Acceptance is something that we all strive for. It is a sense of belonging and appreciation. Being accepted is also accepting others for who they are. We are all different, and it is important to start instilling that ideal at a young age. Below are a few books that can help you open that conversation with your children. We recommend these titles since they speak directly to acceptance, but as always with children’s materials, parents should preview for family alignment and age appropriateness.
Recommended Age: 3-8 years
“It’s fun to find ways I’m like you and you’re like me. It’s fun to find ways we’re different.” In this colorful, inviting book, kids from preschool to lower elementary learn about diversity in terms they can understand: hair that’s straight or curly, families with many people or few, bodies that are big or small. With its wide-ranging examples and fun, highly detailed art, I’m Like You, You’re Like Me helps kids appreciate the ways they are alike and affirm their individual differences. A two-page adult section in the back provides tips and activities for parents and caregivers to reinforce the themes and lessons of the book.
“Part of the Rainbow” By: Asaf Rozanes
Recommended Age: 3-5 years
Kids start understanding prejudice by the time they’re 3 years old. They can distinguish between physical traits–hair color, height, weight, etc.–even earlier. In this witty and colorful tale, Mia arrives at the first day of school and is shocked to her green whiskers by what she experiences there and how it would change her life forever!
“The Big Umbrella” By: Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates
Recommended Age: 4-8 Years
By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn’t matter if you are tall. Or plaid. Or hairy. It doesn’t matter how many legs you have. Don’t worry that there won’t be enough room under the umbrella. Because there will always be room. Lush illustrations and simple, lyrical text subtly address themes of inclusion and tolerance in this sweet story that accomplished illustrator Amy June Bates cowrote with her daughter, Juniper, while walking to school together in the rain.
“Since We’re Friend an Autism Picture Book” By: Celest Shally
Recommended Age: 4-8 years
Matt’s autism doesn’t stop him from having fun! Even when Matt struggles to navigate social situations, his friend is there to help him out. The two boys enjoy playing sports, watching movies, reading books, and talking about animals. Working together, a best friend’s compassion and understanding turn Matt’s frustration into excitement. Whether on the basketball court, the playground swings, or at the neighborhood pool, the two friends enjoy each other’s company. David Harrington’s colorful illustrations complement Celeste Shally’s touching story of friendship to create a book that is the perfect guide for children and parents to better understand those with autism spectrum disorders.
“We’re All Wonders” By R.J. Palacio
Recommended Age: 4-8 years
Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.
“Whoever you Are” By: Mem Fox
Recommended Age: 2-7 years
Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. They may not speak the same language. Their lives may be quite different. But inside, they are all alike. Stirring words and bold paintings weave their way around our earth, across cultures and generations. At a time when, unfortunately, the lessons of tolerance still need to be learned, Whoever You Are urges us to accept our differences, to recognize our similarities, and-most importantly-to rejoice in both.
“Global Babies” By: The Global Fund for Children
Recommended Age: 1-4 years
Meet babies from around the world in The Global Fund for Children’s best-selling celebration of diversity and heritage. Full color photographs present children in cultural context depicting babies from Guatemala to Peru to South Africa. Diverse settings highlight specific differences in clothing, daily life, and traditions, as well as demonstrate that babies around the world are nurtured by the love, caring, and joy that surround them.The first in the adorable Global Babies series, this board book is the perfect introduction to seventeen cultures around the globe for the earliest of readers.