An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

Individuality: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about individuality?

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

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 individuality, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like One of a Kind to popular sellers like The Giver to some of our favorite hidden gems like A Bad Case of Stripes.

We hope this list of kids books about individuality 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.

Share this list

Top 10 Books About Individuality

#1
Add to list
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.

#2
Add to list
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!

#3
Add to list
A Girl and Her Gator
Written by Sean Bryan & illustrated by Tom Murphy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

One day, a girl discovers an alligator on her head and, although she is afraid her friends will laugh, the ‘gator soon convinces her that she can still give her brother a scare, eat an eclair, and choose anything to wear as long as he is there.

#4
Add to list
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.

#5
Add to list
Not Your Typical Dragon
Written by Dan Bar-el & illustrated by Tim Bowers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When Crispin Blaze turns 7 years old, he’s expected to breathe fire like all the other dragons, but instead of fire, he breathes a host of most unusual things. By the illustrator of Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi.

#6
Add to list
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
Add to list
Giraffes Can't Dance
Written by Giles Andreae & illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Gerald the giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance, until he finds the right music. On board pages.

#8
Add to list
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!

#9
Add to list
New Kid
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

#10
Add to list
The Art of Miss Chew
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

After spending the summer with her artist grandmother, Trisha knows she wants to be an artist, too. She’s thrilled when her sketches get her into Miss Chew’s special art class at the high school. A substitute teacher tells her she’s wasting time on art when she should be studying – but fortunately, this is one battle that Miss Chew and Trisha are up for!

This true story shows just how important a teacher can be in a child’s life – and celebrates the power of art itself.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Individuality and...

Books About Individuality and Sisters

Add to list
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!

Add to list
Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly
Written by Alan Madison & illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Velma starts first grade in the shadow of her memorable older sisters, and while her newfound interest in butterflies helps her to stand out, it also leads to an interesting complication.

Add to list
Masha and Her Sisters
Written by & illustrated by Suzy Ultman
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Meet Masha and her sisters in this charming die-cut novelty board book inspired by Russian nesting dolls. Featuring shaped pages with brightly painted edges, and culminating in a satisfying finale, these nestled dolls reinforce a sweet message: they may be different, but they’re a perfect fit!

Honorable Mentions
The Two Mutch Sisters book
Add to list
Not Exactly the Same! book
Add to list
Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! book
Add to list
Always Twins book
Add to list
  1. The Two Mutch Sisters - Ruby and Violet Mutch, a matched pair, have always collected things in pairs, but when their house will no longer hold everything, Ruby packs her things and moves out.

  2. Not Exactly the Same! - Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles. Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving—people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.

  3. Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! - Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles. Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving—people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.

  4. Always Twins - “You two are just alike!” everyone tells duckling twins Olivia and Lily. But while Olivia likes to “jump in the mud,” run around, and quack so everyone can hear, Lily prefers studying and daydreaming. These different activities don’t always work well together, and eventually the twins grow annoyed by their differences and head off in opposite directions. But the twins can’t stand to be apart for long. Lily comes looking for Olivia only to find her stuck in a tree. An adventure ennsues then ends in a frightening tumble. Finally safe, the twins realize that while sometimes they are the same and sometimes they are different, one thing is certain: they are “always twins.”

Want to see books about sisters?

Books About Individuality and Confidence

Add to list
Giraffes Can't Dance
Written by Giles Andreae & illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Gerald the giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance, until he finds the right music. On board pages.

Add to list
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!

Add to list
Exclamation Mark
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A punctuation mark feels bad that he doesn’t fit in with the others until a friend reveals the possibilities that exist when differences are accepted.

Honorable Mentions
It's OK To Be Different book
Add to list
Sweety book
Add to list
  1. It's OK To Be Different - It’s okay to need some help. It’s okay to be a different color. It’s okay to talk about your feelings. From the bestselling author Todd Parr comes a reassuring book about being who you are. Told with Todd Parr’s signature wit and wisdom, It’s Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format. The book features the bold, bright colors and silly scenes that made Todd a premiere voice for emotional discussions in children’s literature. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book will inspire kids to celebrate their individuality through acceptance of others and self-confidence—and it’s never to early to develop a healthy self-esteem. It’s Okay to be Different is designed to encourage early literacy, enhance emotional development, celebrate multiculturalism and diversity, and promote character growth.

