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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 Wonder to some of our favorite hidden gems like A Bad Case of Stripes.

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

#1
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Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin
Written by Diane Lang & 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.
#2
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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.
#3
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A Bad Case of Stripes
Written & 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.
#4
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The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written & 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!
#5
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We're All Wonders
Written & 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
#6
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Tacky the Penguin
Written by Helen Lester & illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Tacky's perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day.
#7
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Spoon
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & 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!
#8
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Famously Phoebe
Written by Lori Alexander & 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.
#9
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Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon & 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.
#10
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Stephanie's Ponytail
Written by Robert Munsch & 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.
Table of Contents
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Books About Being Different and Self-discovery

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A Bad Case of Stripes
Written & 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.
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Leaping Lemmings!
Written by John Briggs & 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."
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Sadie and the Silver Shoes
Written by Jane Godwin & 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.
Honorable Mentions
That's What Wings Are For book
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It Feels Good to Be Yourself book
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What If? book
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Pretty book
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  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. What If? - You see, being different is special and can give your spirit a lift! Being different is beautiful and magnificent. It’s what makes life a gift! We are all one of a kind. Just show the world who you are -let your you-ness shine! With a warm, inspiring message, this book will give children courage to embrace their individuality and accept others for who they are.

  4. Pretty - Pretty isn’t everything! Trapped by the limitations of her high-school adjective, the realities of her mother’s alcohol addiction, and a racially fraught America, Sophie’s perspective on what being pretty really means changes drastically in the second adjective-busting novel by the author of Husky, Justin Sayre. Set three months after Husky’sconclusion and narrated by Sophie, Davis’s best friend, Sayre details the private and public life of someone saddled with the adjective of pretty. Confident, stylish, and easygoing at school, Sophie is struggling in her home life. Stepping in to help as her mother’s addiction spirals out of control, Sophie’s aunt teaches the biracial Sophie new lessons about her heritage. While helping to heal the wounds inflicted by alcoholism, Sophie’s renewed sense of self challenges her perception of place in the affluent, “liberal” neighborhood of Park Slope where she lives.a Set against the backgrounds of Brooklyn and Harlem, Sayre challenges readers to confront superficial assumptions about race and beauty and breathes new life into the cannon of middle-grade realistic fiction.

Books About Being Different and Trying New Things

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The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written & 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!
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Les & Ronnie Step Out
Written & 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?
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The Doll People
Written by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin & illustrated by Brian Selznick
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Annabelle Doll is eight years old-she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll family, day after day, year after year. . . until one day the Funcrafts move in.
Honorable Mentions
Piglette book
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Just a Duck? book
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Ogilvy book
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Elle of the Ball book
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  1. Piglette - Will a pristine piglet find perfection in Paris? Piglette can be a bit particular by her siblings’ standards. She always wants everything to be perfect. While her many brothers and sisters like rolling in the mud, Piglette prefers pampering in a mud bath. While her siblings eat slop, Piglette prefers pastries. But what she’s most passionate about is flowers. She loves to smell the lilies and lilacs in the pasture. So Piglette decides her precise nose is destined for the perfume shops of Paris! But Piglette soon realizes that there’s nothing more precious than the pleasant scents of home, and she finds a way to bring a little Parisian perfection back where she belongs. Debut author Kateyln Aronson and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Eva Byrne have created an unforgettable, playful piglet who stays true to herself and the message that home is where the heart is.

  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. Ogilvy - 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.

  4. 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.

Books About Being Different and Girls And Women

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Mary Wears What She Wants
Written & illustrated by Keith Negley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.
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Just Ask!
Written by Sonia Sotomayor & illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez create a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique. Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful. In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.
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Chrysanthemum
Written & 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....
Honorable Mentions
Two Speckled Eggs book
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Tough Chicks book
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Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic book
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Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire book
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  1. Two Speckled Eggs - 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.

  2. Tough Chicks - From the moment Penny, Polly, and Molly hatch from their eggs, the whole farm knows they are truly tough chicks. They wrestle worms, rope roosters, and are often found under the hood of the tractor. All the other animals and even the farmer himself tell Mama Hen to make her chicks good. “They are good!” Mama Hen replies. But her chicks are different. They’re tough and smart and strong in a good way.

  3. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic - 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.

  4. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Cilla Lee-Jenkins is 50% Chinese, 50% Caucasian, and 100% destined for literary greatness! Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best—herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir include: - How she dealt with being bald until she was five - How she overcame her struggles with reading - How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

