Being Different: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about being different?

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

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, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about being different, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Jellybeans and the Big Dance to popular sellers like A Bad Case of Stripes to some of our favorite hidden gems like Chrysanthemum.

We hope this list of kids books about being different 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.

Top 10 Books About Being Different

Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin book
#1
Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin
Written by Diane Lang and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

There are so many wild and wonderful animals in our world. Some have fur, some have feathers, some have fins, but all are connected. This fact-filled rhyming exploration of the diversity of the animal kingdom celebrates mammals, birds, insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and more! It’s a perfect match for budding naturalists and animal enthusiasts everywhere.

Wonder book
#2
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.

A Bad Case of Stripes book
#3
A Bad Case of Stripes
Written and illustrated by David Shannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In order to ensure her popularity, Camilla Cream always does what is expected, until the day arrives when she no longer recognizes herself.

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree book
#4
The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Tina isn’t like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren’t convinced—and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

We're All Wonders book
#5
We're All Wonders
Written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio.

Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy.

Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way.

We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection

“A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

Famously Phoebe book
#6
Famously Phoebe
Written by Lori Alexander and illustrated by Aurelie Blard-Quintard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Phoebe was the shining star of her family. Then someone came along to take her place.
For as long as Phoebe can remember, she’s known the clickety click click of a photographer snapping her picture. Thanks to the camera-carrying “paparazzi” (aka Mom and Dad), she’s always been the star of the show . . . until the day a tiny newcomer arrives on set. Will Phoebe learn to share the spotlight and assume the role she was born to play: big sister? This sweet tale of sibling rivalry resolved is perfect for every older brother and sister.

Maurice the Unbeastly book
#7
Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon and illustrated by Karl James Mountford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

No ordinary beast, Maurice is neat, polite, photogenic, and his roar is delightful to the ear, which leads his parents to enroll him at the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, where he realizes he has a few things he can teach his fellow beasts.

Tacky the Penguin book
#8
Tacky the Penguin
Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tacky’s perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day.

Spoon book
#9
Spoon
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Thinking that Fork, Knife, and Chopstick have it better than he, Spoon begins to feel down about his status in the utensil world, but when others take the time to show him just how important he is, Spoon quickly comes to realize that being a spoon is the best thing to be after all!

Leaping Lemmings! book
#10
Leaping Lemmings!
Written by John Briggs and illustrated by Nicola Slater
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Lemmings look alike, sound alike, and act alike. So if one jumps off a cliff, the others follow . . . except Larry. Larry s “very” independent-minded. But can he teach his fellow lemmings to think for themselves? John Briggs has created a wonderfully funny, quirky tale about doing your own thing, while Nicola Slater s illustrations capture all the humor and pathos in Larry s situation.”

Books About Being Different and Animals

Tacky the Penguin book
#1
Tacky the Penguin
Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tacky’s perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day.

Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin book
#2
Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin
Written by Diane Lang and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

There are so many wild and wonderful animals in our world. Some have fur, some have feathers, some have fins, but all are connected. This fact-filled rhyming exploration of the diversity of the animal kingdom celebrates mammals, birds, insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and more! It’s a perfect match for budding naturalists and animal enthusiasts everywhere.

Not Quite Black and White Board Book book
#3
Not Quite Black and White Board Book
Written by Jonathan Ying and illustrated by Victoria Ying
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Silly animals star in this lively board book that introduces colors in a unique and catchy way. Have you ever seen a zebra wearing pink polka dots? Or a penguin with bright yellow boots? Brother and sister team Jonathan and Victoria Ying present these surprisingly colorful animals and more in this clever celebration of colors.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Elwood Bigfoot - Elwood Bigfoot is big, LOUD . . . and lonely. It’s hard for him to make friends especially with the tiny birdies whose chirps and cheerful songs help him feel less alone. But whenever a hopeful Elwood hollers at a birdie to STAY, the scared creature flies away. Will Elwood “ever” find a way to befriend the birdies?”

  2. Friends - A girl from a faraway place begins her first day at school. She doesn’t speak the language and she looks different. She just doesn’t fit in. But one day, she makes an unexpected friend—a squirrel! Then a rabbit joins them. Soon the girl’s fuzzy woodland friends are followed by human ones and school becomes more fun! When a surprising new student joins the class, the girl and her new friends know just how to make him feel at home.

