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45 Uplifting Children's Books That Promote Inclusivity

Looking for a list of books that celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity?

The world we live in is wonderfully diverse, and this list highlights children’s books that celebrate that diversity, particularly in their illustrations! Inspired by advice recently shared by author Christine Taylor-Butler—“In this time of stress people want to ‘flood’ their kids with books about racism. Please provide 20 joyful books for every one book on racism”—this list focuses on uplifting books that promote inclusivity.

We hope this growing list of kids books 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—we love to discover new books too!

Top 10 Books About Inclusivity

#1
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This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5
Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training! Paving the way to a future that’s bright. Helping the world with their skills, smarts, and might. Little trailblazers cause great big changes. In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.
#2
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Ruby Finds a Worry
Written & illustrated by Tom Percival
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
From the creator of Perfectly Norman comes a sensitive and reassuring story about what to do when a worry won't leave you alone. Meet Ruby--a happy, curious, imaginative girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It's not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . And a little bigger . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there's a great way to get rid of them too . . . This perceptive and poignant story is the perfect springboard for talking to children about emotional intelligence and sharing hidden anxieties.
#3
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I Am So Brave!
Written by Stephen Krensky & illustrated by Sara Gillingham
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
Celebrates a toddler's growing comfort with such things as hearing loud noises and being left with a babysitter.
#4
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When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree
Written by Jamie L. B. Deenihan & illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator's careful--and funny--instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all.
#5
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Big Papa and the Time Machine
Written by Daniel Bernstrom & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (*One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree*) and Shane Evans (*Chocolate Me!*) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford.** A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him. Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America. *“Wasn’t you scared?” “Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*
#6
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Ada Twist, Scientist
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Ada Twist’s head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie—stars of their own New York Times bestselling picture books Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer—Ada has always been endlessly curious. Even when her fact-finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments don’t go as planned, Ada learns the value of thinking her way through problems and continuing to stay curious.
#7
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Hurry Up!: A Book About Slowing Down
Written by Kate Dopirak & illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
An excellent reminder to take a breathe, enjoy our surroundings and breathe, especially for children whose schedules are becoming increasingly full in their (parents’) efforts to excel.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8
A busy boy and his dog learn to slow down and enjoy life together in this lyrical, rhyming picture book perfect for hurried families everywhere. For one busy boy, life is all hurry up, hurry down, hurry round and round and round! That is until he takes a big breath...and a big break...and slows down to see all the wonderful things in the world around him. From celebrated picture book creators Kate Dopirak and Christopher Silas Neal, this playful yet powerful picture book reminds us to be present, to be mindful, and to appreciate each moment.
#8
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Amazing Grace
Written by Mary Hoffman & illustrated by Caroline Binch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Although a classmate says that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.
#9
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The Day Saida Arrived
Written by Susana Gómez Redondo & illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
Wow—this book is powerful, beautiful, and meaningful. The illustrations are fantastic and unique, and the text matches and tells the story of two friends—one a new girl who implicitly immigrated from Morocco and the other an understanding, welcoming girl with the desire to help her new friend in her transition. The text is lyrical and slightly abstract, engaging enough for any adult to enjoy, yet children will also glean the basics. Some of the typography is a little tricky (but fun).
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
**Two girls forge a forever-friendship by learning each other's language. _The Day Saida Arrived_ demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders.** What happens when a new friend arrives who doesn't speak your language? A young girl searches for the words to help her friend feel welcome and happy in her new home, and along the way learns about differences and similarities in countries and words. The two forge a strong bond while they each learn the other's language, exploring the world around them. A joyous, lyrical text--including English translations and pronunciations and the complete Arabic alphabet--offers an accessible, fresh approach to talking about immigration. Paired with lushly vivid illustrations, _The Day Saida Arrived_ demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders. Printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks.
#10
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Bath! Bath! Bath!
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Bath time is fun! fun! fun! in this playful board book! Today we had such fun! fun! fun! But now the day is done! done! done! After a fun-filled day, it's time to go home and take a bath! From washing tiny toes and your little nose to making rubber ducky go quack! quack! quack!, bath time is fun! fun! fun! The rhyming text makes this the perfect read-along story to get little ones excited for bath time.
Table of Contents
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Books About Inclusivity and Girls And Women