Books About Being Different and Animals

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Tacky the Penguin
Written by Helen Lester & illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Tacky's perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day.
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Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin
Written by Diane Lang & 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.
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Me and You
Written & illustrated by Geneviève Côté
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Two artistic friends, paintbrushes in hand ... "I wish I were just like you," says the rabbit to the pig. "I wish I were just like you," says the pig to the rabbit. As the friends use paintbrushes and a few props to adjust tails, ears and noses, something soon becomes clear: they liked each other better before. "I am me and you are you ... that's why we love each other, me and you!" This gentle celebration of friendship and individuality by award-winning writer and illustrator Geneviève Côté will reassure young readers that they are loved and special as themselves. It's a book with all-ages appeal and an ideal gift for a child — or a best friend.
Honorable Mentions
The Kid and the Chameleon Sleepover (Time to Read, Level 3) book
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Look at Me!: How to Attract Attention in the Animal World book
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The Jellybeans and the Big Camp Kickoff book
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No Boring Stories! book
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  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. The Jellybeans and the Big Camp Kickoff - Read this sweet New York Times bestselling series from the author of If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Mouse a Brownie, and other beloved books. The Jellybeans are off to summer camp to enjoy ghost stories around the campfire, roasting marshmallows, and swimming in the lake. Each girl finds her own favorite activity: Emily goes to the dance studio, Bitsy does arts and crafts, and Anna reads about nature. But Nicole can’t find anything that’s just right for her. So she decides to start a soccer team and teach her friends her favorite game. Will the Jellybeans be able to win the big match against a neighboring camp? Once again, the girls use their different strengths and talents to work together and have the best summer ever. This third book in the successful New York Times bestselling series shows that, whether readers are girly girls, bookworms, artists, or tomboys, there is a Jellybean for everyone.

  4. No Boring Stories! - A group of misfits takes a stand against sweet, cuddly, boring stories in this picture book by the critically acclaimed author of the Snappsy the Alligator series, Julie Falatko. The unpopular animals have had enough. They want to be in a picture book! Stories about mommy-loving kitties and cuddly bunnies at bedtime are boring. Wouldn’t you rather hear about yeti crabs in robo suits and fierce babirusa princesses who fight giant grape monsters?! This group of misfits has a unique story to tell, but they’ll never finish writing it if their over-eager bunny neighbor won’t GO AWAY! Julie Falatko, critically acclaimed author of the Snappsy the Alligator books, brings her signature humor to this stand-alone picture book about finding your tribe and writing the stories you want to see, no matter how weird or wild they are!

Books About Being Different and Bullying

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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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The Curvy Tree
Written by Chris Colfer & illustrated by Brandon Dorman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
The debut picture book from #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer Once upon a time, there was a little girl who didn't quite fit in. When she runs away, she happens upon a curvy tree who helps her understand the importance of being different! This picture book stands alone, but also plays an important role in the Land of Stories series--making this a must-have book for fans and new readers alike!
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Tropical Terry
Written & illustrated by Jarvis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
From author-illustrator Jarvis comes a buoyant underwater tale about a little blue fish who learns that being dazzling isn't what makes you special. Coral Reef City is home to the most brilliant tropical fish in the ocean. Sparkling and multicolored, they swim around and around, showing off. And then there's Terry. Small, blue, and ordinary, Terry spends his days playing hiding games with his friends and wishing the tropical fish would play with him, too. So with the help of his friends, Terry fashions a flashy, dazzling costume and transforms into Tropical Terry. But life as the center of attention isn't quite everything Terry dreamed it would be -- especially once Eddie the Eel shows up, hungry for dinner. In a bright, cheerful story, Jarvis uses his vibrant art and heartwarming wit to prove that sometimes the things you thought made you unremarkable are actually the most special qualities of all.
Honorable Mentions
The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito book
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My Hair is a Garden book
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The Boy Who Grew Flowers book
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I Am Fartacus book
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  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. My Hair is a Garden - After a day of being taunted by classmates about her unruly hair, Mackenzie can’t take any more and she seeks guidance from her wise and comforting neighbor, Miss Tillie. Using the beautiful garden in the backyard as a metaphor, Miss Tillie shows Mackenzie that maintaining healthy hair is not a chore nor is it something to fear. Most importantly, Mackenzie learns that natural black hair is beautiful.

  3. The Boy Who Grew Flowers - Rink is a very unusual boy who grows beautiful flowers all over his body whenever the moon is full. In town and at school, Rink and his family are treated as outcasts although no-one knows his strange botanical secret. But one day a new girl arrives at sc

  4. I Am Fartacus - When Chub leads his cadre of middle school misfits in an effort to bring down the evil empire led by his nemesis Arch, he inadvertently becomes the school hero.

Want to see books about bullying?

Books About Being Different and Making Friends

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A Unicorn Named Sparkle
Written & 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.
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Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon & 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.
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Elwood Bigfoot
Written by Jill Esbaum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
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?"
Honorable Mentions
Twig book
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Florence & Leon book
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A Campfire Tale book
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  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. 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.

  3. 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.”

Books About Being Different and Multicultural

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There's Only One You
Written by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook & 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.
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Business Pig
Written & illustrated by Andrea Zuill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
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?
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Some People Do
Written by Frank Lowe & illustrated by Josh Hara
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
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.
Honorable Mentions
One of These Is Not Like the Others book
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A Normal Pig book
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Black, White, Just Right book
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I'll Walk with You book
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  1. One of These Is Not Like the Others - One of these is not like that other—and that’s great! This gently subversive picture book points out— and celebrates!-- the differences between subjects. Barney Saltzberg’s hilarious and delightfully direct text and simple illustrations introduce children to the concept and splendor of inclusiveness, through recognizing who or what’s different on each spread and celebrating the unity as it is. For example, the reader sees three cows and an elephant accompanied by the text “One of these is not like the other,” turn the page… and all four animals take part in an exuberant conga line and say “that’s just fine with us”!
    In a series of similar examples children are encouraged to notice both the similarities and differences between characters and celebrate both.
    Barney Saltzberg’s picture book is a pointed and timely tribute to the power of inclusivity and as well as a riotous read-aloud.

