Motherhood

18 Children’s Books With Characters of Color

18 Children's Books with Characters of Color

After our post on raising race-conscious children, we wanted to share some books for kids featuring characters of different races and ethnicities. Some talk about race directly (like A Piece of Home), and some are simply about children’s everyday adventures (such as Airport). Here are 18 we like…

Do you have any other recommendations? We’d love to hear.

(Top image from the beautiful book Max and the Tag-Along Moon.)

  1. Erin says...

    Sunday Shopping is a fun read.

    Twenty Yawns features a biracial child and is so cute.

    Raindrop Plop is another fun read (you can also sing it to the tune of “five little ducks”!) and the girl is rather ambiguous racially.

    Mary Englebright has diverse illustrations. Her fairy tale anthologies are huge favorites at our home.

  2. AR says...

    Ada Twist, Scientist is also so great for encouraging girls to go into STEM! Love this selection.

  3. Thank you so much for this post. We adopted from The Marshall Islands and our daughter has gorgeous coco-skin. I just went to our bookshelves to see what might be there and couldn’t find enough colour! It is a timely reminder that I need to boost the colour scheme of our bookshelves. I went to Amazon and even found a book about The Marshall Islands that I need to order right away.

  4. Jen says...

    In order of preference by my 4.5yr old daughter, here’s a few from our recent library run: Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts, Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock, The Invisible Boy by Patrice Barton.

  5. Michelle says...

    Beautiful, thank you!

  6. A says...

    Courdoroy!

  7. Blair Alexander says...

    My kids loved The Bake Shop Ghost by Jacqueline Ogburn as well as One Grain of Rice by Demi.

  8. Jennifer says...

    Great list, thank you! We also love Whistle For Willie and Peter’s Chair, by Ezra Jack Keats. My son refers to them as his “Peter Books.”

  9. This is such a great list! And next year you can maybe add mine to it! “Jabari Jumps!” Candlewick May 2017. (About a little boy who’s afraid to jump off the diving board. It features his father and baby sister as well.)

    • Oh my goodness! YES! We die laughing reading the Walter books.

  10. What a thoughtful selection of books to read. I will be collecting these books and reading them to my grandchildren. I do own a few of them.

  11. My bright, pretty, blond white girl moved into chapter books very quickly and I was appalled at how hard it was to find ones she liked that DIDN’T involve the main character being just like her! In the quest to find books to help her learn that being bright, pretty, blond and white DIDN’T make her any more special than anyone else, here are some we enjoyed. You might consider a follow-up chapter book post?
    – Sassy: https://www.amazon.com/Sassy-Little-Sister-Not-Name/dp/0545071518 Sharon Draper please write more!
    – Nikki & Deja: https://www.amazon.com/Nikki-Deja-Karen-English/dp/0547133626
    – Alvin Ho: https://www.amazon.com/Alvin-Ho-Allergic-School-Things/dp/0375849300 (we love you Alvin!)
    – Bobby Ellis-Chan: https://www.amazon.com/Bobby-Brave-Sometimes-Vs-Girls
    – Zapato Power: https://www.amazon.com/Freddie-Ramos-Takes-Zapato-Power/dp/0807594792
    – Get Ready for Gabi: https://www.amazon.com/Get-Ready-Gabi-Marisa-Montes/dp/0439475198

  12. Laura Herrmann says...

    Ten, Nine, Eight is one of my favorite board books for little ones.

  13. Phyllis says...

    This is a great post! As a Chinese American and mother of 2 little girls, it becomes clearer to me every day how important it is to have them surrounded by and exposed to diverse stories.

    And for everyone here who may be interested in getting more suggestions like these or simply supporting initiatives that will help increase awareness of diverse children’s lit, I have had the absolute pleasure of working with We Need Diverse Books (www.weneeddiversebooks.org), a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for essential changes to the children’s publishing industry to produce and promote literature that better reflects and recognizes diverse backgrounds and experiences. I know they’ve put out some really comprehensive reading list recommendations for a wide range of age groups and much like this one around the holidays the last couple of years! Hopefully some of you will feel compelled to check them out!