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This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5
Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training! Paving the way to a future that’s bright. Helping the world with their skills, smarts, and might. Little trailblazers cause great big changes. In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.
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Amazing Grace
Written by Mary Hoffman & illustrated by Caroline Binch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Although a classmate says that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.
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Dream Big, Little One
Written & illustrated by Vashti Harrison
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
This beautifully illustrated book showcases women who changed the world. Featuring 18 trailblazing black women in American history, Dream Big, Little Leader is the irresistible board book adaptation of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. Among these women, you'll find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things - bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn't always accept them. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something bigand amazing, inspiring generations to come.
Honorable Mentions
You Be Mommy book
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Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré book
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Lola Loves Stories with Daddy book
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Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment book
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  1. You Be Mommy - One of life’s great ironies is that children fight sleep while their parents ache for it. Karla Clark’s playful picture book touches on this utterly relatable theme with humor and heart, providing a story mothers and children will delight in reading together at bedtime. Mommy’s too tired to be Mommy tonight. Can you be Mommy and hold me tight? Read me a story and pat my tummy? Wipe my nose when it gets runny? Check for monsters under the bed? Sing me a song and rub my head? She worked all day at the computer store. Came home to a big mess on the floor! Helped with homework—even MATH! Fed the dog and gave him a bath. Rhyming text makes for a great read-aloud as reader and listener wind down for bedtime. Parents and kids will both enjoy this wonderful story.

  2. Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré - An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature. When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy. Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life. Informative backmatter and suggested further reading included.

  3. Lola Loves Stories with Daddy - Bookworms big and small will be charmed by lovable Lola in this delightful sequel to LOLA AT THE LIBRARY that celebrates imagination and the love of reading. Lola loves to go to the library with her daddy. Every night she reads a new story, and the next day, she acts it out. One day she’s a fairy princess, the next day she goes on a trip to Lagos! She becomes a tiger, a farmer, a pilot. . . . what will Lola be next? Children and adults will love following along with Lola’s adventures. LOLA LOVES STORIES is a wonderful introduction to the power of reading and how it can inspire young minds at the earliest ages.

  4. Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment - When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn’t just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen—one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl’s imagination. When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation. Inspired by this visit, Parker, and her mother, Jessica Curry, tell the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment, in a moving picture book. Parker Looks Up follows Parker, along with her baby sister and her mother, and her best friend Gia and Gia’s mother, as they walk the halls of a museum, seeing paintings of everyone and everything from George Washington Carver to Frida Kahlo, exotic flowers to graceful ballerinas. Then, Parker walks by Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama…and almost passes it. But she stops…and looks up! Parker saw the possibility and promise, the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama. An everyday moment became an extraordinary one…that continues to resonate its power, inspiration, and indelible impact. Because, as Jessica Curry said, “anything is possible regardless of race, class, or gender.” FOREWORD BY ARTIST AMY SHERALD

Books About Inclusivity and Family

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Big Papa and the Time Machine
Written by Daniel Bernstrom & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (*One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree*) and Shane Evans (*Chocolate Me!*) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford.** A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him. Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America. *“Wasn’t you scared?” “Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*
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When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox
Written by Jamie L. B. Deenihan & illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
In this delightful story, by the same author who wrote When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree, a boy is disappointed with his grandfather’s gift—until he learns he can use it to build exactly what he wanted with his own two hands, and a little help from grandpa, of course! You asked for a special house for your dolls; but instead Grandpa gives you a toolbox! What do you do? Launching it into outer space is a bad idea. So is feeding it to a T. rex! Instead, be patient, pay attention, and you might find that you’re pretty handy. And just maybe, with grandpa’s help, you’ll get that dollhouse after all. This clever story celebrates kindness, hard work, and community, as well as variety in gender expression: the male main character proudly engages in activities that might be considered typically girl (playing with dolls) and typically boy (building with tools).
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When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree
Written by Jamie L. B. Deenihan & illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator's careful--and funny--instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all.
Honorable Mentions
Hike book
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Lola Reads to Leo book
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You See, I See: In the City book
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Allie All Along book
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  1. Hike - Take to the trails for a celebration of nature — and a day spent with dad. In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive — and closer than ever — as they document their hike and take their place in family history. In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air.