  2. Sweety - Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat, but with encouragement from her Aunt Ruth, she begins to see that being herself is the best way to find a friend.

Books About Individuality and Clothing

Add to list
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.

Add to list
The Right One for Roderic
Written & illustrated by Violeta Noy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

What happens when one little ghost wants to stand out? All ghosts wear white sheets. That’s just what ghosts do. White sheets are good for haunting people, and they make the ghosts feel like part of one big family. But one little ghost named Roderic wants to wear something different. He tries all sorts of things: a bag, a rug, a boot. Can he find the right one for him? Find out in this colorful picture book from debut author-illustrator Violeta Noy.

Add to list
Hiding Heidi
Written & illustrated by Fiona Woodcock
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A beautiful and enchanting story by exciting new talent Fiona Woodcock, about a little girl with an amazing gift for concealing herself. Meet Heidi—if you can find her, that is! Heidi is the best at hiding: in school, at the playground, or in the park. Heidi’s friends know how much she loves hiding, so they always let her play and win. But Heidi learns the importance of sharing the limelight with other people when being too good at hiding makes her miss all the other fun her friends are having—and how much more fun it can be when you appreciate what your friends are good at too! She learns Freddie is great at bouncing on hippity-hops, Katie is sensational at roller-skating, and Lizzie is incredible at climbing. Heidi then realizes that she has fun doing the activities her friends like, even if she isn’t the best.

Honorable Mentions
Sadie and the Silver Shoes book
Add to list
Ogilvy book
Add to list
Suki's Kimono book
Add to list
Angus All Aglow book
Add to list
  1. Sadie and the Silver Shoes - 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Suki's Kimono - 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.

  4. Angus All Aglow - Angus loves sparkly things,so much so that he can hear them.To Angus,shiny objects not only look beautiful; they also crackle, buzz and go whiz-bang-POP! His unique ability is lost, however, when Angus wears his grandma’s beaded necklace to school, and his classmates tease him for his atypical choice. Saddened by their laughter, Angus stops hearing the sparkle. A gentle story of acceptance, generosity and friendship, Angus All Aglow reminds us that it only takes one kind gesture to restore your sparkle, and returning the kindness can make you glow from the inside out.

Want to see books about clothing?

Books About Individuality and Self-acceptance

Add to list
Not Your Typical Dragon
Written by Dan Bar-el & illustrated by Tim Bowers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When Crispin Blaze turns 7 years old, he’s expected to breathe fire like all the other dragons, but instead of fire, he breathes a host of most unusual things. By the illustrator of Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi.

Add to list
Little Juniper Makes It BIG
Written & illustrated by Aidan Cassie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What Juniper lacks in size, she makes up for in heart. And her heart is dead-set on growing up and getting taller. She’s tired of having to reach for the cookie jar or use a stepping stool for the toilet. Everything in Juniper’s world seems to be made for adults. Ugh! Juniper is industrious, however, and builds several silly contraptions to help reach her goals. But it isn’t until she makes a fun new friend at school, Clove, who is even smaller than Juniper, that she is able to see her world from a new perspective — and appreciate all sizes, big or small. Aidan Cassie, the creator of Sterling, Best Dog Ever, employs her pitch-perfect humor and heartwarming illustrations here again to help little ones love themselves at any size.

Add to list
I Am Enough
Written by Grace Byers & illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Choice Awards picture book winner!

This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation.

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

Honorable Mentions
The Curvy Tree book
Add to list
Mabel: A Mermaid Fable book
Add to list
Leila in Saffron book
Add to list
It's Okay to Be a Unicorn! book
Add to list
  1. The Curvy Tree - 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!

