Great Books for Children

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Books that Promote Kindness, Inclusiveness, Equality, the Importance of Diversity, and the Power of Voice to Make a Change:
Finding the words to explain to young children America’s issues of race, religion, gender and equality are tough. Remember the power of story in children’s literature. Stories can convey the virtues and values we want our children to learn and live by every single day. Children’s books can convey messages of kindness, inclusiveness, equality, the importance of diversity, and the power of voice to make a change.

More than Fifty Lists of Multicultural and Social Justice Books for Children

Board Books on this Topic

 

Books for Under-Two and Two-year-olds:
This age group likes to sit on a lap and listen to a book. Board books are a perfect choice! Books for toddlers are usually short and rhyming. They are about concrete subjects (farm animals, pets) and include first words and simple language that is easy to read. All children need to ‘see’ themselves in books. A little girl with brown eyes and brown hair should have a book in which she can see herself doing regular everyday things. Children need exposure to books that depict other children and families that are similar to theirs and that are different from theirs. Books that encourage singing are also highly recommended for this age!

Books for Three-year-olds:
Three-year-olds are just beginning to learn about humor and they love funny picture books. They still enjoy books with concrete topics that reflect their passions, such as ‘dinosaurs’, but, they also begin to enjoy ‘silly’ humor like Duck on a Bike, by David Shannon, because they know that ducks don’t really ride bikes…. Or do they?

Books for Four-year-olds (PreK):
Four-year-olds enjoy the wacky sort of humor that is found in many picture books. They also love to dive into topics and learn all about their interests. They have a seemingly insatiable appetite to learn at this age and they are happy to tell you all about their newly attained knowledge!

Books for Kindergartners:
Kindergartners love the idea of reading. They want to listen to read-alouds and they want to do it for themselves. They are working on sounding out words. Their emerging reading skills are fun and exciting for them and they have great success with books that they can memorize and also with books that have lots of pictures to give them clues.

 

Click on a topic below to view recommended books by theme:

‘5 Senses’ Titles
5-senses

  • My Five Senses by Aliki
  • Blue Goose by Nancy Tafuri
  • Hello, Red Fox by Eric Carle
  • Dog Breath! Horrible trouble with Hally Tosis by Dav Pilkey
  • Walter the Farting Dog books by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray
  • Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer
  • Quiet, Loud by Leslie Patricelli
5 Senses
‘Adoption’ Titles
over-the-moon

  • Over the Moon by Karen Katz
  • Tell me Again about the Night I was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Adoption
‘Alphabet’ Titles
chicka-chicka

  • LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
  • Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
Alphabet

‘Anger’ Titles
sophie

  • When Sophie Gets Angry- Really Really Angry by Molly Bang
  • Mouse was Mad by Linda Urban
  • Angry Arthur by Hiawyn Oram
  • Mad isn’t Bad by Michaelene Mundy
  • Sometimes Moms Get Angry a Caillou book
  • I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer
Anger
‘Being Different’ Titles
being-different

  • It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
  • Elmer The patchwork Elephant by David Mckee
  • Different Just Like Me by Lori Mitchell
  • The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
  • The Dot by Peter Reynolds
  • Love Monster by Rachel Bright
  • Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
  • I’m Here by Peter Reynolds
  • So Few of Me by Peter Reynolds
Being Different
‘Challenging Behavior’ Titles
biting

  • No More Biting from Billy Goat by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams
  • Little Dinos Don’t Bite by Michael Dahl
  • Teeth are not for Biting by Elizabeth Verdick
  • Hands are Not For Hitting by Martin Agassi
Challenging Behavior
‘Community’ Titles
community

  • Rose’s Garden by Peter Reynolds
  • How to Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud
  • Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen
Community
‘Confidence Building’ Titles
confidence-building

  • Ish by Peter Reynolds
  • The Dot by Peter Reynolds
  • The Museum by Susan Verde
Confidence Building
‘Counting’ Titles
counting

  • Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
  • Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
  • Zero is the Leaves on the Trees by Betsy Franco
  • Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes (2 and under) by Mem Fox
  • Counting Birds by Alice Melvin
  • Counting in a Garden by Kim Parker
  • Zeal of Zebras by Woop Studios
Counting
‘Creativity/Imagination’ Titles
creativity

  • Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont
  • Sky Color by Peter Reynolds
  • The North Star by Peter Reynolds
Creativity/Imagination
‘Diversity’ Titles
diversity