  2. A Normal Pig - Pip is a normal pig who does normal stuff: cooking, painting, and dreaming of what she’ll be when she grows up. But one day a new pig comes to school and starts pointing out all the ways in which Pip is different. Suddenly she doesn’t like any of the same things she used to . . . the things that made her Pip. This charming picture book celebrates all our differences while questioning the idea that there is only one way to be “normal.”

  3. 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.

  4. I'll Walk with You - Help little ones learn to show love for the people around them, no matter how they look, sound, pray, love, or think. Beloved author of The Lesson and Will You Still Be My Daughter? Carol Lynn Pearson is known for her heartfelt, sometimes tear-jerking poetry and stories. Her newest title will enchant children with a sweet, tender poem about loving and accepting others, no matter what they look like, where they come from, or what their age and abilities are. Carol Lynn Pearson is the author of more than forty books and plays, including Goodbye, I Love You and I’ll Always Be Your Daughter. She has been a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and “Good Morning, America,” and was featured in People Magazine. She lives in Walnut Creek, California.

Books About Being Different and Imagination And Play

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We're All Wonders
Written & 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
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Boy and Bot
Written by Ame Dyckman & illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
The story of an irresistible friendship between a boy and a robot, now in board for little hands. One day, a boy and a robot meet in the woods. They play. They have fun. But when Bot gets switched off, Boy thinks he’s sick! So Boy tucks the bot into bed and falls asleep. Bot is worried when he powers on and finds his friend powered off. He takes Boy home with him and tries all his remedies: oil, reading an instruction manual. Nothing revives the malfunctioning boy! Can the Inventor help fix him? Using the perfect blend of sweetness and humor, this story of an adorable duo will win the hearts of the very youngest readers.
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Buttercup the Bigfoot
Written by Douglas Rees & illustrated by Isabel Muñoz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**A fiercely funny picture book from author Douglas Rees and illustrator Isabel Muñoz about the fantastic friendship between a little girl and a creature out of legend.** When Willa Cathcart Wilmerding, the bravest girl in the world, is told she must stop her nightly tradition of howling at the moon, she decides to run away. High in the mountains, she meets Buttercup the Bigfoot, a friend unlike any other! Willa and Buttercup do everything together. They leap up and down the mountains, soar over mighty crevasses, and make each other crowns of flowers―but their favorite thing to do is climb a high peak and HOWL at the moon. This playful story of friendship, freedom, and ferocity will have picture book readers eager for a Bigfoot friend of their very own.
Honorable Mentions
The Smallest Elephant in the World book
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Clive Is a Librarian book
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Clive Is a Nurse book
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  1. The Smallest Elephant in the World - Mocked throughout the jungles of India, the smallest elephant in the world-no bigger than a house cat-has decided enough is enough. If he’s no bigger than a house cat, then a house is where he belongs! After a long journey, this smallest elephant in the world finds himself a home with a nice little boy inside. Unfortunately, the boy’s mother doesn’t believe elephants make suitable house pets… First published in 1959, The Smallest Elephant in the World, written by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Milton Glaser, is a witty, sweet, and funny tale of friendship, unlikely disguise, and the search for home.

  2. Clive Is a Librarian - This series of board books follows hard on the heel of the four ALL ABOUT CLIVE titles, which were enthusiastically received for celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes. Helped by his good friends, Clive pretends to be a nurse, a waiter, a librarian and a teacher. The role-play of this diverse group is detailed, humorous, caring and thoughtful, and all readers will want to copy, share and talk about what they see.

  3. Clive Is a Nurse - This series of board books follows hard on the heel of the four ALL ABOUT CLIVE titles, which were enthusiastically received for celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes. Helped by his good friends, Clive pretends to be a nurse, a waiter, a librarian and a teacher. The role-play of this diverse group is detailed, humorous, caring and thoughtful, and all readers will want to copy, share and talk about what they see.