  2. Mabel: A Mermaid Fable - A lovely and laugh-out-loud picture book from the award-winning author of Rude Cakes and Most Marshmallows. A silly read-aloud tale for kids about being yourself! Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses. The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another humorous tale about being true to yourself. • A delightful, inspiring read-aloud book for toddlers that celebrates gender diversity and difference • Stylish, accessible art brings this story of being true to yourself to hilarious life. • Rowboat Watkins is a 2010 Sendak Fellow and Ezra Jack Keats honoree. Young readers of Julian Is a Mermaid, Mary Wears What She Wants, and Exclamation Mark will find much to love in this tale that celebrates individuality and acceptance.

  3. Leila in Saffron - A colorful journey of self-discovery and identity, this sweet, vibrant picture book follows young Leila as she visits her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner, and finds parts of herself and her heritage in the family, friends, and art around her. Sometimes I’m not sure if I like being me. When Leila looks in the mirror, she doesn’t know if she likes what she sees. But when her grandmother tells her the saffron beads on her scarf suit her, she feels a tiny bit better. So, Leila spends the rest of their family dinner night on the lookout for other parts of her she does like. Follow Leila’s journey as she uses her senses of sight, smell, taste, touch to seek out the characteristics that make up her unique identity, and finds reasons to feel proud of herself, just as she is.

  4. It's Okay to Be a Unicorn! - An inspiring picture book, Jason Tharp’s It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn features a unicorn pretending to be a horse―until he learns to embrace his true self. Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is known among all the other horses in Hoofington for his beautiful and creative handmade hats. But Cornelius is hiding a secret under his own tall, pointy hat: He’s really a unicorn. Hoofington is a friendly place, but its horses pass on lots of mean rumors about unicorns. When Cornelius is chosen to perform for this year’s Hoofapalooza, will he find the courage to show everyone his unicorniness? It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn is an inspiring story about the rainbow magic of kindness.

Books About Individuality and Kindness

Add to list
The Monster Who Lost His Mean
Written by Tiffany Strelitz Haber & illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Teased by the other monsters for being nice instead of mean, Onster prefers playing with children and helping them with their chores to frightening them.

Add to list
That's Not How You Do It!
Written & illustrated by Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Lucy knows how to do everything. All her friends ask her for help if they need to know the right way to do something. When Toshi arrives, Lucy thinks he can’t do anything properly at all. She can barely hide her frustration. When she finally tries to teach Toshi the right way to do things, she learns a very important lesson herself.

Add to list
Friends Stick Together
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rupert is a rhinoceros of refined sensibilities. Levi, the new tickbird in class, is not. He burps the alphabet, tells corny jokes, and does really embarrassing air guitar solos. Worse, he lands right on Rupert and is determined to be Rupert’s symbiotic best pal! Rupert wants him gone. But when Levi finally does bug off, Rupert finds the peace and quiet a little boring. It turns out, Rupert could really use a friend like Levi.

Honorable Mentions
The Boy Who Grew Flowers book
Add to list
Dazzling Travis book
Add to list
Extraordinary Jane book
Add to list
Maximillian Villainous book
Add to list
  1. 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

  2. Dazzling Travis - Travis sets no limits to what he enjoys doing. Shopping and football, ballet and dress-up make Travis a one of a kind boy! But when some of the kids on the playground begin to pick on him, Travis truly dazzles. This empowering story encourages both boys and girls to challenge the social norm, revealing their true selves.

  3. Extraordinary Jane - Jane the dog doesn’t have a unique talent in the circus like the rest of her family, until the ringmaster discovers what is truly special about her

  4. Maximillian Villainous - For anyone who loved Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, this is a humorous and important book about learning to follow your heart and proving that kindness can outweigh villainy any day. Maximillian Villainous is a monster who doesn’t have the heart to be a villain. His famous family pulls pranks on the likes of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and Max spends his time undoing them. So when he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, Max’s disapproving mother hatches a plan. She challenges Max and the bunny to become a devious duo; otherwise . . . the bunny hops. If they want to stay together, Max and the bunny have no choice but to go against their nature. They blunder into villainy with comical effect until Max discovers that embracing his good heart may just be the key to pulling off the most devious deed of all and winning his family’s acceptance. Delightfully fun and irreverent, Maximillian Villainous is an empowering story about embracing one’s true self and finding acceptance. Up and coming illustrator Lesley Breen Withrow brings the characters to life with bold and colorful illustrations in a style reminiscent of Richard Scarry.

