When should you teach your children about diversity? Is there a certain age, or a certain lesson area where it fits best? Of course, every child is different and will reach a point where they truly understand at a different time. However, nowadays it seems like understanding diversity is becoming more important than ever before.
The news has been filled with stories about hate groups, fear, and misunderstandings between cultures and groups of people. This can be a frightening and difficult time both for children who don’t fully understand what is going on and parents who aren’t quite sure how to approach the topic.
I have always been an advocate for reading as a way to understand difficult topics. Concepts can be introduced through a book and then discussed in a way that is meaningful for your family and your child. Diversity is easily a topic that fits this criterion.
Learning the stories of the struggles of people in past generations as well as learning to understand through relatable characters can open a child’s eyes to the importance of understanding and appreciating anyone regardless of their race, religion, or other factors.
Our Favorite Books to Teach Children About Diversity
Regardless of the lesson or concept, you are trying to teach your children Dr. Seuss is almost always a good choice. This can be said about teaching diversity and acceptance with the story of the Sneetches. This book has been a go-to for diversity for many generations.
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, this book helps kids appreciate the ways they are alike and affirm their individual differences.
In You Are You – I Am Me – author Cynthia Geisen helps children reflect on how we can appreciate—and even celebrate—the diversity in the world around us while also helping them to recognize those things that we all share.
Young children need support and encouragement as they learn to value themselves and recognize their own worth—“not because of the things I do, not because of what I look like, not because of what I have . . . just because I am.” This book of sweet, simple affirmations for children helps them respect their bodies, acknowledge their own needs, and name their feelings.
In this multicultural picture book, Carrie goes from one neighbor’s house to the next looking for her brother, who is late for dinner. She discovers that although each family is from a different country, everyone makes a rice dish at dinnertime.
At times, all children need a little help getting along with others and respecting differences—at school, in the neighborhood, at home, and on the playground. Teaching tolerance and encouraging acts of kindness through clear words and charming illustrations, We Can Get Along supports children’s development with simple yet essential skills for conflict resolution and peacemaking.
The book includes activities and discussion questions that teachers, parents, and other adults can use to further explore the topic with young children.
a modern classic for this generation with an all-new, beautifully illustrated edition. Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another.”
In This Is Me a teacher tells her class about her great-grandmother’s dislocating journey from home to a new country with nothing but a small suitcase to bring along. And she asks: What would you pack? What are the things you love best?
“This is me!” With its lively, rhyming language and endearing illustrations, it’s a book to read again and again, imagining the lives of the different characters, finding new details in the art, thinking about what it would be like to move someplace completely different.
Yellow hates Red, so does Green, and no one likes Orange! Can these crayons quit arguing and learn to cooperate? Shane DeRolf’s deceptively simple poem celebrates the creation of harmony through diversity.
In combination with Michael Letzig’s vibrant illustrations, young readers will understand that when we all work together, the results are much more colorful and interesting.
A unique and inspirational picture book text, that is part historical, part poetry, and entirely inspirational. It symbolically takes the reader through the cumulative story of the US Civil Rights Movement, showing how select pioneers’ achievements led up to this landmark moment when we have elected our first black President.
How Do You Teach Your Children About Diversity?
Are you a homeschool parent, educator, or just parent in general that has taught children about diversity? I would love to hear about the books and resources you chose to tackle this important topic. What age do you think is best to address understanding others? Do we start with younger children on a more basic level, or wait until they are old enough to understand the gravity of the issue?
I hope that you found books on this list that will be helpful, or inspiration to find other books. If you did find this list helpful please share it with other parents on Facebook or Twitter ( or pin it for later!) Be sure to check out our other articles on favorite books on topics for kids and parenting such as dealing with school anxiety.
Diversity is such an important topic and one that can be fun to re-learn with your children. I hope you enjoy your journey of exploring this content!
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