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32 Best Books About Diversity for Preschoolers

Stories can be a great way to teach young children about diversity and tolerance.

Books do not only teach young children about others, but they can also provide a form of representation. It is comforting for a child to see their own religion, race or identity represented in stories.

Diversity isn’t just about cultural differences though, and can include gender roles, religion, sexual orientation, special needs and lots more. Here are some of the best books about diversity for preschoolers, grouped into seven themes.

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1. Celebrating Differences

The following books are about celebrating our differences and embracing diversity in general. They include multiple aspects of diversity. 

Our Diversity Makes Us Stronger by Elizabeth Cole

In this story, Nick is worried that his peers will find it odd that he wears glasses. By chatting to them, he learns how diverse they all are and how there is beauty in being unique.

Different Like Me by Xochitl Dixon

This book shows children how being different can make you feel like a fish out of water, but that we should appreciate and accept our differences and the things that make us special.

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Different Like Me (Our Daily Bread for Kids Presents)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dixon, Xochitl (Author)

It’s OK to be Different by Sharon Purtill

This is another great book for teaching children to show kindness and to respect that we all have different abilities. 

2. Sexual Orientation and Family Structures

These books delve into different family structures and having parents with diverse sexual orientations.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

This is a story about two male penguins at Central Park Zoo named Roy and Silo who also want to start a family and raise a baby penguin of their own.

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And Tango Makes Three: Book and CD
  • Richardson, Justin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Family Book by Todd Parr

The Family Book is all about different types of families such as larger or smaller families, those with same-sex parents, etc. 

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The Family Book
  • Great product!
  • Parr, Todd (Author)

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

Stella’s class is celebrating Mother’s Day, but she has two daddies. In this cute story, she learns that families might look different but they are still filled with love.

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Stella Brings the Family
  • Hardcover Book
  • Schiffer, Miriam B. (Author)

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

Marmee and Meema are two moms who raise their multicultural children in a home with love and laughter, despite some other families not accepting them.

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In Our Mothers' House
  • Hardcover Book
  • Polacco, Patricia (Author)

3. Traditional Gender Roles and Gender Stereotypes

These books challenge traditonal gender norms and stereotypes.

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman

This book challenges the stereotypical pink/blue gender binary and encourages children to express themselves in any way and do the things that make them happy, regardless of their gender.

Pink Is for Boys
  • Pearlman, Robb (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie

This story is a personal favourite and challenges the traditional trope of the princess wanting to live happily ever after with her prince. Princess Sue wants mischief, adventure and to befriend the dragon.

The Worst Princess
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/02/2023 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Ltd (Publisher)

William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow

This classic book addresses gender stereotypes by telling the story of William, a boy who really wants a doll to care for, challenging societal expectations.

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William's Doll
  • Zolotow, Charlotte (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple

Using princesses as a metaphor, this book challenges the stereotypes and suggests that girls can be sporty, messy, wear tiaras, or be whoever they want to be.  

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Not All Princesses Dress in Pink
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

Inspired by the author’s son, this book tells the tale of a boy who enjoys dressing up and embracing activities traditionally associated with girls.

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My Princess Boy
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Julian is mesmerized by some beautifully-dressed women on the subway and he wants to dress up in his own fabulous mermaid costume. This story is about self-acceptance and expression.

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Julián Is a Mermaid
  • Hardcover Book
  • Love, Jessica (Author)

The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya

This is a story about a young boy who is curious about his mother’s bindi and explores the concepts of gender and self-expression. It is also a great introduction to Hindu culture.

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The Boy & the Bindi
  • Hardcover Book
  • Shraya, Vivek (Author)

4. Gender Expressions and Gender Identities

These stories are about embracing your true identity and expressing yourself, and how not everyone identifies with the labels they are given by society. They explain concepts like gender fluidity, pronouns and being transgender.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Challenging the binary stereotype that girls love pink and boys love blue – among other things – this book about a crayon that is labelled as red but discovers it is actually blue, teaches children about embracing their true identity.

