Help Children Appreciate Diversity and Deal with Bias
Research tells us that between the ages of two and five years old, children become aware of race, gender, culture, ethnicity, disabilities, family differences, and economic class. Many adults feel uncomfortable talking about difference. Sharing great picture books together, and early on, helps us to start to talk about bias.
The All In collection at Kalamazoo Public Library provides parents and caregivers with tools to help children to resist bias. Each of the bags contains excellent picture books and, in some of the bags, a toy or activity based around a theme. There is also useful information included about how to talk to young children about difference.
Check out All In bags at the Central Library Children’s Room and Oshtemo Branch Library.
Being Friends by Karen Beaumont
Two very different girls find that the joy of being friends enables them to share their various likes and dislikes.
My Friend Jamal by Anna McQuinn
Joseph’s best friend Jamal is Somali and his family has different customs and traditions from Joseph, but through their shared interests, they remain close friends.
Lottie Paris and the Best Place by Angela Johnson
Relates a day in the life of a little girl who lives with her Papa Pete in a house across from a park.
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best
Zulay is a blind girl who longs to be able to run in the race on Field Day at her school.
More-igami by Dori Kleber
Joey, who loves anything that can fold, learns origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, but it takes lots of time and practice before he can perfect the craft.
Shades of People by Shelley Rotner
Explores the many different shades of human skin, and points out that skin is just a covering that does not reveal what someone is like inside.
We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Jane Kates
Illustrations and simple rhyming text show that while the body parts of various human and Muppet characters may look different, they have similar uses.
Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin
Bouquets of babies sweet to hold: cocoa-brown, cinnamon, and honey gold. Ginger-coloured babies, peaches and cream, too—splendid skin for me, splendid skin for you! A delightfully rhythmical read-aloud text is paired with bright, bustling art from the award-winning Lauren Tobia, illustrator of Anna Hibiscus, in this joyful exploration of the new skin of babyhood. A wonderful gift book for new mums and toddlers; all children can see themselves, and open their eyes to the world around them, in this sweet, scrumptious celebration of skin in all its many, many, wonderful forms.
All the Colors We Are / Todos los colores de nuestra piel by Katie Kissinger
Explains, in simple terms, the reasons for skin color, how it is determined by heredity, and how various environmental factors affect it.
Feast for Ten by Cathryn Falwell
Numbers from one to ten are used to tell how members of a family shop and work together to prepare a meal.
One Family by George Shannon
In this story that introduces numbered groups from one to ten, we realize that families can be many things.
Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara
Counting up from one stuffed piñata to ten hefty hens—and always counting on each other—children are encouraged to recognize the value of their community, the joys inherent in healthy eco-friendly activities, and the agency they possess to make change. A broad and inspiring vision of diversity is told through stories in words and pictures. And of course, there is a duck to find on every page!
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
Numbers from ten to one are part of this lullaby, which observes the room of a little girl going to bed.
Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood
In rhyming text, when the whole family and guests show up for the big dinner at Grandma’s house, it becomes clear that the house is much too small to hold them all.
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
Describes babies and the things they do from the time they are born until their first birthday.
More, More, More, Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
Three babies are caught up in the air and given loving attention by a father, grandmother, and mother.
Little You by Richard Van Camp
Celebrating the joy babies bring into the world.
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
A toddler plays peek-a-boo throughout the day.
(four books + six food toys)
Picture books that portray a diverse variety of foods and how people enjoy them.
Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The story of former basketball star and current urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, whose vision of gardening from abandoned urban sites led to a grassroots feeding craze.
Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
A little girl thinks her mother’s garden is the ugliest in the neighborhood until she discovers that flowers might look and smell pretty but Chinese vegetable soup smells best of all.
Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie by Robbin Gourley
From the whippoorwill’s call on the first day of spring through the first snowfall, Edna and members of her family gather fruits, berries, and vegetables from the fields, garden, and orchard on their Virginia farm and turn them into wonderful meals. Includes facts about the life of Edna Lewis, a descendant of slaves who grew up to be a famous chef, and five recipes.
Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
Having to take her younger sister along the first time she is invited to a birthday party spoils Rubina’s fun, and later when that sister is asked to a party and baby sister wants to come, Rubina must decide whether to help.
Please, Louise by Toni Morrison
On a gray, rainy day, everything seems particularly frightening and bad to Louise until she enters a library and finds books that help her to know and imagine the beauty and wonder that have been there all along.
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
Every Tuesday Lola and her mother visit their local library to return and check out books, attend story readings, and share a special treat.
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue
One summer day in 1959, nine-year-old Ron McNair, who dreams of becoming a pilot, walks into the Lake City, South Carolina public library and insists on checking out some books, despite the rule that only white people can have library cards. Includes facts about McNair, who grew up to be an astronaut.
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux
Relates the story of the National Memorial African Bookstore, founded in Harlem by Louis Michaux in 1939, as seen from the perspective of Louis Michaux Jr., who met famous men like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X while helping there.
Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio
When Grace discovers that there has never been a female U.S. president, she decides to run for school president.
Firebird by Misty Copeland
American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland encourages a young ballet student, with brown skin like her own, by telling her that she, too, had to learn basic steps and how to be graceful when she was starting out, and that some day, with practice and dedication, the little girl will become a firebird, too.
Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman
Grace wants to participate in her community festival’s princess float, but first she must decide what sort of a princess she wants to be—from an African princess in kente cloth robes to a floaty pink fairy tale princess.
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey
A young girl growing up in Harlem in the 1950s, whose mother cleans and stitches costumes for a ballet company, dreams of becoming a prima ballerina one day, and is thrilled to see a performance of Janet Collins, the first “colored” prima ballerina.