  2. Lola Reads to Leo - Lola reads story books to her new baby brother Leo, and even though Mommy and Daddy are busy, they still have time to read to Lola at bedtime.

  3. You See, I See: In the City - See the city through the eyes of a child and parent in this heartwarming exploration of a day spent together. You see a bustling city, I see adventure ahead! What will you see in the city? It depends on who you ask! As a parent and child visit the newspaper stand, the store, the park, and more, each points out what they can see . . . and their perspectives might surprise you! With spare, rhyming text and a bold limited palette, this simple board book captures the fun and tenderness of exploring new places together, and the joy of seeing the world through a child’s eyes. Don’t miss the first book in this series, You See, I See: On the Farm!

  4. Allie All Along - Poor Allie! She’s in a rage, stomping and smashing, throwing a tantrum, and having a fit. Is there a sweet little girl hiding somewhere under all the angry layers? With the help of her understanding big brother, she’s able to calm down, bit by bit, and become herself again. The illustrations’ varying hues and vibrant colors capture the powerful feelings that young children can’t always express in words.

Books About Inclusivity and Friendship

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Ruby Finds a Worry
Written & illustrated by Tom Percival
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
From the creator of Perfectly Norman comes a sensitive and reassuring story about what to do when a worry won't leave you alone. Meet Ruby--a happy, curious, imaginative girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It's not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . And a little bigger . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there's a great way to get rid of them too . . . This perceptive and poignant story is the perfect springboard for talking to children about emotional intelligence and sharing hidden anxieties.
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The Day Saida Arrived
Written by Susana Gómez Redondo & illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
Wow—this book is powerful, beautiful, and meaningful. The illustrations are fantastic and unique, and the text matches and tells the story of two friends—one a new girl who implicitly immigrated from Morocco and the other an understanding, welcoming girl with the desire to help her new friend in her transition. The text is lyrical and slightly abstract, engaging enough for any adult to enjoy, yet children will also glean the basics. Some of the typography is a little tricky (but fun).
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
**Two girls forge a forever-friendship by learning each other's language. _The Day Saida Arrived_ demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders.** What happens when a new friend arrives who doesn't speak your language? A young girl searches for the words to help her friend feel welcome and happy in her new home, and along the way learns about differences and similarities in countries and words. The two forge a strong bond while they each learn the other's language, exploring the world around them. A joyous, lyrical text--including English translations and pronunciations and the complete Arabic alphabet--offers an accessible, fresh approach to talking about immigration. Paired with lushly vivid illustrations, _The Day Saida Arrived_ demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders. Printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks.
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The Best Kind of Bear
Written by Greg Gormley & illustrated by David Barrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
When Nelly asks Bear what kind of bear he is, he isn't entirely sure how to answer. So off he goes to find out. But none of the different bears he meets on his travels are like him. Grizzly bears don’t have stitching; polar bears don’t have tags attached to their bottoms; spectacled bears are not as soft and bouncy as Bear is; and sun bears never wear bow ties. Disheartened, he returns to Nelly . . . only to discover what kind of bear he is — her own special bear!
Honorable Mentions
Our Favorite Day of the Year book
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Going Up! book
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Swashby and the Sea book
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  1. Our Favorite Day of the Year - A heartwarming picture book following a group of boys from different backgrounds throughout the school year as they become the best of friends. Musa’s feeling nervous about his first day of school. He’s not used to being away from home and he doesn’t know any of the other kids in his class. And when he meets classmates Moisés, Mo, and Kevin, Musa isn’t sure they’ll have much in common. But over the course of the year, the four boys learn more about each other, the holidays they celebrate, their favorite foods, and what they like about school. The more they share with each other, the closer they become, until Musa can’t imagine any better friends. In this charming story of friendship and celebrating differences, young readers can discover how entering a new friendship with an open mind and sharing parts of yourself brings people together. And the calendar of holidays at the end of the book will delight children as they identify special events they can celebrate with friends throughout the year.