Books About Being Different and Family

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Land Shark
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him...a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they? Full of humor and heart, this book explores the idea that sometimes, getting exactly what you don't want turns out to be exactly what you need.
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Replay
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Leo's papa stood in the doorway, gazing down at him. "Leo, you make gold from pebbles," and the way he said it, Leo could tell that this was a good thing. He may have been given a bit part in the school play ... but Leo dreams he is the biggest star on Broadway. Sure, his big, noisy family makes him feel like a sardine squashed in a tin ... but in his fantasy he gets all the attention he wants. Yes, his papa seems sad and distracted ... but Leo imagines him as a boy, tap-dancing and singing with delight. That's why they call Leo "fog boy." He's always dreaming, always replaying things in his brain. He fantasizes about who he is in order to discover who he will become. As an actor in the school play, he is poised and ready for the curtain to open. But in the play that is his life, Leo is eager to discover what part will be his.
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Spork
Written by Kyo Maclear & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
When you're a little bit spoon and little bit fork, where do you go when the table is set? A funny ?multi-cutlery? tale for everyone who has ever wondered about their place in the world. Spork is neither spoon nor fork but, rather, a bit of both. His (spoon) mother and (fork) father think he's perfect just the way he is. Only, Spork stands out. All the other cutlery belongs with those like themselves, and they all have a specific purpose. Spork tries fitting in with the spoons, and then with the forks, but he isn't quite enough like either. Instead, he watches from the drawer at dinnertime as the others get to play with the food and then enjoy a nice warm bath in the sink. But one morning, a ?messy thing? arrives. A thing that has obviously never heard of cutlery customs or table manners. Will Spork finally find his place at the table? In this unconventional celebration of individuality, Kyo Maclear has created a humorous ?multi-cutlery? tale for everyone who has ever wondered about their place in the world. The mixed-media artwork by award-winning illustrator Isabelle Arsenault is high-spirited and quirky, providing just the right level of mixed-up-ness to the scenes. Children will appreciate the fun take on the inner lives of cutlery. This picture book is perfect for discussions of individuality and acceptance. But most important, it offers a hopeful and positive message that all of us belong and have a purpose.
Honorable Mentions
When Grandad Was a Penguin book
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My New Friend book
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  1. When Grandad Was a Penguin - Last time I went to see Grandad, he seemed a little different. What do you do when your Grandad starts acting VERY much like a penguin? Find out in this brilliantly funny and heartwarming story from talented author and illustrator, Morag Hood. Boys and girls alike will love the witty, sweet and brilliantly surreal depiction of everyday settings and situations in this fish-out-of-water story with a difference. When Grandad was a Penguin is perfect for sharing with children (and grandads) young and old. Morag Hood’s artwork is gorgeously bold and stylish and her illustrative talent and keen eye for design won her a place as runner up in The Macmillan Prize for Illustration.

  2. My New Friend - Can a kitten and a parrot be friends? Meet some cute—and unlikely—animal pals! Friends come in all diferent shapes, sizes, and colors, and these animals are learning to befriend creatures that don’t quite look like them. With adorable photographs and clever, humorous text, this book helps children learn to embrace diversity.

Books About Being Different and First Concepts

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Not Quite Black and White Board Book
Written by Jonathan Ying & 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.
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My Shape is Sam
Written by Amanda Jackson & 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.
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Hooray for Fish!
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Little Fish has all sorts of fishy friends in his underwater home, but loves one of them most of all.
Honorable Mentions
Little Humans book
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A Color of His Own book
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Some Birds book
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Neon Leon book
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  1. Little Humans - Street photographer and storyteller extraordinaire Brandon Stanton is the creator of the wildly popular blog “Humans of New York.” He is also the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Humans of New York. To create Little Humans, a 40-page photographic picture book for young children, he’s combined an original narrative with some of his favorite children’s photos from the blog, in addition to all-new exclusive portraits. The result is a hip, heartwarming ode to little humans everywhere.

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

  3. Some Birds - Some birds are big, some birds are small, and some birds are just incredibly tall. Some birds are caged, but most birds are FREE. A much better life, I’m sure you’ll agree! Swooping and squawking, flapping and fluttering, there are many different kinds of birds in the world, all with their own special traits and abilities. Some Birds celebrates the colors and shapes of beaks and feathers with a rollicking, rhyming text and intricate design. The lively illustrations with a mod, retro feel are full of style and mesmerizing detail. Some Birds is a lovely gift that will have children and adults tweeting for more from a promising new talent in the design world.

  4. Neon Leon - Everyone knows that chameleons are the best at fitting in. But Leon is an exception. Leon is neon! In fact, he’s so bright that he keeps all the other chameleons awake at night. Poor Leon is lonely, so he goes off in search of somewhere he won’t be a nuisance. In this delightful interactive book filled with vibrant neon artwork, children can help Leon on his journey by counting his steps, sending him to sleep, and giving him lots of reassurance when he’s feeling down. But will he ever find a place where he can fit in?

Books About Being Different and Being Yourself

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Spoon
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & 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!
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The Jellybeans and the Big Dance
Written by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans & 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.
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Firenze's Light
Written by Jessica Collaço & 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.
Honorable Mentions
Just Like Rube Goldberg book
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Red: A Crayon's Story book
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The Mud Fairy book
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Uugghh! book
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  1. 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.

  2. Red: A Crayon's Story - 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!

  3. The Mud Fairy - Wearing pink and tiptoing through the dewdrops is for wimps! Emmelina would rather play with her friends, the frogs. But can a fairy with an independent streak earn her wings if she goes against the fairy code? Warm, humorous, and with just the right amount of pink (and mud), here’s a book that will capture the hearts of girly-girls and tomboys alike.

