may differ, the shared rhythm of their days—and this one world we all share—unites them. Your kids will want to read this one over and over again.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
Garnering its own episode in the Netflix series Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, you’ll find a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
On a simple trip to the park, the joy of music overtakes a mother and daughter. The little girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her and it will help your kids hear it too!
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another will be one of your kids’ favorite picture books celebrating diversity.
Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
Max loves his grandpa. When they must say good-bye after a visit, Grandpa promises Max that the moon at Grandpa’s house is the same moon that will follow him all the way home. Beautiful and rich illustrations.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
I love that Hair Love is highlighting the relationship between a Black father and daughter.
Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman
Such a delight! If you haven’t yet discovered Neil Gaiman in your house, start with this children’s picture book that celebrates diversity. It’s a rollicking good time.
I am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
This books allows you to jump start important conversation around race and racism, identity, perceptions, stereotypes, and equity. It provides an important mirror to children of African ancestry, but it also provides a window and a segue to all children to understand the challenges Black men face daily.
I Just Want To Say Good Night by Rachel Isadora
If your children don’t want to go to bed, they will really identify with this book and want you to read it over and over again. The pictures are beautiful and look like paintings.
The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora This version of the classic fairy tale has been shifted from Europe to Africa, but the story is the same.
If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed by Denise Vega
If you have a monster that won’t go to bed, don’t bother asking your parents to help. They know a lot about putting kids to bed, but nothing about putting monsters to bed. It’s not their fault; they’re just not good at it. Read this book instead.B
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by J. Ho This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes and is a celebration of diversity. Reviewers say that it talks about the eyes being like the parent’s, so if adoption is in your family, be aware of that discussion.
Dear Dragon by Josh Funk A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.
Count on Me by by Miguel Tanco is a picture book celebrating diversity about how it’s ok to like different things. In the case of this book, that is math. The young girl in the book observes all the passions of the people in her family, like painting or studying insects.
Stella’s Stellar Hair by Yesenia Moises celebrates the joy of self-empowerment, shows off our solar system, and beautifully illustrates a variety of hairstyles from the African varieties.
Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin is a delightful and inspiring picture book that highlights the importance of self-confidence while taking an earnest look at what happens when that confidence is shaken or lost.
Speak Up! by Miranda Paul
When something really matters, one voice can make a difference. This spirited, vibrant picture book celebrates diversity and encourages kids to speak up, unite with others, and take action when they see something that needs to be fixed.
The Camping Trip by Jennifer Mann Ernestine has never been camping before, but she’s sure it will be lots of fun . . . won’t it? An endearing story about a girl’s first experience with the great outdoors.
Wild Berries by Julie Flett. Tch, tch, sh, sh, tup, tup.
Spend the day picking wild blueberries with Clarence and his grandmother, in a beautiful woodland landscape, the ancestral home of author and illustrator Julie Flett. This book is written in both English and Cree.
Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Another clever retelling of the Mary had a little lamb nursery rhyme. This time a girl with immense style shows her diverse classmates how it’s done. The kids are inspired and everyone dresses in their finery and with flair. However when recess starts they are concerned about what to do. Fortunately Mary has a solution!
Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls. The text is spare and the illustrations are dynamic in this mindful book that teaches about empathy, self-reflection and community. Highly recommended.
We’re the Same, We’re Different by Sesame Street
Always a classic, we can’t leave Sesame Street off our list of picture books celebrating diversity.
Say Hello by Rachel Isadora
Here’s a great book to turn the diversity focus on your own neighborhood. Carmelita walks her dog in the neighborhood, greeting all her neighbors. Each neighbor in turn answers “Hello!” in his or her own language.
Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez.
Next on the list of picture books celebrating diversity is absolutely delightful. A boy is looking for his missing stuffed toy and he asks everyone around him for help. Preschoolers will love spotting the clues as to whom the real culprit of Bongo’s disappearance is.
Puddle by Hyewon Yum. There are a surprising number of picture books about the joys of rain and puddles and this book is a fun twist on the usual fare. His very savvy mother starts to draw a picture of a rainy scene and result is charming—and ends with a big splash!
The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Rafael López. This lively, cumulative tale in the vein of The House that Jack Built that begins with a single cooking pot and ends with a feast. Spanish words are worked into the rhyme and the illustrations dance off the page.