  3. Maybe the Moon - Maybe the Moon tells the story of Eric, a little boy who loves his life in his forest home with his animal friends for company. When he moves to the city, he sets about searching for happiness in a strange new environment. Eric’s journey shows him that whatever the differences between people and places, we are all united and are never alone when we share the same moon. Frances Ives’ beautiful illustrations bring to life this charming story that features a rhyming refrain to enchant both children and parents alike.

  4. Look at Me!: How to Attract Attention in the Animal World - Have you ever noticed that certain creatures have fur, feathers, and features designed to catch your eye? Chock-full of the fascinating facts and stunning art readers have come to expect from Jenkins and Page titles, Look at Me! is a pleasure to look at and an engrossing read. Showcasing the most attention-grabbing animals on the planet gathered together, Look at Me! helps readers understand the range of ways animals try to get one another’s attention and why. From luring in prey to warning off predators, protecting themselves to attracting a mate, each animal has a remarkable display. These are animals you won’t want to miss.

Want to see more children's books about animals?

Books About Being Different and Self-discovery

A Bad Case of Stripes book
#1
A Bad Case of Stripes
Written and illustrated by David Shannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In order to ensure her popularity, Camilla Cream always does what is expected, until the day arrives when she no longer recognizes herself.

Leaping Lemmings! book
#2
Leaping Lemmings!
Written by John Briggs and illustrated by Nicola Slater
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Lemmings look alike, sound alike, and act alike. So if one jumps off a cliff, the others follow . . . except Larry. Larry s “very” independent-minded. But can he teach his fellow lemmings to think for themselves? John Briggs has created a wonderfully funny, quirky tale about doing your own thing, while Nicola Slater s illustrations capture all the humor and pathos in Larry s situation.”

There's Only One You book
#3
There's Only One You
Written by Deborah Hembrook and Kathryn Heling and illustrated by Rosie Butcher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“In all the world over, this much is true: You’re somebody special. There’s only one YOU.” Celebrate your individuality with this picture book that honors all the wonderful things that make you . . . you. This feel-good book reassures kids that, whoever and whatever they are, it’s awesome being YOU! Expertly written to include all kinds of children and families, it embraces the beauty in a range of physical types, personalities, and abilities. Kids will love discovering and recognizing themselves in these pages—and they’ll feel proud to see their special qualities acknowledged. Adorable illustrations by Rosie Butcher show a diverse community that many will find similar to their own.

Honorable Mentions
  1. That's What Wings Are For - There are three things that all respectable dragons need: strong wings for flying, strong lungs for breathing fire, and strong, shiny scales. But Bluey the Dragon has none of these. Even so, Bluey has other abilities, some of them truly wonderful—if only he can work out what they are! That’s What Wings Are For is a touching fable about discovering that thing that you do the best, and finding a way to do it.

  2. It Feels Good to Be Yourself - Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between. This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. With child-friendly language and vibrant art, It Feels Good to Be Yourself provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity.

  3. Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen - The first book in a new chapter book series featuring a spunky Japanese-American heroine! Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker! She’s also tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. For once, Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophie—something special, something different. The New Year approaches, and as the Toguchi family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate, Jasmine is jealous that her sister gets to help roll mochi balls by hand with the women. Her mom says that Jasmine is still too young to join in, so she hatches a plan to help the men pound the mochi rice instead. Surely her sister has never done THAT before. But pounding mochi is traditionally reserved for boys. And the mochi hammer is heavier than it looks. Can Jasmine build her case and her mochi-making muscles in time for New Year’s Day?

  4. Black, White, Just Right - A girl explains how her parents are different in color, tastes in art and food, and pet preferences, and how she herself is different too but just right.

Want to see 6 more children's books about being different and self-discovery?

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Books About Being Different and Starting School

Wonder book
#1
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.

Chrysanthemum book
#2
Chrysanthemum
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. “I’m named after my grandmother,” said Victoria. “You’re named after a flower.” Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn’t improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed….

A Tiger Tail book
#3
A Tiger Tail
Written and illustrated by Mike Boldt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Anya awakens to discover she has grown a tiger tail, and it just happens to be her very first day of school.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Twig - Heidi is a stick insect, tall and long like the twig of a tree. It’s her first day at a busy bug school, where she hopes to learn and make new friends. But finding friends isn’t easy when no one can find you!