    • YES they are so great! I especially like their “If you’ve read ____, you’ll like this book” feature.

  14. Sara says...

    I have always been an avid reader. My parents always encourage my love of literature, and whether on purpose of not gave me a huge assortment of children’s books with people of color from all over the globe.

    One of my favorites was this one:
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9632.Switch_on_the_Night

    I’m also mixed, and grew up as one of the only people of color in my school. My hair has always been a huge issue, as no one ever had hair as wild as me. All my friends were white. Then once I met black girls, they all got their hair braided. My mom is white and didn’t know where to start with all of my textures and curls. This book was one of the first times I saw someone depicted with big, beautiful, black hair. Its something I think everyone should be exposed to more. Beauty has many forms.

  15. Hi Joanna!
    I wrote “Lailah’s Lunchbox” , an ALA Notable Book, which was published last year! Other stories we enjoy are “My Name is Bilal,” “One Green Apple,” “White Nights of Ramadan,” “golden domes and silver lanterns” and more:)

  16. We love Leo: A Ghost Story. It is the same illustrator as Last Stop on Market Street.

  17. Great post and the one before it on this topic.

  18. Chloe says...

    As a child I loved “The Patchwork Quilt” by Valerie Flournoy.

  19. Gen says...

    This new book Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina about a little girl from Bogota, Colombia is adorable, exposes the kids to cultural differences and, bonus, another language! We love it. https://www.amazon.com/Juana-Lucas-Medina/dp/0763672084
    Juana also illustrated her amazing story about trying to become an American citizen in the WaPo recently if you want to know more behind her story. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2016/04/08/gifted-artist-juana-medina-draws-powerfully-upon-her-long-saga-as-an-immigrant-in-america/

  20. Anne says...

    The arrival by Shaun Tan – it’s a graphic novel so not specifically for kids, but I am sure kids would love it as well. There are no words, so you make up the story as you go and there are wonderful illustrations and funny animals to point out while you read it. My mother who never reads comics saw it ob my bookshelf and couldn’t put it down and started talking about her own immigration story

  21. Elisabeth says...

    Corduroy! Also a wonderful story about not having to be perfect to be a friend.

  22. Joanna, thank you so much for writing posts about this. It’s so important and easy to overlook. While I have no kids myself, but I will definitely be referring back to this post (and comments) for gift ideas for my friends’ children!

  23. Suzan says...

    Robert Munsch is an excellent children’s writer, and several of his books feature children of different ethnicities. Some that come to mind are: A Promise is a Promise, Angela’s Airplane, and David’s Father. Those were all from my childhood, so he may have others now.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, amy!

  24. Megan says...

    I haven’t read all the comments (so these may be repeats) but a few favorites of ours include (other than the very good list above): Precious Sleepyhead, Interstellar Cinderella, A is for Activist, Girl of Mine, and Abuela.

    I would love to see more posts about raising aware, conscientious children (with age-appropriate things parents can do).

    • Dianne says...

      I LOVE A is for Activist! Concur on the recs and second the request for posts related to how to raise aware children.

  25. Emily says...

    I was so happy to see this post and the post before. I don’t have children (yet) but have always worked with children or on products for children. I often think that parents/adults underestimate how much their children are picking up about the world around them and the necessity of enriching and discussing the more complicated parts of our daily lives.

    In highschool I worked for a toy store and after college when I was looking for a job in NYC one company jumped to mind. I always sold their games and products because they were one of the few toy companies that a. featured children of different races and b. specifically made a product about diversity. Now, after working here for 4 years I am happy to work for a company that puts diversity in the forefront. Believe it or not I once worked a trade show where a store buyer asked me if we had any paper dolls that we “less diverse”. All of our paper dolls have 2 “thoughtful” girls of different races. I was proud that the answer was no! It is truly astonishing how “white washed” a lot of the children’s industry is AND how much that really shapes the way children think about the world.

    Thanks for bringing this issue up on your blog and providing such a resources to parents.