  2. Going Up! - Today is Olive’s birthday party, and Sophie and her dad have baked cookies. Sophie’s dad holds the platter so Sophie can push the elevator button for the tenth floor. But on the way up, the elevator stops to let the Santucci brothers get on. Then on the next floor, Vicky, Babs and their dog, Norman, get in. And as the elevator ascends, it keeps stopping, and more neighbors squeeze in to the crowded space: the Habibs, the Flores family, Mr. Kwan, Vi Tweedle with her Chihuahua, Minx. Everyone is going to the party! Playfully combining the excitement and anticipation of a party with children’s universal love of riding in elevators, Sherry J. Lee’s picture book story is ultimately about community and a sense of belonging. With characters from many cultural backgrounds, it showcases the everyday diversity that many urban children experience. Charlene Chua’s illustrations provide loads of funny details and visual narratives that aren’t in the text, making for a multilayered reading experience. The book’s tall, narrow trim size adds to the effect of the rising elevator.

  3. Swashby and the Sea - From New York Times best-selling author Beth Ferry and Caldecott Honor winner Juana Martinez-Neal comes a sweet-and-salty friendship story perfect for pirate-lovers and fans of The Night Gardener. Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene. One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them. When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?

Want to see books about friendship?

Books About Inclusivity and Imagination And Play

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Hurry Up!: A Book About Slowing Down
Written by Kate Dopirak & illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
An excellent reminder to take a breathe, enjoy our surroundings and breathe, especially for children whose schedules are becoming increasingly full in their (parents’) efforts to excel.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8
A busy boy and his dog learn to slow down and enjoy life together in this lyrical, rhyming picture book perfect for hurried families everywhere. For one busy boy, life is all hurry up, hurry down, hurry round and round and round! That is until he takes a big breath...and a big break...and slows down to see all the wonderful things in the world around him. From celebrated picture book creators Kate Dopirak and Christopher Silas Neal, this playful yet powerful picture book reminds us to be present, to be mindful, and to appreciate each moment.
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Bath! Bath! Bath!
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Bath time is fun! fun! fun! in this playful board book! Today we had such fun! fun! fun! But now the day is done! done! done! After a fun-filled day, it's time to go home and take a bath! From washing tiny toes and your little nose to making rubber ducky go quack! quack! quack!, bath time is fun! fun! fun! The rhyming text makes this the perfect read-along story to get little ones excited for bath time.
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Tomorrow Most Likely
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Rather than focusing on going to bed—and what kid wants to think about going to bed?—this book explores all of the dreamy, wonderful, strange things the next day might bring. Whimsical, witty, and hopeful, this revolutionary rewriting of a classic goodnight book from bestselling author Dave Eggers and award-winning illustrator Lane Smith is a bedtime story for tomorrow ever after.
Honorable Mentions
What If... book
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Mayhem at the Museum: A Book in Pictures book
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Go, Grandma, Go! book
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A New Kind of Wild book
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  1. What If... - Creativity, the power of imagination, and the importance of self-expression are celebrated in this inspiring picture book written and illustrated by real-life best friends. This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance, and dream… Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit.

  2. Mayhem at the Museum: A Book in Pictures - Paintings and sculptures come to life when a young girl visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her classmates. What starts as just another tour of the museum becomes a joyful parade as the art, which must not be touched, touches the young museum-goers in surprising ways. Images of works in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are beautifully illustrated as dynamic characters by Luciano Lozano Raya in this wordless picture book. Famous paintings and sculptures from throughout the museum will be recognizable to adults while the mischievous breaking of the fourth wall will delight younger readers.