  2. Ally-saurus & the First Day of School - You can call her Ally-SAURUS! When Ally roars off to her first day at school, she hopes she’ll meet lots of other dinosaur-mad kids in class. Instead, she’s the only one chomping her food with fierce dino teeth and drawing dinosaurs on her nameplate. Even worse, a group of would-be “princesses” snubs her! Will Ally ever make new friends? With its humorous art, appealing heroine, and surprise ending, this fun picture book celebrates children’s boundless imagination.

  3. Eppie the Elephant (Who Was Allergic to Peanuts) - Go on a school-time adventure with Eppie, the elephant who is allergic to peanuts! It’s the first day of school for Eppie the elephant, and she’s a bit nervous about one thing: that her new classmates won’t understand her allergy to nuts. Like many kids today, this fun-loving elephant can’t partake in peanuts, pecans, or pistachios and has to be careful about what she eats. Eppie makes fast friends with Allie the alligator and Pearl the squirrel, but when Eppie’s allergy is explained at lunch, will her friends still stand by her side? Readers of all ages will relate to this heartwarming, lyrical story of understanding and acceptance.

  4. Hannah Sparkles: Hooray for the First Day of School! - Cheer along with Hannah Sparkles on her first day of school! Hannah Sparkles and her best friend, Sunny Everbright, are ready for first grade. Their day starts as perfect as pom-poms…until Hannah and Sunny are seated far apart in the classroom. Even worse, Hannah is having trouble making new friends. It’s going to take some extra thinking for Hannah to learn that sometimes being a good listener is the best way to be a good friend. Perfect for fans of Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious, Hannah Sparkles’s second story is sure to bring sparkly smiles to new readers who are just starting school too.

Want to see more children's books about starting school?

Books About Being Different and Friendship

Famously Phoebe book
#1
Famously Phoebe
Written by Lori Alexander and illustrated by Aurelie Blard-Quintard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Phoebe was the shining star of her family. Then someone came along to take her place.
For as long as Phoebe can remember, she’s known the clickety click click of a photographer snapping her picture. Thanks to the camera-carrying “paparazzi” (aka Mom and Dad), she’s always been the star of the show . . . until the day a tiny newcomer arrives on set. Will Phoebe learn to share the spotlight and assume the role she was born to play: big sister? This sweet tale of sibling rivalry resolved is perfect for every older brother and sister.

Sadie and the Silver Shoes book
#2
Sadie and the Silver Shoes
Written by Jane Godwin and illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When shoes are the only thing you get to pick out yourself, what happens when you lose one of them? A tale of self-expression and friendship, told with humor and charm. With three older brothers to pass along hand-me-downs, Sadie doesn’t have much say in choosing her clothes. Her outfits always look interesting, though (even if some kids at school might not think so). But Sadie is allowed to pick her shoes, so one day she buys the most beautiful shoes ever — shoes that sparkle in the sun, shoes she wears everywhere. That is, until Sadie and her brothers hop down a creek on an adventure, and one shoe falls off and is swept away. Whatever will Sadie do with one silver shoe? From a winning picture-book team comes a story of creativity, resilience, and like-minded souls that is sure to appeal to independent thinkers everywhere.

Mira and the Big Story book
#3
Mira and the Big Story
Written by Laura Alary and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mira is a girl with big questions. She knows two different stories about the way the world came to be. Which story is right? Can they both be right? Is there room for more than one way to think about the world and our place in it? Follow her on an inspiring journey as she discovers a story big enough to include everyone. Along the way, Mira learns to respect and revere the traditions and beliefs of others. Teach children kindness and acceptance with this beautifully illustrated and compelling tale. It is sure to keep young ones enthralled.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Penny and Penelope - Two girls on a play date learn there’s more to each other than meets the eye with a little help from their dolls in this exciting picture book adventure. Penny and Penelope are very different dolls. Penelope is a sweet princess, while Penny is a fierce secret agent. Penelope wants to ride her pony through the countryside, while Penny wants to wrestle alligators. How can they possibly get along playing in an imaginary kingdom? Luckily, Penny and Penelope are more than their packaging. After all, you can’t judge a doll by its outfit.