  26. Sher says...

    Eat up, Gemma by Jan Oremerod

    • Jan Ormerod has so many good ones! We also love “Grandfather and I.”

  27. karen says...

    I super duper love this post! Last Stop on Market Street is such a great book. It won the 2016 Newbery Medal, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, and a Caldecott Honor. The Newbery Award is usually for a chapter book, so it was really thrilling for Children’s Librarians to witness this. We all kinda freaked out! Here’s a link the Free Library of Philadelphia put together https://libwww.freelibrary.org/explore/topic/black-lives-matter

  28. Alice says...

    Corduroy by Don Freeman!

  29. jessica says...

    Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth is a great one

    • Dianne says...

      Love this one too! Just got it from the library last week! My kids LOVED the illustrations on that one.

  30. Carly says...

    I am so Brave by Stephen Kerensky.
    It’s very simple, and our one-year-old loves it.

  31. Zetta Elliott writes and self-publishes a huge variety of children’s books. And I love supporting her because she refuses to let the homogeneity of traditional publishing slow her down/prevent her from getting books about kids of color written by authors of color out in the hands of readers. Her book BIRD is beautiful. And though it’s a picture book, it’s really for middle/high readers.

  32. Jessica says...

    More More More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams was a favorite of ours.

    • Bethany says...

      This is a favorite of ours too!

  33. Alyssa says...

    It is really great that the blog is tackling race conversations with children and features a diverse array of women for the beauty uniforms every month. I love reading the blog but I think I would love to a see a woman of color on your staff as well.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes, I agree with you, Alyssa. Thank you! We are working on this, please stay tuned. xoxo

    • This is a great point and I am so glad you mentioned this Alyssa. I absolutely LOVE Cup of Jo! I do find that sometimes when I look at the staff and/or contributors page of my favorite lifestyle blogs that the team lacks diversity. Thanks for all you do in the space Jo Goddard, you rock and inspire!! (I live vicariously through you on Instagram as well;)

  34. Sapna says...

    A great post. “Same Same but Different” is a wonderful book between two boys (?penpals) who write each other between NYC and India.

  35. Anne says...

    Thank you for tapping into this important conversation – I would love to see more posts like this!

    The Hello Goodbye Window is a beautiful book (in which the main character comes from a mixed race family). It wonderfully captures a child’s voice, perspective and ability to celebrate the ordinary.

    We also love Water in the Park which is a great portrait of an urban park, filled with diverse characters… we spend a lot of time looking at the pictures and talking about the different kids of people and families represented.

  36. Katie C says...

    I just saw a great piece on Martellus Bennett, who plays football in the NFL for the Patriots. In addition to being a football player, Martellus is a creative artist, entrepreneur and founder of the Imagination Agency. He has a young daughter and noticed that there weren’t many children books featuring young girls of color, so he wrote one for her! He named the main character after his daughter AJ and it’s titled “Hey AJ it’s Saturday!” – and has since released an accompanying app (both are ADORABLE and have rave reviews). The book/app follows his daughter AJ on Saturday mornings making breakfast – and is absolutely adorable! Martellus’ creativity is truly inspiring and I found myself in tears watching him talk about why he wrote this book for his daughter.

    Information on his books and his full story can be found on his website ( https://www.heyaj.com/author/admin/ ).

    • Dianne says...

      Love the Toothpaste millionaire too! I rec it for the math in it too!

  37. Rebecca says...

    Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell and Hush! By Mingfong Ho

    Both are delightful!

  38. We love “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” by Mem Fox, “Every Little Thing” by Cedella Marley, and “The Girl Who Got out of Bed” by Betsy Childs (which I also recommend if your child has trouble staying in bed).

    • Also, I just ordered “Monster Trouble!” My daughter’s staying in bed issues are partially motivated by a fear of monsters, and her name is Winifred! So excited to read it to her!

    • Denise says...

      I love “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes”!

  39. Meg says...

    Meet Danitra Brown and Yesterday I Had the Blues are stories my students LOVED.