  4. Uugghh! - A slug who believes he is ugly meets a spider who teaches him that beauty is subjective by introducing him to people and animals who have different ideas of what is beautiful.

Books About Being Different and Imagination

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Lily Wool
Written & 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.
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Penny and Penelope
Written by Dan Richards & illustrated by Claire Almon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
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.
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Out There
Written & illustrated by Tom Sullivan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
This stunning picture book will have young readers wondering about outer space and life on other planets while imparting a surprising and profound message of empathy. From the author/illustrator of Blue vs. Yellow and I Used to Be a Fish. Do you ever look up at the night sky and wonder if there is anybody else out there? Are there evil robots or cool aliens? Do they fly in UFOs or live in futuristic cities? Or maybe . . . they are just like us. Out There is a wonder-filled, surprising journey of imagination and empathy, a book that will inspire readers of all ages to reflect on how much we all have in common, despite our differences.
Honorable Mentions
Marcel the Shell with Shoes on book
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If This Were a Story book
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Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip book
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Clive and His Art book
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  1. Marcel the Shell with Shoes on - View our feature on Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp’s Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. Millions of people have fallen in love with Marcel. Now the tiny shell with shoes and a big heart is transitioning from online sensation to classic picture book character, and readers can learn more about this adorable creature and his wonderfully peculiar world. From wearing a lentil as a hat to hang-gliding on a Dorito, Marcel is able to find magic in the everyday. He may be small, but he knows he has a lot of good qualities. He may not be able to lift anything by himself, but when he needs help, he calls upon his family. He may never be able own a real dog . . . but he has a pretty awesome imagination.

  2. If This Were a Story - In the tradition of Crenshaw and The Thing About Jellyfish, ten-year-old Hannah copes with the bullies at school and troubles at home through the power of stories in this sweet and sincere debut. Tenacious. That means strong-willed. My mother calls me that. I wish I felt the same way. If this were a story, I would discover I was a direct descendent of a famous soldier who won countless battles and protected hundreds of people. This resilience running through my veins wouldn’t be damaged by the notes; it would fight off bullies and prevent my parents from yelling at each other. But this is not a story. This is real life. My life as ten-year-old Hannah Geller, who is the only girl in fifth grade to have little red bumps on her face, is unable to let the sad thoughts escape her mind, and leaves heads-up pennies wherever she can to spread good luck. And who also finds magic in the most unlikely of places.

  3. 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.

  4. Clive and His Art - Meet Clive - and his imagination! Clive loves all kinds of art. He likes looking at it, making it and sharing it with his friends. A gentle, affectionate book, celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes.

Books About Being Different and New Experiences

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Little Excavator
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
From New York Times bestselling author-illustrator of the Llama Llama books comes a new character ready to dig his way into your heart! Here come the BIG RIGS rolling down the street. Thumpa-thumpa bumpa-bumpa BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! There’s Loader and Dump Truck, Backhoe and Crane. They’re ready to transform a vacant lot into a neighborhood park. And who wants to help most of all? Little Excavator! But are there any jobs for someone so small? Anna Dewdney’s signature rhyming text and inviting illustrations make this a perfect read aloud for for fans of things that go!
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Bilal Cooks Daal
Written by Aisha Saeed & 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.
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A Tiger Tail
Written & 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
Friends book
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Ally-saurus & the First Day of School book
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Stella by Starlight book
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Hannah Sparkles: Hooray for the First Day of School! book
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  1. 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.

  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. 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. 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.

Books About Being Different and Siblings

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Famously Phoebe
Written by Lori Alexander & 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.
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One of a Kind
Written by Ariel S. Winter & illustrated by David Hitch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
In this wry and witty picture book, an only child learns that in a classroom of multiples, individuality can be awesome. All the kids in Lysander Singleton’s class are either twins or triplets, which means Lysander Singleton is the only “only child” at Twin Oaks Elementary. He tries to do what he can to fit in—making photocopies of himself, or attempting to play games with the other kids—though his efforts are usually met with unfortunate results. But when it comes time for the schoolwide Twindividuation competition, a series of events meant to encourage individuality, Lysander quickly realizes that being the only “only child” does have its advantages—and that being unique isn’t such a bad thing after all.
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Fearless Mirabelle and Meg
Written by Katie Haworth & illustrated by Nila Aye
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
A fun and exuberant picture book about twin sisters with very different talents. Mirabelle and Meg Moffat are twins, and their mom and dad are famous circus acrobats. Mirabelle is fearless. She promises to be the most topsy-turvy, upside-down acrobat of all. Unlike Meg, who is afraid of heights. But with a grand new show featuring Mirabelle about to open, it soon becomes clear that there is at least one thing that does scare Mirabelle. Could it be time for Meg’s talent to shine?
Honorable Mentions
Judy Moody and Friends: Not-So-Lucky Lefty book
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Snow Sisters book
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Jack (Not Jackie) book
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  1. 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

  2. Snow Sisters - When snowflakes fall, two sisters react very differently. One is excited and the other is wary. The first sister spends the morning outdoors, playing until she’s all tuckered out. Meanwhile, the second sister stays indoors, becoming ever more curious about the drifts outside. Soon, they switch places, and spend the second half of the day retracing each other’s footsteps. But each sister puts her own unique spin on activities like sledding, baking and building. The simple mirrored text is spare and lovely, and each spread is split to show what each sister is doing independently—until at last they come together in the sweet, satisfying conclusion. LeUyen Pham’s Big Sister, Little Sister meets Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Snow.