  2. Just a Duck? - Now that Cat has learned to play games that Duck enjoys, it’s Duck’s turn to try things that Cat likes. However, climbing trees and swatting at leaves prove to be a bit tricky for flat-footed Duck. What’s an unlikely pair of friends to do?

  3. Tug of War - Financial Times: ‘gorgeously vibrant’ Tortoise is on the hunt for a friend, but only encounters huge Elephant and Hippo, who are mean about his small size and wrinkly skin. But although Tortoise isn’t big, he is certainly brainy! He sets out to show Elephant and Hippo that biggest doesn’t mean best by challenging them to a tug of war. They sneeringly accept… but little do they know that they have really agreed to fight each other! A funny, heartwarming retelling of this well-known folk tale about brains vs brawn with beautiful, stylish illustrations. A special book that teaches that wit and wisdom are more important than size and physical strength, and friendship is what matters most.

  4. The Kid and the Chameleon Sleepover (Time to Read, Level 3) - Tessy is so excited to have a sleepover with Newton, full of midnight snacks and bedtime stories and pillow fights. But Newton just wants to sleep! Can the friends find a way for both of them to have fun?

Want to see more children's books about friendship?

Books About Being Different and Colors

The Crayon Box That Talked book
#1
The Crayon Box That Talked
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Although they are many different colors, the crayons in a box discover that when they get together they can appreciate each other and make a complete picture.

Red: A Crayon's Story book
#2
Red: A Crayon's Story
Written and illustrated by Michael Hall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as “red” suffers an identity crisis in this picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It’s an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!

My Shape is Sam book
#3
My Shape is Sam
Written by Amanda Jackson and illustrated by Lydia Nichols
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Circles were smooth and round. Good at rolling, spinning, and pushing. They all turned together to make things go.

Squares were sturdy and even. Good at stacking, steadying, and measuring. They all fit together to make things stay.

In a world where everybody is a shape and every shape has a specific job, Sam is a square who longs for softer corners, rounder edges, and the ability to roll like a circle. But everyone knows that squares don’t roll, they stack. At least that’s what everyone thinks until the day Sam takes a tumble and discovers something wonderful. He doesn’t have to be what others want or expect him to be.

With playful imagery, this story considers identity and nonconformity through the eyes of Sam, a square struggling to find his true place in the world.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Hooray for Fish! - Little Fish has all sorts of fishy friends in his underwater home, but loves one of them most of all.

  2. A Color of His Own - A story of a chameleon who, in search of his own color, finds a true friend.

Want to see more children's books about colors?

Books About Being Different and Trying New Things

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree book
#1
The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Tina isn’t like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren’t convinced—and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

Lily Wool book
#2
Lily Wool
Written and illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

A little lamb with a great big imagination. A new picture book from Paula Vasquez filled with delightful illustrations depicting a little lamb intent on being true to herself. Lily Wool gets bored with all of the grazing and resting that the herd does and prefers to count stars and dream of adventures. When Lily finds a strand of loose wool, she lets her imagination run wild and has a grand time until she accidentally unravels a problem. Children will love seeing how Lily Wool puts her imagination and creativity to work to fix things, and how Lily discovers a way to help others while she finds her special place in the herd. Paula Vasquez,an avowed artist from childhood, studied graphic design at the Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, and honed her illustration skills with a post-graduate diploma from Finis Terrae University. She currently lives in Santiago de Chile writing and illustrating children’s picture books.

Ogilvy book
#3
Ogilvy
Written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by T. L. McBeth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The clothes don’t make the bunny in this new picture book from New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Underwood, illustrated by T. L. McBeth. When Ogilvy moves to a new town, the possibilities feel endless. There are so many new bunny friends and fun things to do together! But in this town, bunnies in dresses play ball and knit socks, and bunnies in sweaters make art and climb rocks. Ogilvy wants to do everything—and won’t let a sweater or a dress get in the way.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Elle of the Ball - From 2015 WNBA MVP, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and global ambassador to the Special Olympics Elena Delle Donne comes the first novel in a brand-new middle grade series with as much heart as there is game. Elle Deluca is a seventh grader who is tall—not just sort of tall. She’s six feet tall. And for a twelve-year-old girl, this means that her basketball team has high hopes for her changing positions and becoming their starting center. But a new position is not the only footwork she has to learn. Her class’s dance unit in gym is coming up, and that means she has to learn ballroom dance steps with a boy much shorter than her—and perform publically for a grade. In the first book in WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist Elena Delle Donne’s Hoops series, Elle must figure out a way to remain herself when others want her to be someone else.