  40. AK says...

    All of Ezra Jack Keats’s books featuring Peter are excellent, and Keats’s autobiography is interesting as well. He was a Jewish kid who experienced discrimination and it influenced his work as an author. Keats had been illustrating books that had no black characters in them and Keats realized he wanted to write a book with a black child as its hero. About creating Peter, the main character in The Snowy Day, Keats said: “My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along.”
    http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/ezras-life/

  41. Kristen says...

    Grace Lin has wonderful picture books, early readers, and chapter books. My kids also loved “Please, Baby, Please” by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee when they were younger. A couple of others we like are “Mama’s Saris” by Pooja Makhijani, “Flower Garden” by Eve Bunting, “Suki’s Kimono” by Chieri Uegaki.

  42. Stacie says...

    Faith Ringgold–Tar Beach

  43. Thank you so very much for sharing these! Our family is very diverse and we embrace it. I am German-Irish, my husband is Cuban-American, and we adopted our twin daughters from Japan. We teach our girls to embrace and celebrate their uniqueness as well as ours. We have many Japanese children’s books write in English to share their culture with them. We hope to find a Japanese tutor so they may learn the language too. Have a lovely day.

    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea
    http://www.jeansandatea.com

  44. Stephanie Stefanik says...

    Corduroy!! A classic!

  45. Natalie S. says...

    I love this list and would definitely add “The Other Side” by Jacqueline Woodson. She’s better known for her beautiful YA books, but this picture book is wonderful and a great conversation about how people may treat others of different races differently.

  46. Joan says...

    Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. Another favorite… Ten, Nine, Eight.

    • Meghan says...

      Yes this! Ten, nine, eight melts my heart every time. It is the sweetest bedtime story!!!

    • Courtney says...

      Both of these books are great! In case anyone wants to look them up, “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” is by Mem Fox, “Ten, Nine, Eight” is by Molly Bang.

  47. Catherine says...

    Mrs Katz and Tush. Makes me cry every time

  48. Jessica says...

    Baby Dance by Ann Taylor. One of my favorite books to sing to my kids. Keeping that one in the future grandparent pile!

  49. ERIN says...

    “Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas” by Naomi C. Rose. With a forward by the Dalai Lama, original paintings, and both English and Tibetan script, its a magical, colorful book. I used to develop and teach Tibetan language classes for pre-school-aged children, and my tiny students (and their parents, too!) loved this one!

    “Do Like Kyla” by Angela Johnson is also a favorite!

  50. Maggie says...

    These are great – there are a few more Ezra Jack Keats ones, and Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.

  51. Thank you so much for this!! I like for my kids to know about diversity and it’s nice to read books with people who look like them in it. Thank you a million times over!!

  52. Leigh says...

    Thank you for posting this, and also for your honesty and humility in self-reflection.

  53. Laura says...

    At The Hardware Store by Anne Rockwell features a family with a white dad and an Asian mom. And in one illustration she just happens to be breastfeeding one of the kids and it’s so not a big deal that it isn’t even mentioned.

    One Little, Two Little, Three Little Children is gorgeous for very young children. Shows families of all different structures, backgrounds, races, means etc.

  54. Hi Joanna,

    Well recommended books indeed. :) I much appreciate you for including the name of these meaningful and useful books for children. Reading a books comes with kids featuring character is always awesome.

    I remember, when I was child, my father used to bring a books named as “Champak” and I was so excited to read such inspirational books. As I was child, I have learned many good books and these are highly informative to develop the knowledge and skill in child. I must suggest to have these books to others too.

    I have tweeted this article to my followers because I found the informative on myselves.
    Love your choice and wonderful selection, Joanna.
    With best wishes.
    – Ravi.

  55. Penelope says...

    Not quite a picture book, but if you have older readers (7-10), the ‘Squishy Taylor’ chapter book series by Alisa Wild is fantastic. Stories of everyday mysteries of a super energetic kid, in a blended, mixed-race family, and set in Australia. My nieces love them. Great illustrations too.