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist is a very curious girl who shows perseverance by asking questions and performing experiments to find things out and understand the world.
Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, her granddaughter cannot wait to see what treasures she has hidden in her purse.
The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
Shows how much fun it can be to visit the grandparents.
Wild Berries / Pikaci-Minisa by Julie Flett
Clarence and his grandmother pick wild blueberries and meet ant, spider, and fox in a beautiful woodland landscape.
Max and the Tag-along Moon by Floyd Cooper
When Max leaves his grandfather’s house, the moon follows him all the way home, just as Grandpa promised it would.
Abuela by Arthur Dorros
While riding on a bus with her grandmother, a little girl imagines that they are carried up into the sky and fly over the sights of New York City.
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
Mufaro’s two beautiful daughters, one bad-tempered, one kind and sweet, go before the king, who is choosing a wife.
Yeh-Shen: a Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie
This version of the Cinderella story, in which a young girl overcomes the wickedness of her stepsister and stepmother to become the bride of a prince, is based on ancient Chinese manuscripts written 1000 years before the earliest European version.
Sootface: an Ojibwe Cinderella Story by Robert D. San Souci
Although she is mocked and mistreated by her two older sisters, an Indian maiden wins a mighty invisible warrior for her husband with her kind and honest heart.
Who Will Bell the Cat? by Patricia McKissack
After barn mice make a collar with a bell to warn them when Marmalade the cat is approaching, Smart Mouse must devise a way to safely put the collar on her in this retelling of an Aesop fable.
Best Part of Me by Wendy Ewald
An award-winning photographer asked several children “What is the best part of you?”, and presents their answers in this sometimes funny, sometimes moving, deeply personal book that includes striking black-and-white photographs taken by the author. Ideal for parents and teacher to use to discuss body image, self-esteem, and diversity with children.
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald No Combina by Monica Brown
Marisol McDonald, a biracial, nonconformist, soccer-playing pirate-princess with brown skin and red hair, celebrates her uniqueness.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Princess Hair by Sharee Miller
Little girls pretending to be princesses celebrate the different shapes, textures, and styles of their black hair.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
Saltypie: a Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle
Choctaw author Tim Tingle tells the story of his family’s move from Oklahoma Choctaw country to Pasadena, Texas. Spanning fifty years, the book describes the problems encountered by his Choctaw grandmother from her orphan days at an Indian boarding school to hardships she met at her new home on the Texas Gulf Coast. It is the story of one family’s efforts to honor the past while struggling to gain a foothold in modern America.
Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Jenna, a member of the Muscogee, or Creek, Nation, borrows jingles from the dresses of several friends and relatives so that she can perform the jingle dance at the powwow. Includes a note about the jingle dance tradition and its regalia.
All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez
Finding circles everywhere, a grandfather and his granddaughter meditate on the cycles of life and nature.
Fall in Line, Holden by Daniel W. Vandever
At a very strict school in Indigenous Nation, everyone but Holden stays in line until they reach the door at the end of the school day.
Mission to Space by John Herrington
Go on a Mission to Space with Chickasaw astronaut John Herrington, as he shares his flight on the space shuttle Endeavour and his thirteen-day mission to the International Space Station. Learn what it takes to train for space flight, see the tasks he completed in space, and join him on his spacewalk 220 miles above the earth.
A Different Pond by Bao Phi
As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam.
Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons
Ellen has always known that the broom hanging on her family’s cabin wall is a special symbol of her parents’ wedding during slave days, so she proudly carries it to the courthouse when the marriage becomes legal.
Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
Little Mazie wants the freedom to stay up late, but her father explains what freedom really means in the story of Juneteenth, and how her ancestors celebrated their true freedom.
These Hands by Margaret H. Mason
An African American man tells his grandson about a time when, despite all the wonderful things his hands could do, they could not touch bread at the Wonder Bread factory. Based on stories of bakery union workers.
This Is the Rope: a Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson
A rope passed down through the generations frames an African American family’s story as they journey north during the time of the Great Migration.
(four books + one pair of binoculars)
Picture books that portray different families traveling under a variety of circumstances from trips to visit family or family migrations to start a new life in a new place.
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin A. Ramsey
When Ruth and her parents take a motor trip from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandma, they rely on a pamphlet called “The Negro Motorist Green Book” to find places that will serve them. Includes facts about “The Green Book.”
In the Land of Milk and Honey by Joyce Carol Thomas
A young girl journeys by train from Oklahoma to California in 1948 to begin a new life with her family, and finds there people of all ages and races, new tastes and sounds, and a joyous welcome.
Bigmama’s by Donald Crews
Visiting Bigmama’s house in the country, young Donald Crews finds his relatives full of news and the old place and its surroundings just the same as the year before.
Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago
A young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the U.S. border.
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
On a trip to the park with her mother, a young girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her and begins to move to the beat, finally beginning an impromptu dance in which other children join her.
Squeak! Rumble! Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis
Takes readers (and listeners) on a rollicking, clanging, clapping tour through the many sounds that fill a neighborhood.
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown
A biography of African American musician Melba Doretta Liston, a virtuoso musician who played the trombone and composed and arranged music for many of the great jazz musicians of the twentieth century.
This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt
Presents an introduction to jazz music and nine well-known jazz musicians, set to the rhythm of the traditional song, “This Old Man.”
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrik D. Barnes
Celebrates the magnificent feeling that comes from walking out of a barber shop with newly-cut hair.
Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day by Tameka Brown
A young girl makes her way through an urban neighborhood filled with children playing, men debating, women cooking, and jazz music playing as her community gathers to celebrate “Neighbors’ Day.”
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author’s quilt painting of the same name.