  2. A Dragon in the Family - Darek and Zantor work to convince everyone that dragons and humans can get along in this second book in the fantastical Dragonling chapter book series! Ever since Darek saved Zantor the dragonling, they’ve been inseparable. Darek is the only family Zantor has ever known. But now Darek is bringing Zantor home from the Valley of the Dragons, and the villagers are up in arms! He and his brother Clep are called traitors. Their best friends are turning against them. Even Darek’s father has been threatened for allowing the enemy in their midst. How can Darek prove that dragons are good neighbors to the villagers?

Want to see more children's books about trying new things?

Books About Being Different and Making Friends

A Unicorn Named Sparkle book
#1
A Unicorn Named Sparkle
Written and illustrated by Amy Young
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

When Lucy sees an ad in the newspaper for a unicorn, she sends in her twenty-five cents and waits four to six long weeks for her very own unicorn to arrive. She imagines the flowers that she’ll braid into his beautiful pink mane, and she even picks the perfect name for him: Sparkle. But when Sparkle arrives, his ears are too long, his horn is too short, he smells funny—and oh, he has fleas. Lucy isn’t pleased, but in the end she warms up to Sparkle and realizes that even though he wasn’t exactly the unicorn she wanted, he might be just the one she needs.

Maurice the Unbeastly book
#2
Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon and illustrated by Karl James Mountford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

No ordinary beast, Maurice is neat, polite, photogenic, and his roar is delightful to the ear, which leads his parents to enroll him at the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, where he realizes he has a few things he can teach his fellow beasts.

Two Speckled Eggs book
#3
Two Speckled Eggs
Written and illustrated by Jennifer K Mann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Reluctantly inviting the class misfit to her birthday party, Ginger bonds with Lyla when the latter arrives early, supports her party choices and gives her a unique gift, an encounter that compels Ginger to reconsider earlier notions.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Florence & Leon - Florence and Leon have never met. Florence is a swimming instructor. She has a small problem with her lungs: it’s as if she’s breathing through a straw. Leon is an insurance salesman. He has a small problem with his eyes: it’s as if he’s seeing the world through a straw. One day Florence and Leon bump into each other, literally, and this mishap turns their lives upside down. Over slushy drinks with proper straws, Florence and Leon find out how their differences make them alike.

  2. A Campfire Tale - “Ever been stuck with a friend who’s totally uncool—and worried that it will rub off on you? Welcome to Camp Wildwood! It’s Dragon’s first day, and his buddy would LIKE to show him a good time. But Dragon doesn’t seem to fit in with the boys and girls. He overturns the boat, ruins the puppet show, and even sets the tent on fire. Then, just as his buddy is about to give up, Dragon comes through in a pinch. This sweet, funny picture book teaches an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship—and in accepting the strengths and weaknesses of others.”

  3. Blobfish Throws a Party - Introducing Blobfish Throws a Party, a wild and hilarious story from award-winning author Miranda Paul! Blobfish lives at the bottom of the ocean with no lights, no friends, and no delicious treats. The only two ways he can think to change this would be to 1) throw a party, or 2) save the world in true hero style. He decides to do the first one. However, when he announces, “Deep sea party! Bring a treat to share!”, the mermaids hear “Cheap, free party! Sling on a sheet to wear!”, and the shorebirds hear “Cheep-peep party! Sing a tweet with flair!”, and so on. Soon the whole world is partying in strange ways based on what they think they heard, and Blobfish is still sad and alone at the bottom of the sea. Will Blobfish ever get his lights, friends, and delicious treats?

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Books About Being Different and Diversity

Mixed Me! book
#1
Mixed Me!
Written by Taye Diggs and illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mom and Dad say I’m a blend of dark and light: “We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.” Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! His parents love him. And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them. Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

Duck for Turkey Day book
#2
Duck for Turkey Day
Written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kathryn Mitter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Tuyet finds out that her Vietnamese family is having duck rather than turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, she is upset until she finds out that other children in her class did not eat turkey either.