    ‘Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters’ is the first, and there’s seven out at the moment.

  56. I remember liking :
    Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters
    Anansi the spider
    Anything by Faith Ringgold ( I was mesmerized by Tar Beach as a child)
    and other’s I can’t remember at the moment. Love that list though!

  57. Vicki says...

    The Hello, Goodbye Window is a sweet book about a little girl who visits her grandparents. And what about Tomie DePaola? He is such a favorite around here!

  58. Sara says...

    Dancing in the wings by Debbie Allen

  59. Kathleen says...

    My parents are huge Sherman Alexi fans and just gave my daughter “Thunder Boy Jr.” for her birthday. She loves it, and have read it over Skype with my parents. Older (13ish?) kids should be encouraged to check out “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian.”

  60. sarah says...

    Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, Verna Aardema

    Dave the Potter, Laban Carrik Hill

    Both favorites on our shelf

  61. Allison says...

    I love all these recommendations and would add Please, Baby, Please to the list. Such a wonderful and charming story. My boys loved it!!

  62. Natalie Celuch says...

    “What are you doing?”, by Elisa Amado, a Guatemalan-born author and translator. She has written Barrilete: A Kite for the Day of the Dead / Un barrilete para el Día de los muertos, Cousins (Primas) and Tricycle (El triciclo), which is on the Américas Award Commended List and is a USBBY Outstanding International Book. She is also the author of Why Are You Doing That?. She lives in Toronto.

  63. Amanda says...

    My 6 month old likes (I think) the Global Babies books — there is the original, Global Baby Boys, Global Baby Girls, and Global Baby Bedtimes. They are board books full of beautiful pictures of babies from all over the world.

  64. Emily says...

    Oh! Funny you should ask. I’m a Library Science student who just so happens to be taking Children’s Lit this semester. We covered picture books with diverse subjects last week- and here are some that I love and would love to recommend:

    Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by: Bryan Collier
    Mango, Abuela, and Me by: Meg Medina
    My Pen by: Christopher Myers
    Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by: Chieri Uegaki
    Each Kindness by: Jacqueline Woodson

    We also reviewed several on your list. I love Last Stop On Market Street- and think Christian Robinson is brilliant!

    Thanks for this great feature!

  65. I love this post. I don’t have children now, but I tutor elementary school children at a predominately black school and they never seem to have any books with characters who look like them when we read together. I bought my mentee a book called “President of the Whole 5th Grade” by Sherri Winston, as she was preparing to be promoted from 4th to 5th grade earlier this year. It seems to be a great read! It features an African American leading character who wants to become president of her grade, despite the odds.

    Keshia
    http://www.queenlifeblog.com

  66. Molly says...

    I agree with Catherine and Susan – Vera Williams’s “Cherries and Cherry Pits” and “A Chair for my Mother” are both literary and artistic pieces of perfection. I remember being little and feeling so captivated by the story and the illustrations that, almost 30 years later, their details in my mind are so fresh. I still have both my copies in my book shelf of my home.

  67. I love all of these book suggestions, and I feel it’s so important that children are aware and understand the beauty of having differences♡

  68. Anne says...

    The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton Juster is a favorite in my Kindergarten Classroom. I also love Those Shoes by Marybeth Boelts.

  69. Jane says...

    This is not a picture book. It’s for grade three but I have loved this book since the first time I read it. “Jackie Robinson and the Year of the Boar” by Bette Bao Lord tells the story of a young Chinese American girl and her experience as a immigrant trying to find her way and becoming assimilated. I felt like I was reliving my own childhood. It is written with sensitivity as well as humor.

  70. Kate says...

    I would highly recommend “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury.
    My daughter loved it.

  71. Danielle says...

    I’d love to see a round up of children’s books with characters who have disabilities – specifically visible disabilities. When my second daughter, Lily, was born this past spring, I became aware of how media is supremely lacking in displaying this type of diversity. Lily has Down syndrome. I want to read her books with characters that look like her, and other people who look “differently”! She is beautiful, and I want her to know others think so too.