  3. Jack (Not Jackie) - In this heartwarming picture book, a big sister realizes that her little sister, Jackie, doesn’t like dresses or fairies-she likes ties and bugs! Will she and her family be able to accept that Jackie identifies more as “Jack”? Susan thinks her little sister Jackie has the best giggle! She can’t wait for Jackie to get older so they can do all sorts of things like play forest fairies and be explorers together. But as Jackie grows, she doesn’t want to play those games. She wants to play with mud and be a super bug! Jackie also doesn’t like dresses or her long hair, and she would rather be called Jack. Readers will love this sweet story about change and acceptance.

Want to see books about siblings?

Books About Being Different and Prejudice And Racism

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AntiRacist Baby
Written by Ibram X. Kendi & illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a fresh new board book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves. Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby's nine easy steps for building a more equitable world. With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.
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The Crayon Box That Talked
Written by Shane Derolf and Michael Letzig
picture 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.
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Mixed Me!
Written by Taye Diggs & 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.
Honorable Mentions
Chocolate Me! book
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Winter Cats book
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Blended book
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Child of Glass book
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  1. 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.

  2. Winter Cats - Willy’s an indoor cat who dreams of becoming an outdoor cat, but his parents tell him that indoor cats and outdoor cats are different. When he sees the outdoor cats having tons of wintery fun, he decides to sneak out and join in! Willy and his new outdoor friends soon learn that labels are meaningless in the face of friendship.

  3. Blended - Eleven-year-old Isabella’s blended family is more divided than ever in this thoughtful story about divorce and racial identity from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper. Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves. Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole? It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

  4. Child of Glass - A story about difference, exclusion, and ultimately self-acceptance, Child of Glass explores the interplay between inner and outer and the journey we have to go on to become ourselves. Child of Glass is about Gisele, a fragile, strong, transparent girl who denounces the meanness that can mark life in the world. In sparse, poetic language that all of us, however young or old, can understand, Child of Glass reminds us of our birthright to become ourselves. Freedom isn’t about accepting what is; it’s about asking the questions and taking the actions that allow us to be at home in the world. Beautifully illustrated in a painterly, drawn, and collaged style, this is a story of layers, textures, and transparencies in every sense. It is also a book that explores the possibilities of form to render idea, thereby providing connective tissue between the world of the book and life in the world. “To draw is to tell. Everyone who feels emotion has something to tell. Emotions keep on changing, growing, as children do. My drawings and stories change with them.” So says Beatrice Alemagna, who was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1973. Alemagna has written and illustrated dozens of children’s books, which have received numerous awards all over the world and have been translated into fourteen languages. She has also had solo exhibitions in France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, and Japan. Alemagna’s The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy is also published by Enchanted Lion.

Books About Being Different and Belonging

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Grape!
Written by Gabriel Arquilevich
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Grape is in trouble again! He punched Miss Roof in the arm! Now he's suspended for two weeks, and Principal Clarkson has threatened to send him to Riverwash, a school for problem kids. But he has one last chance. Grape must spend an hour a day writing about his history of trouble, and there's a lot of trouble to choose from... Grape's best friend Lou is by his side, and even though Grape drives his parents crazy, they're pulling for him all the way. But will Grape make sense of it all? Will it be enough to keep him out of Riverwash?
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Stumpkin
Written & 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?
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The Octopuppy
Written & 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
Hello My Name Is . . . book
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Eppie the Elephant (Who Was Allergic to Peanuts) book
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Elmore book
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Blobfish Throws a Party book
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  1. Hello My Name Is . . . - A new creature is added to the deep-sea tank, but what will they call this flapjack octopus? Includes an author’s note on Adorabilis and its name.

  2. 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.

  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. 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?

Books About Being Different and Feelings And Emotions

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Odd Dog Out
Written & illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A heartwarming and poignant story from award-winning creator Rob Biddulph about the power of embracing your true colors. Perfect for fans of Peter Brown’s Tiger Goes Wild. It’s a dog’s life in the big, busy city, but there's one lonely pup who doesn’t quite fit in. She behaves differently from the rest, sports rainbow in a sea of gray, and marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s one Odd Dog. Join Odd Dog as she journeys to the other side of the world to find her place in it, only for her to discover that maybe she’s meant to be right where she started. And check out Rob Biddulph’s other books for children, including: Blown Away The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
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A Place for Pluto
Written by Stef Wade & illustrated by Melanie Demmer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Shocked to be stripped of his planet status, Pluto goes on a quest to find his place in the universe. Includes educational materials.
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Maybe the Moon
Written & illustrated by Frances Ives
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
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.
Honorable Mentions
Nerdy Birdy Tweets book
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Rusty The Squeaky Robot book
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I'm the Best book
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Starring Me and You book
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  1. Nerdy Birdy Tweets - Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends. One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.

