These Inclusive Children's Books Will Make Your Kid Feel Seen
Nothing makes me happier than shopping for new books, whether buying them for myself or for others. I especially enjoy shopping for children’s books and take great pleasure in finding the perfect story for a special kid. But in today’s not-quite-caught-up publishing world, this can get challenging. Although there are increasingly more options out there, it can still be difficult to find books that reflect the lives of children living in nonwhite, nonheterosexual, non-two-parent families.
But don’t fret: They are out there. In the slides ahead, we’ve identified books as well as websites that offer children’s’ books with diverse characters, homes and families. So let’s make a pact to stock our libraries (and our friends’ libraries and our schools and local bookstores for that matter) with these stories that represent the beautiful, diverse realities of so many families, shall we? Because representation matters — and kids deserve to feel represented too.
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A version of this story was originally published in December 2017.
‘I’m Very Ferris’
This sweet, rhyming tale explains the in vitro fertilization process in an accessible way. It’s the perfect tool to explain to IVF-conceived kids where they came from — and just how special they are.
I’m Very Ferris, $15.95 at Amazon.
‘Heather Has Two Mommies’
Children’s books that present diverse life experiences tend to fall into two categories: those that are centered on the diversity element itself and those that include diversity, but do not focus on it as a storyline. For the most iconic — and delightful — example of the former, think Heather Has Two Mommies, the groundbreaking 1989 book that worked wonders to normalize the experience of a little Northhampton gal with two moms. (Fun fact: That gal is all grown up and writing for SheKnows!).
Heather Has Two Mommies, $6.52 at Amazon
‘The Family Book’
One of the most recommended books about diverse family formations is Todd Parr’s The Family Book. Accompanied by drawings of people in all the brightly colored hues of the rainbow, this book is a primer for the myriad different family formations that are everywhere today.
The Family Book, $5.99 at Amazon
‘Two Is Enough’
There are also books that focus on specific family formations, like this one with single-caregiver families. One of the first books that someone got me when I found out I was pregnant was the beautifully illustrated Two is Enough by Janna Matthies and Mourning Tuesday. The book features a racially diverse cast of two-character families of varying age differences (single parents, adoptive parents, grandparents, etc.) enjoying the everyday.
Two Is Enough, $11.16 at Amazon
‘ABC: A Family Alphabet Book’
ABC: A Family Alphabet Book is one of those books that presents a diverse family structure without focusing on that structure specifically. The author, Bobbie Combs, states as much when speaking about the impetus for the book. “I wanted to see some books where the fact of the family being different wasn’t the focal point of the book. So I thought of making an alphabet book, where kids could say the letters and just see families like theirs having fun in the pictures.”
ABC: A Family Alphabet Book, $12.93 at Amazon
‘Flamingo Rampant’ Book Set
Similarly, a number of new LGBTQ-inclusive books that portray a wide array of family formations have recently been published. They have storylines focusing on everything from baby showers to Eid al-Fitr. A six-book set that depicts inclusive celebrations is available from Flamingo Rampant.
Six-book set, $100 at Flamingo Rampant
‘How Mamas Love Their Babies’
If you want to look further for that special book that speaks directly to the child in your life, I suggest looking at three great websites that offer a wide array of inclusive books broken down by topic. The lesbian women’s website Mombian includes a page of book recommendations with selections ranging from LGBTQ-inclusive baby books to nonfiction for older kids and much in between. The website Colours of Us includes lists of inclusive books on topics from race and racism to disability to strong female role models. And the Feminist Press has a great young readers series that includes Anastasia Higginbotham’s brilliant Divorce is the Worst as well as the wonderful new How Mamas Love Their Babies by Juniper Fitzgerald and Elise Peterson, which features diverse depictions of the ways mothers labor to make their children’s lives better.
How Mamas Love Their Babies, $13.56 at Feminist Press
‘A Letter for the Littlest Bear’
Still haven’t found the perfect book? Why not make your own? Wonderbly’s A Letter for the Littlest Bear allows you to personalize a book welcoming the “littlest bear” to the community, adding up to nine gender-neutral (or not) bears to the story.
A Letter for the Littlest Bear, $24.99 at Wonderbly
Gender Inclusive Books For Any Family Pinterest
Pin it — and start updating every library you know.
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