    • Mollie Whalen says...

      One book that I would recommend is “My Travelin’ Eye” by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. This book features a girl with a “lazy” eye. It focuses on how this helps Jenny Sue (the character) to see the world in a different way.

  72. Ann says...

    Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt (Reading Rainbow Books) by Deborah Hopkinson. Deborah Hopkinson has written so many great historical books for young readers. I would always start crying reading this book to my boys at night.

  73. Jessica says...

    Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox! It’s a wonderful baby book about all different ethnicities…and a great way to start right off the bat showing your baby there are many different kinds of babies in the world yet they all have some things in common!

  74. s.patel says...

    The Barefoot Books line of books is incredible for it’s diversity of characters in cultures. It has books that are both culture specific (based in different geographic areas, etc), and they take classics such as Wheels on the Bus and revamp it with really diverse illustrations, such that each reader can find a character that is just like them!
    https://www.barefootbooks.com/Sheetal-Kakarala

    Their newest book, The Barefoot Book of Children is especially poignant given the political and racial climate in our country right now. As a family of colour, we have been using this a lot with our little one in understanding diversity:
    http://store.barefootbooks.com/the-barefoot-book-of-children.html/?bf_affiliate_code=000-25lu

  75. Liz says...

    Ten little fingers, and ten little toes. By Mem Fox. About babies who come from all different places but are all the same. Comes in board books for babies too.

  76. Elizabeth says...

    Corduroy, Whistle for Willie (also by Ezra Jack Keats)- my son loves this book!, and I agree with the other poster- the Highlights High Five magazine for pre-schoolers is awesome and features truly diverse characters.

  77. cate says...

    “All the World,” by Liz Garton Scanlon; “Ten Nine Eight,” by Molly Bang; “Tar Beach,” by Faith Ringgold. All lovely. (And “Everywhere Babies” is a nightly read in our house.)

  78. KRB says...

    Corduroy!

  79. MA says...

    A feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell was one of my kids absolute favorite counting board books. Also Hush, a Thai lullaby, by Ho and Meade was another favorite. I especially loved the animal sounds, and how tired the mother gets trying to quiet the world so her baby can finally fall asleep!!

  80. lindsay says...

    Whoa whoa whoa. Why the heck are multiple people saying that Corduroy, WHO IS A BEAR, should be added to a list for children’s books featuring KIDS of color? What is happening.

    • Amy says...

      The little girl who takes Corduroy home is black.

  81. Katie says...

    I treasured “Not Yet, Yvette” when I was little! Beautiful book for your cake-loving boys!

  82. Joanne says...

    Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox, such a sweet book to read with babies and toddlers. Has babies from all different races and countries.

  83. Peter’s Chair, also by Ezra Keats. Very sweet book about a family welcoming a new baby, with the same characters as in A Snowy Day

  84. I follow author/illustrator Bob Staake on Facebook and was heartened to read his post on his upcoming book, “I Love Cats”, and his success in featuring an African American girl as a lead character (after receiving pushback from publishers on previous attempts). He writes, in part: “Change occurs slowly — but only when people persevere, PUSH, and never give up the fight — no matter how “small”. A picture book for kids may be the ultimate definition of “small”, but it’s a STEP — and I am SO happy that HarperCollins is taking it with me.” Keep an eye out for it – it looks to be a beautiful book!

    • Sorry! It’s Rainbow Stew (not soup) by Cathryn Falwell. And Blackout by John Rocco. Both show black families doing normal family together things. Also, for older (upper elementary-aged) kids, A Picture Book of Jesse Owens by David Adler and Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges.

  85. Betsy says...

    My son loves, Thunder Boy Jr. He also enjoys My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits.

  86. Ciara says...

    My first grader just read and loved Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson.

  87. Kim Marsden says...

    Yaay. You included Native Indians – Thunder Boy Jr! Thank you.

  88. I appreciate this post! I work at my county library and always try to put diverse picture books on our Staff Picks display. I also just made a booklist for Hispanic Heritage Month. Love love love this.