  • Walk This World by Jenny Broom
  • Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
  • We’re Different, We’re the Same by Kates and Mathieu
  • The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
  • Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World by Anabel Kindersley
  • Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
  • Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris
  • Shoes, Shoes, Shoes by Ann Morris
  • Shades of People by Shelley Rotner
  • Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children
Diversity
‘Death’ Titles
death

  • I Had a Friend Named Peter by Janice Cohn
  • When Someone Dies by Sharon Greenlee
  • Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
  • Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
  • I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
  • The 10th Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst
  • Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tommie DePaola
  • Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children by Doris Stickney
  • When a Pet Dies by Mr. Rogers
Death
‘Divorce’ Titles
divorce

  • Mom and Dad Glue by Kes Gray
  • Dinosaur Divorce by Marc Brown
  • Was it The Chocolate Pudding? by Sandra Levins
  • Two Homes by Claire Masurel
Divorce
‘Early Readers/Read Aloud’ Titles
early-readers

  • Magic Far Away Trees (popular in England) by Enid Blyton
  • My Father’s Dragon Series by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • The Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
  • Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel
Early Readers/Read Aloud
‘Empathy/Bullying’ Titles
empathy

  • Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
  • One by Kathryn Otoshi
  • Little Quack’s New Friend by Lauren Thompson
  • Stand in my Shoes by Bob Sornson
  • Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen
Empathy/Bullying
‘Engineering for Children’ Titles
engineering

  • Not a Book by Antoinette Portis
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  • Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
  • How a House is Built by Gail Gibbons
  • Dream Something Big: The Story of Watts Towers by Dianna Hutts Aston
  • 13 Buildings Children Should Know by Annette Roeder
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
  • The Three Little Pigs – An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Skyscraper Builder! by John Malam
  • Dreaming Up – A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
  • Big Friends by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies
Engineering for Children
‘Family Structures’ Titles
family

  • The Family Book by Todd Parr
  • Mommy, Mama, and Me by Carol Thompson
  • Daddy, Papa, and Me by Carol Thompson
  • Who’s in my Family? by Robie Harris
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  • Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
  • Who’s in a Family? by Robert Skutch
  • Love is a Family by Roma Downey
  • Why Don’t I have a Daddy? by Georigre Anne Clay
  • All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
  • Papa Please get the Moon for me by Eric Carle
  • Daddy is a Doodlebug by Bruce Degan
  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  • Me and My Dad by Alison Ritchie
  • Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting
  • Daddies are for Catching fireflies by Harriet Ziefert
Family Structures
‘Feelings’ Titles
feelings

  • The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
  • The Secret Olivia Told Me by N. Joy
  • My Blue is Happy by Jessica Young
  • Duck and Goose, How are You Feeling? by Tad Hills
  • Feelings by Aliki
  • Feelings to Share from A to Z by Todd Snow
  • Have you Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
  • Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis
  • How are You Peeling? by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers
  • Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Courage by Bernard Waber
Feelings
‘Friendship’ Titles

  • Big Al by Andrew Clements
  • Friends by Helme Heine
  • Best Friends by Miriam Cohen
  • Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen
  • Friends by Mies Van Hout
  • The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
  • Making Friends by Fred Rogers
  • I’m Here by Peter Reynolds
  • How to Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud
  • Have you Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
  • One by Kathryn Otoshi
  • Little Quack’s New Friend by Lauren Thompson
Friendship
‘Giving to Others’ Titles
giving

  • Beatrice’s Goat by Paige McBrier
  • Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
  • Always Room for One More by Sorche Nic Leodhas
  • Red Knit Cap Girl to the Rescue by Naoko Stoop
  • The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth
  • Mr. Bow Tie by Karen Barbour
  • Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
  • My Heart Will Not Sit Down by Mara Rockliff
  • A Shelter in Our Car by Monica Gunning
  • Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
  • How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Giving to Others
‘Growing Up’ Titles
growing-up

  • Let’s Go, Hugo by Angela Dominguez
  • Someday by Alison Meghee and Peter H. Reynolds
  • My Very Big Little World by Peter Reynolds
Growing Up
‘Health-Related’ Titles
cancer

  • Nowhere Hair by Sue Gladen
  • Grandpa Doesn’t Know It’s Me by Donna Gutherie
  • Mommy, Was your Tummy Big? by Carolina Nadel
  • Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings by Ellen McVicker
  • Mom has Cancer by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
Health-Related
‘Love’ Titles
love-2