Bilal Cooks Daal book
#3
Bilal Cooks Daal
Written by Aisha Saeed and illustrated by Anoosha Syed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing. Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does? This debut picture book by Aisha Saeed, with charming illustrations by Anoosha Syed, uses food as a means of bringing a community together to share in each other’s family traditions.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Some People Do - As a parent, discussing diversity with your child can be difficult, especially if you have your own questions. Some People Do boils this topic down to provide the simplest of answers. By the time your child finishes reading this book, they will have been introduced to all facets of people, without any one being more revered than the other.

  2. The Hueys in The New Sweater - The Hueys are small and mischievous, unique compared to the world’s other creatures–but hardly unique to one another. You see, each Huey looks the same, thinks the same, and does the same exact things. So you can imagine the chaos when one of them has the idea of knitting a sweater! It seems like a good idea at the time–he is quite proud of it, in fact–but it does make him different from the others. So the rest of the Hueys, in turn, decide that they want to be different too! How? By knitting the exact same sweater, of course! The first in a series of child-friendly concept books by the #1 bestselling artist of The Day the Crayons Quit, How to Catch a Star, Stuck, and This Moose Belongs to Me, The New Sweater proves that standing apart can be accomplished even when standing together.

  3. Stella by Starlight - When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

  4. EveryBody's Different on EveryBody Street - Playful words lead you into this beautiful children’s book and invite you to celebrate our gifts,our weaknesses,our differences and our sameness. Fitch displays her wit and mastery of words in quick, rollicking rhymes that are complemented by Emma Fitzgerald’s lively illustrations. EveryBody’s Different on EveryBody Street was originally produced in 2001 as a fundraiser to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Festival of Trees in support of the Nova Scotia Hospital and to raise awareness for mental illness and addiction.

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Books About Being Different and Being Yourself

Spoon book
#1
Spoon
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Thinking that Fork, Knife, and Chopstick have it better than he, Spoon begins to feel down about his status in the utensil world, but when others take the time to show him just how important he is, Spoon quickly comes to realize that being a spoon is the best thing to be after all!

Firenze's Light book
#2
Firenze's Light
Written by Jessica Collaço and illustrated by Angela Li
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Follow Firenze, a feisty firefly, as she discovers the power of her light in this fun and encouraging story of friendship and self-appreciation.

Firenze’s friends love her light, but Firenze doesn’t think it’s so great. How can she when it’s nearly impossible to play a good game of hide-and-seek?!! When Firenze’s light and a new friend’s artwork unexpectedly combine, she must decide whether she will keep her light hidden or find the courage to let it shine.

“Firenze’s Light” is a beautifully illustrated picture book that sets itself apart by leaving out the bullying and shame found in more traditional children’s books. Readers will find encouraging, kind characters inspiring self-appreciation, gratitude, kindness and compassion.

While Firenze twirled on the stage, she realized how powerful her light was. It was creating magical art, joy for her friends, and happiness in her heart. Suddenly, Firenze felt very grateful she was a firefly.

Ideal for children ages 3-8, this is the first in a series of books that reflect gentle parenting and nurture universal values that inspire and empower kids. “Firenze’s Light” is a thoughtful gift for baptisms, baby showers, dance recitals and birthdays. Perfect for toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, first grade and second grade.

The Jellybeans and the Big Dance book
#3
The Jellybeans and the Big Dance
Written by Nate Evans and Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Friendship comes in many flavors in the launch of a charming new series by a bestselling author and illustrator team!

Laura Numeroff, Nate Evans, and Lynn Munsinger bring readers a fun new group of sweet friends.

Just as jellybeans are different colors and flavors, each character in this heartwarming friendship story has a personality and pizzazz that young readers will love.

Emily loves to dance and can’t wait to meet the other girls in her class, who are sure to be just like her. But instead she meets Nicole, a tomboy who would rather be playing soccer; Bitsy, who loves arts and crafts; and Anna, a shy bookworm who has no interest at all in dancing. Realizing that they have to work together to make their dance recital a success, the girls learn to love each other’s differences and strengths as they band together and name their group the Jellybeans!

The latest picture book by beloved bestselling authors Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans is as sweet as sugar and features four adorable characters that all children will relate to. With joyful illustrations by Lynn Munsinger that dance off the page, The Jellybeans and the Big Dance will inspire readers to dance, prance, and boogie-woogie to the beat of their own drum.