Want to see books about kindness?

Books About Individuality and Belonging

Add to list
The Day You Begin
Written by Jacqueline Woodson & illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

(This book is also available in Spanish, as El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres!)

Add to list
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?

Add to list
Cuckoo!
Written & illustrated by Fiona Roberton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Cuckoo hatches. And all is well. But when his brothers and sisters sing out Too-too-weet! Too-too-weet! Cuckoo instead chirps Cuckoo! and no one can understand him. When he leaves his nest, Cuckoo still can’t find anyone who speaks his language. He tries to communicate with the other animals—coomooing and buckooing and cabooing along the way—but he doesn’t sound like anyone else out there! Just when he thinks all is lost, Cuckoo finds an unlikely friend who understands him perfectly.

Honorable Mentions
Chocolate Me! book
Add to list
Stumpkin book
Add to list
Rumple Buttercup book
Add to list
What Matters Most book
Add to list
  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. Stumpkin - 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?

  3. Rumple Buttercup - A charming and inspiring story written and illustrated by Criminal Minds actor/director, Matthew Gray Gubler. Rumple Buttercup has five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and his left foot is slightly bigger than his right. He is weird. Join him and Candy Corn Carl (his imaginary friend made of trash) as they learn the joy of individuality as well as the magic of belonging.

  4. What Matters Most - A young horse discovers that whatever our differences, love connects us all. What matters most of all to you? What matters most to me? Let’s take a look around us, and maybe we will see.
    A small horse and a large horse celebrate their unconditional love in a sweet story full of gentle rhymes and foil-embellished illustrations. Beloved children’s book creator Emma Dodd explores important themes of identity and belonging in this warm and uplifting story of love.

Want to see books about belonging?

Books About Individuality and Imagination

Add to list
Julian Is a Mermaid
Written & illustrated by Jessica Love
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.

Add to list
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.

Add to list
Incredible You
Written by Rhys Brisenden & illustrated by Nathan Reed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ever had a bad day and wished that you were someone else? Perhaps a mountain gorilla? Or a fierce tiger? But wait . . . just think of all the amazing things that you can do! You can sing, you can write, and you can dream. And never stop being incredible you!

This picture book brings a breath of fresh air for young children, filled with positivity, zest, and energy.

Honorable Mentions
The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse book
Add to list
Happy Dreamer book
Add to list
Sarabella's Thinking Cap book
Add to list
Ally-Saurus and the Very Bossy Monster book
Add to list
  1. The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse - Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There’s a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there’s imagination. Filled with some of the most magnificently colorful animals of Eric Carle’s career, this tribute to the creative life celebrates the power of art.

  2. Happy Dreamer - A “dreamer maximus” describes the many ways one can dream, and the importance of being a happy dreamer.

  3. Sarabella's Thinking Cap - From the bestselling creator of Skippyjon Jones, a heartwarming story about the importance of imagination and creativity. Sarabella is always thinking—conjuring, daydreaming, and creating new worlds from her imagination. There is so much going on in her head that it can barely be contained. But there are times when daydreaming is decidedly not a good thing—like when you’re supposed to be doing multiplication tables. Luckily, Sarabella has an understanding teacher and with his encouragement She comes up with her own idea to show everyone who she is.

  4. Ally-Saurus and the Very Bossy Monster - What happens when a bossy new girl tries to make everyone play by her rules? Ally-saurus is back—and ROARING louder than ever! Ally-saurus and her friends always have lots of fun playing pretend. They stomp, they roar, they dance, each in their own way. But new girl Maddie wants everyone to play by HER rules. “Monsters can’t be dinosaurs or dancers,” she insists. Worst of all, she won’t let little Petee have his teddy bear! Can Ally-saurus help Maddie understand that bossiness is no fun at all? With charm and humor, Richard Torrey teaches a gentle lesson in respecting each other’s differences . . . and playing nice.