  2. Rusty The Squeaky Robot - Rusty is a friendly robot, but not a very happy one; he’s feeling down about the way that he sounds. The other robots on Planet Robotone – Belle, Twango, Hoot and Boom-Bot – show Rusty that being a little bit different is the best way to be, and together make a raucous song and dance that celebrates their differences. This charming story about friendship, self-discovery and the strength of pooling everyone’s talents together has a strong, empowering message of acceptance and embracing individuality. With wonderful, contemporary illustrations that will appeal to young children and parents alike, the story will provoke thought – and conversation – about being different, and how we should all embrace our characteristics and be comfortable and confident in ourselves.

  3. I'm the Best - “A joyous spirit pervades this picture book and its fallible yet lovable protagonist.” — Booklist (starred review) “I win! I’m the best!” Dog boasts. He can run faster than Mole, dig better than Goose, swim faster than Donkey, and he’s much bigger than Ladybug. He wins! Unfortunately, Dog’s nonstop bragging is starting to make his friends feel kind of sad. But what if they mixed things up and looked at them differently? Could they teach Dog a lesson — and remind him of what it means to be a best friend?

  4. Starring Me and You - The two friends from Me and You and Without You have decided to put on a play. While Piggy and Bunny encourage each other’s inner stars, they discover that the same feeling can be expressed in very different ways. This gently funny story sets the stage for preschoolers learning how to play together after years of being stars of their own show.

Books About Being Different and Self-esteem And Self-reliance

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Stephanie's Ponytail
Written by Robert Munsch & 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.
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All Kids Are Good Kids
Written by Judy Carey Nevin & illustrated by Susie Hammer
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
This sweet board book celebrates different types of children that have one important thing in common: they’re all good kids—and every kid is one of a kind. Tall kids, short kids, Build a pillow fort kids. Shy kids, glad kids, Love to belly laugh kids. No two kids are alike and this charming story celebrates those special differences that make kids both unique and similar. Judy Carey Nevin’s bouncing text paired with Susie Hammer’s brilliant and bright art proves that while children may appear to be different, they also enjoy many of the same things. It’s these shared differences and similarities that make every kid one of a kind.
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The Ninja Club Sleepover
Written by Laura Gehl & illustrated by MacKenzie Haley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
_We are ninjas and ninjas are brave!_ Willa and her best friends love ninjas. They have matching ninja backpacks and ninja t-shirts, and at school they even form a ninja club. But Willa has a secret: she’s a werewolf! Worried that no one will understand, she hides the truth from her friends. Until Val has a sleepover for her birthday…and it’s on the night of the full moon. Willa is overcome with nerves. When an accident reveals that her friends were hiding secrets too, she realizes maybe it’s not so important to be a normal ninja. After all, a _para_normal ninja can do so many cool things! Join three remarkable friends as they discover that ALL of us are weird in our own special ways. Lovable and lively illustrations accompany this charming story that explores facing your fears and fitting in, encouraging readers to celebrate their true selves.
Honorable Mentions
Ready or Not, Woolbur Goes to School! book
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Hooray for Kids! book
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I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard book
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  1. Ready or Not, Woolbur Goes to School! - The free-spirited, fluffy, one-of-a-kind sheep Woolbur is on his way to school, and he’s MORE than ready… But Maa and Paa aren’t so sure. What if Woolbur isn’t exactly ready for school? He’s different. He’s unusual. And his new hairdo is kooky! At school, Woolbur loves trying new things like drawing outside of the lines and eating grass. (No wonder his parents were worried!) The rest of his classmates are nervous about their first day and aren’t excited about trying anything new. Will Woolbur’s excitement help show his friends that doing something different, or unusual, or kooky is the best way to get ready for school? This charming yet spunky follow-up to the beloved Woolbur is the perfect gift for children who march to the beat of their own drum or anyone who needs a little encouragement on their first day of school.

  2. Hooray for Kids! - Every kid is a one-of-a-kind kid! Suzanne and Max Lang (Families, Families, Families!) bring us another joyful ode to diversity in this zippy rhyming celebration of kids of all stripes. Whether you’re a play-a-lot-of-ball kid, a hang-out-at-the-mall kid, a bake-delicious-pie kid, or an always-asking-why kid . . . when you read this book, you’ll be a laughing-till-you-cry kid! Children can find themselves in the hilarious menagerie and recognize their friends and classmates. The subtle anti-bullying message will make this a welcome addition to classroom libraries.

  3. I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard - Rose’s teacher gives stars for spelling and neatness and giving the right answer, but Rose can’t manage to do any of those things right. Will she ever get a star from Mrs. Benson? Rose is a distracted and creative soul. She does her best at school, but sometimes her mind wanders, and she answers the wrong question. Her reading voice is quiet, not strong and loud. And her desk?—?well, keeping her desk neat is a challenge. When it’s time to make thank-you cards for a class visitor, Rose’s art supplies turn her workspace?—and her?—?into a colorful mess. But her artistic skills shine through in the gorgeous oversize card she creates. Could she possibly get a star after all? A cheerful and empowering picture book for the child whose talents lie in unconventional areas, and those still searching for their strengths.