Honorable Mentions
  1. We're All Wonders - The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio. Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy. Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children. Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection “A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal “A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly “Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

  2. Mary Wears What She Wants - Once upon a time (but not too long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants. Until one day, a young girl named Mary had a bold idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants! Inspired by the true story of Mary Edwards Walker, a trailblazing doctor who was arrested many times for wearing pants, this fresh, charming picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.

  3. Business Pig - Right from the start, everyone at the barnyard knew Jasper was different: “What we have here is a gen-u-WINE Business Pig!” No playing in the mud for him; Jasper preferred bookkeeping and charts. Most of all, he longs for a forever home. But no matter how many resumes Jasper hands out, no one adopts him. Can this business pig find that special person who means business, too?

  4. Just Like Rube Goldberg - Discover how Rube Goldberg followed his dreams to become an award-winning cartoonist, inventor, and even an adjective in the dictionary in this inspiring and funny biographical picture book. Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer. But Rube didn’t want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines—complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.

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Books About Being Different and Belonging

Les & Ronnie Step Out book
#1
Les & Ronnie Step Out
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Meet a left and right foot who are a pair of complete opposites! Full of clever, giggle-inducing details, this lively odd-couple tale celebrates what makes us all unique, as well as the power of friendship to bring us together despite our differences.

Feet come in twos, so they need to step out together. But Les and Ronnie often find it hard to cooperate. Les likes having a clean sock and being responsible. Ronnie is fine with a dirty sock and loves letting loose. Les is straight-laced while Ronnie doesn’t even care about laces. What’s a duo to do?

Stumpkin book
#2
Stumpkin
Written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Stumpkin is the most handsome pumpkin on the block. He’s as orange as a traffic cone! Twice as round as a basketball! He has no bad side! He’s the perfect choice for a Halloween jack-o-lantern. There’s just one problem—Stumpkin has a stump, not a stem. And no one seems to want a stemless jack-o-lantern for their window. As Halloween night approaches, more and more of his fellow pumpkins leave, but poor Stumpkin remains. Will anyone give Stumpkin his chance to shine?

The Octopuppy book
#3
The Octopuppy
Written and illustrated by Martin McKenna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Can the OCTOPUPPY be the perfect pet?

Edgar wanted a dog. Instead, he got an octopus named Jarvis.

Jarvis is brilliant and does his best to act like the dog Edgar wants, but nothing he does is good enough to please Edgar. Ultimately, Edgar recognizes that while Jarvis might not be the dog he wanted, he is special in his own endearing way.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito - Timely, Fun, Challenging and Wise! Tomson Highway’s musical cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, couldn’t be more vividly presented unless you were sitting in the middle seat of the front row watching the Cree playwright, performer, musician and poet himself. The story of a wingless little mosquito from Manitoba has all the whimsy and wise humour any audience could ask for. The ageless theme of a misfit, who finds her voice through song and who learns to make friends by communicating directly with her audience, is a timely treat for anyone who has felt like an outsider, dealt with bullying, moved to a new place, or was different from the rest of the pack. The entire script is here, complete with song lyrics, stage directions, Cree vocabulary, and challenging tongue twisters to delight all ages. A perfect book for drama students, teachers, and theatre enthusiasts, this beautiful full-colour volume serves as an interactive read-aloud for the young, or a great way to introduce students to the joys of staging a musical production.

  2. Judy Moody and Friends: Not-So-Lucky Lefty - Left-handers are creative. Left-handers are geniuses. Half of all cats are lefties! (Or so says Stink.) But Judy is a righty . . . and Judy is feeling left out. Tomorrow is Left Handers Day, and Stink and Dad, the southpaws in the Moody family, are celebrating at the pretzel factory. Judy is allowed to come along on one condition: she has to be lefthanded—the whole entire day. It’s on

  3. Elmore - The creator of the Toot & Puddle series brings us Elmore—the warmhearted porcupine sure to steal the hearts of a new generation of Holly Hobbie fans! Elmore is a porcupine desperate to make friends. But it is hard to seek closeness with others when you’re covered with spikes that shoot off your back every so often. Elmore suffers rejection and heartbreak, but the goodness of his forest community ultimately shines through as the animals find a way to connect with this prickly bundle of love. Holly Hobbie is the creator of the beloved Toot & Puddle series and now brings us a character for the next generation. Just as charming, funny, and good-hearted as her little pigs, Elmore the porcupine will snuggle and prickle his way securely into the picture-book canon.

