10 Brilliant Children’s Books That Celebrate Diversity

By November 24, 2016February 14th, 2018Children's Literature, Culture

For many of us 2016 feels like it’s been a divisive year, a year of ‘me’ and not of ‘us’, a year of divisions and dark rhetoric. If like me, you are a parent you may be worrying how all this is affecting your children and their outlook on the world.

Books are always great teachers and the books we read as children help to form our personality so if you’re looking for some diverse ideas for your children’s library, we have some suggestions for you.

From 0 to 16 years, we’re heading through the age groups with 10 children’s books that celebrate diversity.


0 – 4 Years

Amazing Grace – Mary Hoffman

This classic children’s picture book about a little girl who loves stories shows us that we can be anything we want to be!

Amazing Grace US
Amazing Grace UK

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Fruits: A Caribbean Counting Poem – Valerie Bloom

The early years are all about learning, and this adorable little girl eating her way through all manner of delicious Caribbean fruits is a fun way to learn!

Fruits US
Fruits UK

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5 – 7 Years

Azzi In Between – Sarah Garland

This powerful graphic novel about Azzi and her family seeking refuge is full of drama and tension, but age appropriate and offering a perspective of lives more dangerous than our own.

Azzi In Between US
Azzi In Between UK

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Fish for Jimmy – Katie Yamasaki

Fish for Jimmy is inspired by one family’s experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp and is a fantastic, age appropriate read showing life on the other side.

Fish for Jimmy US
Fish for Jimmy UK

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8 – 9 Years

Thunder Boy Jr – Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie tackles some hard hitting themes in his books for young people, and Thunder Boy Jr is no different. Named after his father, Thunder Boy wants his own name, and this is his battle to get it.

Thunder Boy Jr US
Thunder Boy Jr UK

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Inside Out and Back Again – Thanhha Lai

Inspired by the author’s childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child’s-eye view of family and immigration.

Inside Out and Back Again US
Inside Out and Back Again UK

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10 – 12 Years

The Unforgotten Coat – Frank Cottrell Boyce

This perceptive little book recounts the story of two Mongolian refugees who are struggling to fit in with their new classmates in Liverpool and is moving and beautifully written.

The Unforgotten Coat US
The Unforgotten Coat UK

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Talking Turkeys – Benjamin Zephaniah

This is a beautiful and thought provoking collection of poetry that explodes from the page and begs to be read aloud.

Talking Turkeys US
Talking Turkeys UK

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13 + Years

The Breadwinner – Deborah Ellis

The Breadwinner tells the story of Parvana, her mothers and sisters who are in danger of starvation. Kept housebound by the Taliban’s laws, they are trapped once their father is arrested.

The Breadwinner US
The Breadwinner UK

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship.

Aristotle and Dante US
Aristotle and Dante UK

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While we have split the books into age appropriation, we would think that you would be best to decide the books appropriate for your own children and so the ages are given just as a guide.

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