  89. Kristen says...

    Thank you for sharing this! At Christmas time I love to collect beautiful nutcrackers to decorate my mantle, and this year I’m looking to add an African American nutcracker to my treasured collection. We don’t have kids yet, but my husband is biracial and I can already see how it may take some effort and extra thought (from me and my side of the family) to incorporate diversity in both toys and decor.

  90. Great post! Our favorites include:
    “Ugly Vegetables” by Grace Lin (anything by Grace Lin!)
    “New Shoes for Sylvia” illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
    “Rain” illustrated by Christian Robinson
    “All the World” illustrated by Marla Frazee
    “Oh What a Busy Day” by Gyo Fujikawa
    “Orlando’s Little While Friends” by Audrey Wood

  91. Katie says...

    Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, about real-life musician Melba Liston, is wonderful! The illustrations are gorgeous and the writing, so lovely. I’m excited that one of my two year old son’s earliest impressions of instruments will be seeing a black woman play one in this book.

    https://www.leeandlow.com/books/2854

    • Dianne says...

      We LOVE Melba and her Trombone! Such a great story!

  92. Meg says...

    Are you familiar with the “Reading While White” blog? http://readingwhilewhite.blogspot.com
    Lots of good ideas and thoughtful discussions about children’s literature. Thanks so much for your last postings. This is important stuff!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, meg!

  93. Melany says...

    Thank you for sharing. I also love “The Girl who Hated Books” by Manjusha Pewagi.

  94. Ann M says...

    Amazing Grace is a wonderful book about a girl standing up to what people say she cannot do because a.) she is a girl and b.)
    she is black.

  95. Rachel says...

    “Ten, Nine, Eight” by Molly Bang — This is an absolutely beautiful bedtime book, like “Goodnight, Moon” but not as ubiquitous

    Two other favorites:
    “Grace for President” by Kelly DiPucchio
    “Bi-Bim-Bop” by Linda Sue Park — we use the recipe in this book all the time!

    • Hilary says...

      I was just about to write in with Ten Nine Eight! Love that one.

  96. Kate G. says...

    Corduroy!

  97. Liz says...

    Oooh I forgot how much we loved everywhere babies. What a good one!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love how the illustrations show all kinds of families and homes and lifestyles — breastfeeding and bottle feeding; dads wearing slings, etc. such a great book!

  98. Emily S. says...

    Thanks for including a book illustrated by Marla Frazee! I am good friends with her son, and her books are beyond lovely. xo

  99. Emily says...

    Great list. We like Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy too.

  100. kate says...

    Any book by Angela Johnson! I used to teach kindergarten and I used her books in my Writer’s Workshop because they were about the little things that make up a day and the illustrations are beautiful!

  101. Caitlin says...

    I would highly recommend checking out all the books that Bharat Babies has to offer. It’s so difficult to find books with Indian characters, and this company publishes stories that feature children with diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, including Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Muslim, etc. Although I’m not Indian, my husband is, and we were both so excited to find this company. I thought your sister might also be interested to learn about it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, caitlin, this company sounds wonderful!

    • Susan says...

      I second this recommendation – our friend is the illustrator for the Bharat Babies book Sarla in the Sky about India’s first female pilot. They have so many great titles!

  102. Becki says...

    For very young kids Highlights Hello! magazine is great. Lots of different races and ethnicities. Our daughter loves them and you get a new one each month. Another plus, they are super durable!

  103. zoe persina says...

    Corduroy!

  104. Dana says...

    I’m half Japanese American and growing up my parents were careful to surround me with books about Japanese and Japanese American characters, which was so important for my own understanding of my cultural identity and race in general.
    Rise and Shine, Mariko Chan (a great book about a Japanese little girl that explains some interesting cultural customs)
    Yoko (a fun book about different cultural customs, told through the eyes of a little Japanese American cat whose classmates make fun of her for eating Japanese foods)
    The Name Jar (A child moves to the US from Korea and feels she has to change her name in order to fit in)
    Anything by Alan Say (Grandfather’s Journey, The Favorite Daughter, Tea with Milk) for incredible illustrations and heartwarming stories
    Baseball Saved Us (a picture book for older children ready to learn about Japanese American incarceration and social injustice in the US)

    In particular I think all these books do an excellent job helping kids to understand that just because someone looks a certain way (Asian, for example), it doesn’t mean they are FROM Asia. These are about the particular experience of generations-removed-offspring of immigrants, and what it means culturally and socially to be a non-immigrant POC in America.