  3. Go, Grandma, Go! - Perfect for the grandmas who slide the slides, swing the swings, and love their grandchildren dearly, this charming board book celebrates the special relationship between grandmothers and their grandkids. Beep! Bop! Don’t stop! Go, Grandma, go! Climb high Touch the sky Go, Grandma, go! Grandma is on the go in this charming board book! From pushing the stroller, to swinging on the swings, to hiking up a mountain, grandma and grandchild are always having a ball! This board book perfectly captures the special bond that grandmothers have with their grandchildren.

  4. A New Kind of Wild - This sweet author-illustrator debut celebrates imagination, the magic of friendship, and all the different ways we make a new place feel like home. For Ren, home is his grandmother’s little house, and the lush forest that surrounds it. Home is a place of magic and wonder, filled with all the fantastical friends that Ren dreams up. Home is where his imagination can run wild. For Ava, home is a brick and cement city, where there’s always something to do or see or hear. Home is a place bursting with life, where people bustle in and out like a big parade. Home is where Ava is never lonely because there’s always someone to share in her adventures. When Ren moves to Ava’s city, he feels lost without his wild. How will he ever feel at home in a place with no green and no magic, where everything is exactly what it seems? Of course, not everything in the city is what meets the eye, and as Ren discovers, nothing makes you feel at home quite like a friend. Inspired by the stories her father told her about moving from Puerto Rico to New York as a child, Zara González Hoang’s author-illustrator debut is an imaginative exploration of the true meaning of “home.”

Books About Inclusivity and Performing Arts

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Hosea Plays On
Written by Kathleen M. Blasi & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9
This heartwarming picture book (based on a true story) depicts a day in the life of Hosea Taylor, a musician who—with his charm, talent, and generosity—brought joy to everyone he met. Every day, Hosea takes the Number 42 bus into the city to play his shiny brass saxophone—and to hopefully earn enough money. Setting up in his favorite place, Hosea makes sweet music as people greet him with a smile, a little girl dances, and crowds surround him. A surprise ending reveals what the money is really for. Kathleen Blasi’s delightful text and Shane Evan’s colorful images capture the real-life closeness between the much-loved Hosea—who shared his passion for music and life with everyone—and his community. An Author's Note explains how Blasi learned about Hosea Taylor (1948-2016), and what compelled her to write his story.
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Music Is . . .
Written by Brandon Stosuy & illustrated by Amy Martin
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
From music writer and The Creative Independent/Kickstarter Editor in Chief Brandon Stosuy, comes an entertaining new board book that introduces the many moods, styles, and senses of music to the youngest audiophiles—because music is for everyone, and music is for you. Featuring Amy Martin’s dynamic art style, Music Is… explains music through our eyes and ears so that the sense of hearing is transformed into a visual experience. A pitch-perfect board book that is sure to strike a chord with readers of all ages.
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Salsa Lullaby
Written by Jen Arena & illustrated by Erika Meza
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
How to get baby to sleep? Mami and Papi will try anything in this bouncy, loving, bilingual lullaby that gently says good night in both Spanish and English. Mami starts a salsa song. Papi keeps the beat. Baby loves this lullaby, moves those dancing feet. Baila, baby, baila! Dance, dance, dance. When nighttime falls, it's time for baby to go to sleep. In this household, that means it's also time for mama, papa, and baby to baila/dance, canta/sing, salta/jump, and more all the way to bedtime! This bouncy bilingual text and gorgeous, inviting illustrations gently wind down to make this a bedtime favorite no matter what language families say "good night" in!
Honorable Mentions
Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina book
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Goodnight, Little Dancer book
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I Got the Rhythm book
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  1. Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina - An inspiring picture book for little ballerinas everywhere! Ready to Fly is the true story of Sylvia Townsend, an African American girl who falls in love with ballet after seeing Swan Lake on TV. Although there aren’t many ballet schools that will accept a girl like Sylvia in the 1950s, her local bookmobile provides another possibility. A librarian helps Sylvia find a book about ballet and the determined seven-year-old, with the help of her new books, starts teaching herself the basics of classical ballet. Soon Sylvia learns how to fly—how to dance—and how to dare to dream. Lyrical, easy-to-read, and affecting text paired with bright, appealing illustrations make Ready to Fly perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere who are ready to leap and to spread their wings. Includes a foreword from Sylvia Townsend, a brief history of the bookmobile, an author’s note, and a further reading list.