Books About Being Different and Culture

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Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written & illustrated by Anna Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Meet Danbi, the new girl at school! Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn't know the rules and just can't get anything right. Luckily, she isn't one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.
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Suki's Kimono
Written by Chieri Uegaki & 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.
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Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen
Written by Debbi Michiko Florence & illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
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?
Honorable Mentions
Tug of War book
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EveryBody's Different on EveryBody Street book
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Medio Pollito book
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Want to see books about culture?

Books About Being Different and Action And Adventure

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Mira and the Big Story
Written by Laura Alary & 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.
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The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories
Written & illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
In the second book of this lauded series, Fox and Chick are off on three new adventures involving a boat ride, a mysterious box, and an early morning trip to see the sunrise. Despite the antics ensuing from their opposite personalities, the contradictory duo always manages to find a happy center. This early chapter book in comic-book form is perfect for emerging readers, while the sweet and funny characters and captivating art hold appeal for picturebook audiences as well.
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Dead City
Written by James Ponti
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Seventh-grader Molly has always been an outsider, even at New York City's elite Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology, but that changes when she is recruited to join the Omegas, a secret group that polices and protects zombies.
Honorable Mentions
Unstoppable Max book
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The Misfits Club book
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Clive and His Bags book
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A Dragon in the Family book
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  1. Unstoppable Max - 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.

  2. The Misfits Club - 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

Books About Being Different and Friendship

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Worth a Thousand Words
Written by Brigit Young
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Ever since Tillie Green's car accident left her with a severe limp, she's kept herself hidden behind her camera. Through the lens, she watches her family and classmates, spotting the small details and secret glances that tell a much bigger story than what people usually see. Students call her "Lost and Found," because her camera knows when you last had your headphones. Tillie is good at finding things, but she isn't prepared for Jake's request: to find his father. In a matter of days, Tillie goes from silent observer to one half of a detective duo, searching the college-town community for clues to explain Jake's dad's disappearance. When the truth isn't what Jake wants it to be, and taking photographs starts exposing people's secrets, Tillie has to decide what (and who) is truly important to her.
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Freckleface Strawberry
Written by Julianne Moore & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
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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Hattie and Hudson
Written & illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A little girl and her colossal friend teach a monster-size lesson about prejudging others in a charming offering from Chris Van Dusen. Hattie McFadden is a born explorer. Every morning she grabs her life jacket and paddles out in her canoe to discover something new on the lake, singing a little song on her way. When her singing draws up from the depths a huge mysterious beast, everyone in town is terrified — except Hattie, who looks into the creature’s friendly, curious eyes and knows that this is no monster. So Hattie sneaks out at night to see the giant — whom she names Hudson — and the two become friends. But how can she make the frightened, hostile townspeople see that Hudson isn’t scary or dangerous at all? Chris Van Dusen brings his colorful, perspective-bending artwork to this satisfying new story about acceptance, friendship, and sticking up for those who are different.
Honorable Mentions
Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends book
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The Society of Distinguished Lemmings book
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Lost. Found. book
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Friends Forever book
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  1. Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends -

  2. The Society of Distinguished Lemmings - In a society of lemmings, can a bear ever belong? The Society of Distinguished Lemmings aims to be distinguished in abosultely everything. It takes an awful lot of rules to be so distinguished, including: no rolling around, no climbing about, and certainly no splashing in the mud! But Bertie has had quite enough of the society and all its rules. After venturing outside, Bertie discovers a bear, who is very unlike a lemming. With the bear’s help, Bertie learns that prancing about in the wild is quite a lot of fun! But when the other lemmings find out about the bear, they decide everything about him will have to change if he’s ever to fit in. Will the Society ever accept Bertie’s new friend, or is the bear simply too big and clumsy of a creature to be distinguished? This hilarious tale features valuable themes of finding new friends, challenging peers, and questioning the rules. Readers will return to the story again and again to discover the quirks of every distinguished lemming while also learning about the importance of staying true to yourself amidst pressure to conform.

  3. Lost. Found. - On a wintry day, a bear loses his soft red scarf. The wind carries it whoosh to a pair of raccoons who use it to play tug-o-war. When they run off, a beaver dons the scarf as the perfect winter hat…until it gets tangled on a tree branch. The scarf is lost and found by a series of animals, including a fox and a couple of rascally squirrels, who use it as everything from a swing to a trampoline. When all the animals lay claim to the scarf at once, calamity ensues that can only be fixed by a bear, a little patience, and friendship, in this nearly wordless, clever picture book.

  4. Friends Forever - “Croc is grumpy. Ally is happy. Croc sees a problem. Ally finds a solution. Whether it’s choosing new chairs, going for a walk, or looking for the moon, these best friends will always work together despite their differences”—

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