    • Vicki says...

      I **love** Grandfather’s Journey!

  105. Sasha says...

    Allen Say has some great books. My 5 year old picked out The Bicycle Man from the library and that was renewed twice because he loved it so much. The rest of his books are great too. Japanese perspective of being immigrants or traditions. Charming illustrations and captivated my children not to mention sparked conversations.

    • sarah says...

      We love that one too! Beautiful writing and illustrations with a lovely message.

  106. Erin says...

    Love this selection! Another beautiful book illustrated by Marla Frazee is All The World. It depicts people of different races, ages, and same sex couples, all in Marla’s beautiful style. Super sweet and cozy book to read snuggled up with little ones.

  107. Patty b says...

    Check out blackchildbooks.com I have a biracial adopted daughter and was really excited to find this site. Lots of great books

  108. Kristen says...

    I love you like crazy cakes.
    And there was one about a big flowered chair paid for with a jar of tips but I’m not sure of the title

    • A Chair for My Mother

    • Amy says...

      A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams is the title. I read this book to my students every year.

    • Wendy says...

      A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams?

    • Rachel says...

      A Chair for my Mother!

    • Angie says...

      A Chair for My Mother, I think. Wonderful book!

    • sarah says...

      Oh yes! A Chair for My Mother by Vera B Williams.

      Makes me cry of sweetness every time.

      Thank you so much for this list and for the list that’s growing in the comments. I love this so much.

    • Laura says...

      A Chair For My Mother. Loved that as a little girl.

    • Jessamine says...

      A chair for my mother by Vera B. Williams. Such gorgeous illustrations!

  109. Kerri says...

    As a teacher, I’m constantly searching out books which feature diverse characters (race, reversed gender roles, economic status, etc.). I love, love, love Come On, Rain by Karen Hesse. It’s also one of my students’ favorites because the language is so vivid and beautiful and the illustrations are incredible to boot.

  110. Emily R says...

    I always buy The Snowy Fay for expectant friends. It’s such a beautiful book.

    • Sarah says...

      I love this book so much for the urban setting, the silence, and the beautiful illustrations. I always remember the mother’s lovely big arms–I think even as a child I noted that you didn’t see “big” moms in books.

  111. Maria Halloran says...

    Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina

  112. Sarah says...

    Corduroy! I loved it as a kid and my kids love it too. This is a great list.

  113. Julie says...

    We have ‘Last Stop on Market Street’ and ‘Little You’ and absolutely love them both. Thanks for more suggestions!

    • Jessica says...

      We love Last Stop on Market Street too! :-)

  114. Melissa says...

    One Word from Sophia
    By Jim Averback
    It’s so cute and smart.

  115. Alice says...

    We like snowy day of course, and 10 fingers 10 toes. Thanks for this great list, COJ ladies!

  116. Anneli says...

    10 Little Fingers & Ten Little Toes by Men Fox is a favourite in our house

    • Sorry the full title is “More More More (Said the Baby)”!

  117. Jessica says...

    The New Small Person by Lauren Childs!!! About getting a new sibling. Very funny and fun illustrations too.

    • “A Chair for My Mother” was a favorite of mine when I was young and now my daughter loves it too! I tear up when I read it to her. It is such a sweet story and has lovely illustrations.

    • Joanna says...

      My son also loves the cherries book!

    • Maggie says...

      Thank you!! I had TOTALLY forgotten about these – two of my absolute favorites as a kid.

    • Marisa says...

      I LOVED Cherries & Cherry Pits growing up because it is illustrated so beautifully!