  2. Goodnight, Little Dancer - In this soothing, gentle rhyming picture book, author Jennifer Adams bids sweet dreams to the youngest readers who identify as ballerinas by day and tender, sleepy children by night. With luminous art from illustrator Alea Marley, Goodnight, Little Dancer is sure to send little ones to sleep with twirling, dancing dreams. It’s time for bed now, little dancer.
    Time to tell the world goodnight.
    Let down your bun, shake out your hair.
    Breathe in, relax, and dim the light.

  3. I Got the Rhythm - On a simple trip to the park, the joy of music overtakes a mother and daughter. The little girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her- from butterflies, to street performers, to ice cream sellers everything is musical! She sniffs, snaps, and shakes her way into the heart of the beat, finally busting out in an impromptu dance, which all the kids join in on! Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison, capture the beat of the street, to create a rollicking read that will get any kid in the mood to boogie.

Books About Inclusivity and Self-esteem

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Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Written by Derrick Barnes & illustrated by Gordon C. James
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR, the Huffington Post , Publishers Weekly , Kirkus Reviews , the Los Angeles Times , the Boston Globe , the Horn Book Magazine , the News & Observer , BookPage , Chicago Public Library, and more The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices. A fresh cut makes boys fly. This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.
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Sulwe
Written by & illustrated by Vashti Harrison and Lupita Nyong'o
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within. Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything. In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.
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I Promise
Written by LeBron James & illustrated by Nina Mata
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**NBA champion and cultural icon LeBron James pens a slam-dunk picture book inspired by his foundation’s I PROMISE program that motivates children everywhere to always #StriveForGreatness.** Just a kid from Akron, Ohio, who is dedicated to uplifting youth everywhere, LeBron James knows the key to a better future is to excel in school, do your best, and keep your family close. _I Promise_ is a lively and inspiring picture book that reminds us that tomorrow’s success starts with the promises we make to ourselves and our community today. Featuring James’s upbeat, rhyming text and vibrant illustrations perfectly crafted for a diverse audience by _New York Times_ bestselling artist Nina Mata, this book has the power to inspire all children and families to be their best. Perfect for shared reading in and out of the classroom, _I Promise_ is also a great gift for graduation, birthdays, and other occasions.
Honorable Mentions
The King of Kindergarten book
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Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention book
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  1. The King of Kindergarten - A New York Times betseller! A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Crown. The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets.It sits and shines behind your head—like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten! Starting kindergarten is a big milestone—and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements—and then wake up to start another day. Newbery Honor-winning author Derrick Barnes’s empowering story will give new kindergarteners a reassuring confidence boost, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations exude joy.

  2. Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention - In this companion to the award-winning Izzy Gizmo, Izzy Gizmo returns (together with Grandpa and Fixer) in a charming and eccentric tale of ambition, perseverance, and finding your inner strength. Izzy Gizmo has been invited to Technoff Isle’s annual convention where the inventor of the best machine will win coveted admittance to the Genius Guild. Great inventors produce gadgets that can be put to good use, so Izzy Gizmo decides to build a recycling machine that mends broken tools. But with fearsome foe Abi von Lavish getting the best of her at every turn, can Izzy Gizmo and Fixer create the winning invention? Featuring the creative and much-loved heroine of color, this wonderfully exuberant story has serious points to make about the importance of make do and mend.

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