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Diversity-themed Children’s Books for Learning while Social Distancing

Creating a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, educational and safe is particularly challenging in light of the new health-related routines early childhood educators must introduce as they re-open their programs.  Even reading to children will look different in this time of social distancing. Using books with illustrations that are visible from a distance,  will help you continue to use story time to encourage children to engage in meaningful conversations and develop early literacy skills.

This will be the first of several occasional articles we post that feature children’s books with bright and bold pictures that teachers can read out loud while ensuring that children maintain a safe distance from their peers. This week our focus is books that can help engage children in a broader conversation about diversity by celebrating differences — an important reminder as our country grapples with ongoing protests and fights for equality.

Board Books

Who? A Celebration of Babies

This simple board book, written by Robie Harris and illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg is filled with bright, bold, simple pictures that infants toddlers will love. As children make their way through the story, they will see diverse families of different races and ethnicities.

Kindness Makes Us Strong

This bright, colorfully illustrated book by Sophie Ber simply describes different ways that we can demonstrate kindness towards others, from saying hello to taking turns. The book has simple text, and is available as a board book that will be enjoyed by infants and toddlers.

An ABC of Equality 

Written by Chana Ginelle Ewing and illustrated by Paulina Morgan, this book is available as a board book or hardcover to enjoy with the youngest readers. The book explores the alphabet while introducing the complexities of social justice in a developmentally appropriate way. From A for ability to P for privilege, this book will introduce important vocabulary and terminology to young children.

Picture Books

You Matter

Written and illustrated by Christian Robinson, this vibrant book explores the importance and significance of everything and everyone on earth. The book tells an important story of connectivity and acceptance, with colorful illustrations that depict diverse people and perspectives.



This story, by Ola More, is a beautifully illustrated and colorful book about a mom and her daughter and their special Saturdays together. In the story we learn about support and the special parent and child relationship. Preschoolers will enjoy the bright, collage-style illustrations in bold colors and fun shapes.

Under my Hijab

This book is written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel. It is the story of a young girl who observes the different ways that her family members wear their hijabs and dreams of ways she will wear her own hijab to express her personality. The book uses colorful images to share the rich and beautiful culture of Muslim women and girls.

Where are you from?

This award winning picture book, written by Yamile Saied Méndez and illustrated by Jaime Kim, looks at the question, “where are you really from?” that is often asked of people of color. The story explores how a young girl’s grandfather teaches her about her heritage in this special story about self-acceptance and identity.

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