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Red: A Crayon's Story
  • Hardcover Book
  • Hall, Michael (Author)

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

Based on real-life experience, Jazz Jennings is a transgender child who has felt that she’s had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body from the age of two.

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I Am Jazz
  • Hardcover Book
  • Herthel, Jessica (Author)

10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert

This picture book explores the story of Bailey, a transgender girl who dreams of beautiful dresses. It’s a thoughtful exploration of gender identity and expression.

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10,000 Dresses
  • New
  • Mint Condition

They, She, He, Me: Free to Be! by Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew SG

This book teaches children about pronouns and gender fluidity in a playful way and with colourful illustrations.

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They She He Me: Free to Be!
  • Gonzalez, Maya Christina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship by Jessica Walton

This is a touching story about a teddy bear named Thomas who reveals that she feels more like a girl and would prefer to be called Tilly.

5. Culture, Language and Race

All these books cover topics about multiculturalism and appreciating and respecting different people, languages, races and ethnicities.

Let’s Celebrate!: Special Days Around the World by Kate DePalma

Learn about 13 holidays from around the world through a child’s eye view, including Eid al-Fitr in Egypt, Día de Muertos in Mexico and more! 

Barefoot Let's Celebrate! Special Days Around the World Picture Book, Paperback...
  • Sold as 1 Each.
  • Genre/Book Topic: Social Studies. Includes familiar and lesser-know cultural celebrations.

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester

Through striking illustrations and simple explanations, this book introduces the concept of race as well as how we all have a story to tell about ourselves.

Let's Talk About Race
  • Lester, Julius (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

All People Are Beautiful by Vincent Kelly

All People Are Beautiful is a great introduction to celebrating differences in race, culture, language and other defining characteristics.

We All Belong by Nathalie Goss

This award-winning multicultural book has beautiful illustrations and a wonderful message of respecting others, regardless of their culture or skin colour.

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We All Belong: A Children's Book About Diversity, Race and Empathy
  • Goss, Nathalie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

My Language, Your Language by Lisa Bullard

When a new girl joins Romelie’s class, she learns some Spanish from her and she finds herself curious to discover other languages that people around her speak and know, including sign language.

6. Religion

Here are some great books for introducing children to different religions and the similarities that many of them share.

My Religion, Your Religion by Lisa Bullard

David is a Christian boy whose friend invites him to attend a service at a synagogue. He learns about some of the similarities and differences between their religions.

In God’s Name by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

This is a book about diversity, but also unity. It introduces the idea that people around the world call the Divine by different names and that all religions and traditions deserve respect.

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In God's Name
  • Sasso, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The archbishop talks about his dream that all children can embrace their differences and see themselves as brothers and sisters. His words introduce us to the South African principle of ubuntu (being self through others).

God's Dream
  • Tutu, Desmond (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

7. Disability or Special Needs

Teach children to have respect, empathy and appreciation for people with different physical abilities and special needs with these stories.

Ricky, the Rock That Couldn’t Roll by Mr. Jay

This is a cute story about a rock who is differently abled and can’t roll down the hill with his friends because he is flat on one side. With their support, he finds a way to join them.

I Am Different, The Same As You by Deborah K Okon

This story teaches children about acceptance and compassion. It includes themes like friendship, disability and special needs. 

Meeting Mimi: A Story About Different Abilities by Francie Dolan

Mimi is a new girl at school and has a physical disability but that’s not all there is to her, as her classmates will discover.

Katie Can: A Story About Special Needs by Erin Palmer

This is a story about Katie, a girl with Down Syndrome. We find out what makes her so unique.

Included by Jayneen Sanders

Included is a story about six children that teaches the concepts of inclusion, diversity, disability, equality and empathy. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of diversity books. Here are some simple diversity activities for preschoolers and more tips for teaching tolerance.

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