Books About Individuality and Birds

Add to list
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.

Add to list
The Party and Other Stories
Written & illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Fox and Chick don’t always agree. But Fox and Chick are always friends. With sly humor and companionable warmth, Sergio Ruzzier deftly captures the adventures of these two seemingly opposite friends. The luminous watercolor images showcased in comic-book panel form will entice emerging readers, while the spare text and airiness of the images make this early chapter book accessible to a picture book audience as well.

Add to list
Penguin Flies Home
Written & illustrated by Lita Judge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Penguin mastered his quest to soar with the eagles in Flight School—now he’s heading home to teach his friends in this sweet and inspiring stand-alone companion story!

Penguin loves everything about flying: the wind beneath his wings, the song that rises from his belly, and the sight of new and wonderful places.

Still, he misses his penguin friends in the South Pole. So, he flips and flaps back home, ready to teach them the magic of flight!

But when he arrives, his enthusiasm for flying doesn’t get quite the reaction he expected. Will Penguin’s friends still like him, even if they don’t share his soaring dreams?

Honorable Mentions
The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories book
Add to list
Keith Among the Pigeons book
Add to list
Beyond the Laughing Sky book
Add to list
I Can Fly book
Add to list
  1. The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories - 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.

  2. Keith Among the Pigeons - Keith feels different to the other cats, who don’t like to wash in bird baths or nap in the branches of trees. He begins to wonder if he actually is a cat. He’s always felt more comfortable when surrounded by pigeons, and he envies their way of life. But when he tries to join them, the birds see him as a cat and keep their distance. Is he a cat or a pigeon? Will he manage to find a way to be himself?

  3. Beyond the Laughing Sky - Ten-year-old Nashville doesn’t feel like he belongs with his family, in his town, or even in this world. He was hatched from an egg his father found on the sidewalk and has grown into something not quite boy and not quite bird. Despite the support of his loving parents and his adoring sister, Junebug, Nashville wishes more than anything that he could join his fellow birds up in the sky. After all, what’s the point of being part bird if you can’t even touch the clouds?

  4. I Can Fly - Penguin wants to fly like other birds, but he has trouble doing so when he tries! Penguin is confused because he has wings and can flap, waddle, and leap like other birds, but he lands flat on his stomach when he tries to fly. When Penguin asks his dad why he can’t fly, his father tells him that penguins swim. But Penguin doesn’t want to accept this! Will he be able to find a way to fly?

Books About Individuality and Making Friends

Add to list
Reptile Club, The
Written by Maureen Fergus & illustrated by Elina Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

There are lots of clubs for Rory to join at his new school, but none seem quite right for him. So when his parents suggest he start his own club about something he loves, Rory knows exactly what it will be: a Reptile Club! He’s positive that there are other kids out there who share his passion. He sets up his first meeting and then waits and waits for students to show up. Just as he is about to give up, Rory hears whispering in the hallway and hurries over to see who it is. To his astonishment, it’s not his schoolmates who have arrived to attend the first meeting, but a crocodile, an anaconda and a gecko!

Add to list
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.

Add to list
Chamelia and the New Kid in Class
Written & illustrated by Ethan Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Chamelia is a chameleon who loves to stand out in a crowd. She’s always the star of the show, especially at school. But when a new kid in class becomes the center of attention, Chamelia feels left out. Can she figure out how to beat her competition? Or will she learn to share the spotlight and make a new best friend? Join the fabulous Chamelia in this funny and charming story about friendship, school, and the true meaning of being a star!

Honorable Mentions
My Cousin Momo book
Add to list
Geraldine book
Add to list
  1. My Cousin Momo - Momo is coming to visit, and his cousins are SO excited! But even though Momo is a flying squirrel, he won’t fly for his cousin’s friends. Plus, his games are weird. He can’t even play hide and seek right! But when Momo’s cousins give his strange ways a chance, they realize that doing things differently can be fun…almost as much fun as making a new friend.

