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Appearance: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about appearance?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to appearance. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about appearance.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about appearance, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Wonder to popular sellers like Smile to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Colors of Us.

We hope this list of kids books about appearance can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

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Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

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Randy, the Badly Drawn Horse
Written & illustrated by T. L. McBeth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

T. L. McBeth’s Randy, the Badly Drawn Horse is the hilarious picture book tale of a child’s terribly illustrated creation who (never having seen himself) thinks he’s beautiful.

Randy knows he’s a beautiful horse―everyone says so. From his silky coat to his perfect smile to his very name, reserved only for the most special of creatures, Randy is beyond compare.

This laugh-out-loud picture book plays with expectations and takes you inside a child’s imaginary world, through construction-paper mountains, popsicle-stick forests, and sandpaper deserts. Readers are sure to fall for this maybe-not-so-beautiful but wholly endearing character.

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The Colors of Us
Written & illustrated by Karen Katz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Seven-year-old Lena and her mother observe the variations in the color of their friends’ skin, viewed in terms of foods and things found in nature. By the author of Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale.

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The Rainbow Fish
Written & illustrated by Marcus Pfister
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The Rainbow Fish is an international best-seller and a modern classic.

Eye-catching foil stamping, glittering on every page, offers instant child appeal, but it is the universal message at the heart of this simple story about a beautiful fish who learns to make friends by sharing his most prized possessions that gives the book its lasting value.

A CHRISTOPHER AWARD WINNER

WINNER OF THE BOLOGNA BOOK FAIR CRITICI IN ERBA PRIZE

AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ABBY AWARD WINNER

AN IRA-CBC CHILDREN’S CHOICE

#1 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER and WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

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The Saggy Baggy Elephant
Written by K. Jackson and B. Jackson & illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

After a parrot makes fun of Sooki’s big ears, long nose, and wrinkled skin, the “saggy baggy” elephant isn’t too sure of himself. But once he meets some beautiful creatures who look just like him, Sooki celebrates with a joyful “one-two-three-kick.” For over 50 years, parents and children have treasured this tale, with gorgeous art by Gustaf Tenggren, the illustrator of The Poky Little Puppy.

Rot, the Cutest in the World! book
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Smile book
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The Wide-Awake Princess book
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Big Al book
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  • Rot, the Cutest in the World! - Rot, a mutant potato, enters a “Cutest in the World” contest but worries when he sees his competition.

  • Smile - Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going.

  • The Wide-Awake Princess - In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie-blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic-can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen’s true love to kiss her awake. But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn’t possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father’s guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own.

  • Big Al - Big Al, an ugly and fierce-looking fish, longs for friends, but all the other fish flee whenever he approaches them. Then one day, in a display of strength and heroism, Big Al proves that the true test of a friend is how he acts, not how he looks.

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The Ugly Duckling
Written by DK Publishing & illustrated by Giuseppe Di Lernia
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

This favorite fairy tale is perfect for parents looking for children’s classics to read with their little one.

Teased by his siblings for his different looks, the brave cygnet journeys into the world, looking for friendship and kindness.

Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s original story, this is the story of how one little duckling overcomes obstacles and challenges, and with patience and determination, finally finds the companionship for which he has been searching.

The charming illustrations by Giuseppe di Lernia in this picture book are sure to capture the imaginations of little ones, and the large format of this book is ideal for sharing with children aged 3 to 5 and reading together at bedtime.

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Strega Nona's Magic Ring
Written & illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Big Anthony has a case of spring fever and he needs a little Night Life to cheer him up! But Big Anthony is afraid that if he goes to the village dance, no one will dance with him. So when Strega Nona goes away on a visit, Big Anthony borrows her magic ring, which turns him into a handsome stranger…

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