  4. Chocolate Me! - The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.

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Books About Being Different and Female Role Models

Suki's Kimono book
#1
Suki's Kimono
Written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

On her first day of first grade, despite the objections of her older sisters, Suki chooses to wear her beloved Japanese kimono to school because it holds special memories of her grandmother’s visit last summer.

Stephanie's Ponytail book
#2
Stephanie's Ponytail
Written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Another laugh-out-loud book from the author of The Paper Bag Princess!

Everyone is copying Stephanie’s ponytail! No matter which way she wears it, the list of copycats keeps growing. But when Stephanie declares her next hair style, she tries to shake all of her followers loose.

A newly designed Classic Munsch picture book introduces this tale of trend-setting hairdos to a young generation of readers.

Gloria Takes a Stand book
#3
Gloria Takes a Stand
Written by Jessica M. Rinker and illustrated by Daria Peoples
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Throughout Gloria Steinem’s life, she stood up for many things. In a time when most women didn’t go to college, Gloria knew the importance of education and studied at Smith College. In a time when almost all women stayed at home to raise a family, Gloria traveled to India and wrote about what she learned there. In a time when many people were fighting for equality, Gloria wanted to write about these important events. And as she heard more and more stories from women who didn’t have as many rights as men, Gloria decided to start Ms. Magazine to give women a voice. This text introduces a new generation of children to Gloria Steinem, the icon who fought for a better world for all women—and encourages all readers to “stand up and speak for equal rights for all people.”

Honorable Mentions
  1. Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip - One day a fantastic idea pops into Professor McQuark’s head to create an ‘Oojamaflip’ but what is one and will it win her first prize at the town science fair? A fast-paced, rhyming tale superbly written by first-time author Lou Treleaven and illustrated by the talented Julia Patton.

  2. I Look Up To... Malala Yousafzai - If you can see it, you can be it! Introduce your child to powerful feminist role models with this series of inspirational board books. It’s never too early to introduce your child to the people you admire—such as Malala Yousafzai, the activist for girls’ education and Nobel Peace Prize winner! This board book distills Malala’s excellent qualities into an eminently sharable read-aloud text with graphic, eye-catching illustrations. Each spread highlights an important trait, and is enhanced by a quote from Malala herself. Kids will grow up hearing the words of this inspiring woman and will learn what YOU value in a person! The I LOOK UP TO… series aims to shed a spotlight on women making a difference in the world today, and to encourage young kids to follow in their footsteps! Look for other books in the series about Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Serena Williams!

  3. Freckleface Strawberry - Freckleface Strawberry is just like everyone else, except that she has red hair and freckles but when she tries to hide who she is, she learns about true friendship and accepting yourself just as you are.

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Books About Being Different and Adventure

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic book
#1
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic
Written by Susan Tan and illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Priscilla Cilla Lee-Jenkins has just finished her (future) bestselling memoir, and now she s ready to write a Classic. This one promises to have everything: Romance, Adventure, and plenty of Drama like Cilla s struggles to be more Chinese, be the perfect flower girl at Aunt Eva s wedding, and learn how to share her best friend.

Unstoppable Max book
#2
Unstoppable Max
Written and illustrated by Julia Patton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Max is a four-year-old whirlwind who doesn’t have an off switch! His socks are odd, his bedroom is chaotic, and his mind is so full of imaginative schemes that following even the simplest of instructions can end in mayhem. Max’s bedtime routine, so seemingly simple, becomes a military operation for Max with many obstacles to overcome - tidying his bedroom, putting on his pyjamas, and feeding his pet goldfish! Illustrated with non-stop energy by exciting new author/illustrator, Julia Patton.

The Misfits Club book
#3
The Misfits Club
Written by Kieran Crowley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

A group of small-town kids revive their childhood adventure club when they think they’ve snapped a picture of a ghost in this novel.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Medio Pollito - The story of Medio Pollito, a chicken born with only half of his body, is one of inspiration and purpose. He travels to find adventure, and with the help of the wind, finds his true calling as a weather vane.

  2. Clive and His Bags - Meet Clive - and his imagination! Clive loves his collection of bags, and each one suggests a different adventure. He enjoys playing with them, and sharing them with his friends. A gentle, affectionate book, celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes.

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