  • Guess How Much I love You by Sam McBartney
  • I’ll Love You Forever by Roger Knapp
  • I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
  • An Awesome Book of Love by Dallas Clayton
  • Wherever you Are, My Love Will Find you by Nancy Tillman
  • Daddies are for Catching Fire Flies by Harriet Ziefert
  • Papa Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carl
  • Daddy is a Doodlebug by Bruce Degen
  • Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Love
‘Lying’ Titles
lying

  • The Berenstein Bears and The Truth by Stan and Jan Berenstein
  • A Big Fat Enormous Lie by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
  • Sam Tells Stories by Thierry Robberecht
  • Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin
Lying
‘Moving’ Titles
moving

  • Moving by Fred Rogers
  • The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • Moving House by Anne Civardi
Moving
‘Old Favorites’ Titles
old-favorites

  • Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Papa Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • The Story of Ping by Marjorie Flack
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  • The Story for Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  • A Hole is to Dig by Maurice Sendak
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  • Sylvester and The Magic Pebble by William Steig
  • The Amazing Bone by William Steig
Old Favorites
‘Other’ Titles
other

  • Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae
  • No Two Alike by Keith Baker
  • Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
  • Big Box for Ben (2 and under) by Deborah Bruss
  • The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
  • Jamberry by Bruce Degen
  • Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
  • The Giant Hug by Valeri Gorbachev
  • Turtle’s Penguin Day by Valeri Gorbachev
  • My Garden by Kevin Henkes
  • Immi’s Gift by Karin Littlewood/li>
  • Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin
  • Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
  • To Market to Market by Anne Miranda
  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
  • Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
  • A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
  • Dinosaur Roar by Paul Stickland
  • Mrs. McNosh Hangs her Wash by Sarah Weeks
  • The Napping House by Audrey Wood
Other
‘New Sibling’ Titles
new-sibling

  • King Baby by Kate Beaton
  • The Baby Sister by Tommie DePaola
  • Berenstein Bears New Baby by Jan and Stan Berenstein
  • Little Miss, Big Sis by Peter Reynolds
New Sibling
‘School’ Titles
school

  • School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex
  • The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric
  • Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis
School
‘Science/Outdoors’ Titles
science

  • An Egg is Quiet Dianna by Hutts Aston
  • Everybody needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor
  • Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn
  • If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian
  • Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
  • Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman
Science/Outdoors
‘Separation Anxiety’ Titles
separation

  • Mommy in My Pocket by Carol Hunt Senderak
  • No Matter What by Debi Gliori
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  • Week at Grandma’s by Berenstein Bears
Separation Anxiety
‘Sharing’ Titles
giving-tree

  • I Can Share by Karen Katz (toddlers)
  • The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  • Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
  • The Giving Tree by Shell Silverstein
  • Harriet’s Halloween Candy by Calrson
  • Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
Sharing
‘Singing and Rhyming’ Titles
singing

  • Hush Little Baby by Sheri Halpern
  • Miss Mary Mack by Mary Ann Hoberman
  • Hush Little Baby (2 and under) by Sylvia Long
  • Inch by inch: The Garden Song by David Mallett
  • Mary Wore Her Red Dress and Henry Wore His Green Sneakers by Merle Peek
  • Down by the Bay by Raffi
  • Five Little Ducks by Raffi
  • Wheels on the Bus by Raffi
  • I’m a Little Teapot by Iza Trapani
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly: A Play Rhyme by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Singing and Rhyming
‘Social/Emotional’ Titles
social-emotional

  • I like Myself by Karen Beaumont
  • Do’s and Don’ts by Todd Parr
  • How to Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud
  • Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Karen Beaumont
  • How are you Peeling, Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann
  • Tough Boris by Mem Fox (everyone cries, even pirates)
  • Friends by Helme Heine
  • Hammer Soup by Dieter Schubert
  • There’s Always Room for One More by Dieter Schubert
  • Rabbit’s Gift by George Shannon (gifts keep on giving)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson (bear gets sick and his friends take care of him)
Social/Emotional
‘Thankfulness/Gratitude’ Titles
thanks

  • An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton
  • The Smallest Gift of Christmas by Peter Reynolds
  • Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen
  • The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood
Thankfulness/Gratitude
‘Winter’ Titles
winter

  • Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
  • Ten in the Sled by Kim Norman
  • Tracks in the snow Wong by Herbert Yee
  • Snow by Uro Shulevitz
Winter