  2. Geraldine - No, no, NO! Geraldine is NOT moving. Not to this new town where she’s the only giraffe. Not to this new school where she has no friends. Not to this new place, where everyone only knows her as That Giraffe Girl. But soon Geraldine meets Cassie, a girl who is just as much of an outcast as she is, and as time goes by, she realizes that being yourself and making one really good, unusual friend can help someone who literally stands out fit right in. Together, Geraldine and Cassie play by their own rules.

Books About Individuality and Best Friends

Add to list
The Perfect Picnic
Written & illustrated by Ciara Flood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A hilarious story from the author of Those Pesky Rabbits about friendship, perfectionists, and losing your sandwiches.

Squirrel and Mole are the best of friends, and they do everything together, including going on picnics. But while Mole doesn’t really mind where they have a picnic, Squirrel is very determined that this picnic will be PERFECT, and that means finding the perfect place. But does such a thing exist?

Add to list
Quinny & Hopper
Written by Adriana Brad Schanen & illustrated by Greg Swearingen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Quinny has a lot to say. Hopper gets to the point.

Quinny has one speed: very, very, extra-very fast. Hopper proceeds with caution.

Quinny has big ideas. Hopper has smart solutions.

Quinny and Hopper couldn’t be more different. They are an unstoppable team.

But when summer ends, things suddenly aren’t the same. Can Quinny and Hopper stick together in the face of stylish bullies, a killer chicken, and the brand-new Third Grade Rules-especially the one that says they aren’t allowed to be friends anymore?

Add to list
Cyril and Pat
Written & illustrated by Emily Gravett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From author-illustrator Emily Gravett comes a warm and funny picture book about friendship and loving someone different from yourself. Cyril is a squirrel. Pat is a rat. They have a lot of adventures and fun together. But no one else thinks they should be friends. In Emily Gravett’s brilliantly funny story, two friends learn that some things are more important than being the same, or following others.

Honorable Mentions
Croc & Turtle: Snow Fun! book
Add to list
Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm book
Add to list
I'm Not book
Add to list
  1. Croc & Turtle: Snow Fun! - Croc & Turtle may be different, but they’re the best of friends! This adorable winter-themed story will warm your heart, and is perfect for fans of Penguin and Pinecone. Croc and Turtle are best friends! It’s a wintry day, so Croc and Turtle are ready for snow fun! But Croc likes outside activities and Turtle likes inside activities. What happens when best friends have very different ideas of fun? In this new humorous and heartwarming adventure, Croc and Turtle navigate the ups and downs of friendship.

  2. Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm - Get ready for a rainy-day adventure with Duck and Hippo! Duck and Hippo may be completely different, but they are best friends. When playful Duck invites careful Hippo to go for a walk in the rain, they have trouble sharing Duck’s umbrella. But Duck and Hippo won’t let that stop them. Soon they are puddle-jumping and sailing down the river! Until…WHOOOSH! A terrible wind sends the umbrella flying up, up, up into the air, with one friend holding on. What will Duck and Hippo do now? Jonathan London’s charming text and Andrew Joyner’s delightful art bring to life two lovable friends in this fun new series.

  3. I'm Not - A young girl discovers that best friends can enjoy and do well at different things as long as they are good at being friends.

Books About Individuality and Peer Pressure

Add to list
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.”

Add to list
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!

Add to list
The Hueys in The New Sweater
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The Hueys are small and mischievous, unique compared to the world’s other creatures–but hardly unique to one another. You see, each Huey looks the same, thinks the same, and does the same exact things. So you can imagine the chaos when one of them has the idea of knitting a sweater! It seems like a good idea at the time–he is quite proud of it, in fact–but it does make him different from the others. So the rest of the Hueys, in turn, decide that they want to be different too! How? By knitting the exact same sweater, of course!

The first in a series of child-friendly concept books by the #1 bestselling artist of The Day the Crayons Quit, How to Catch a Star, Stuck, and This Moose Belongs to Me, The New Sweater proves that standing apart can be accomplished even when standing together.

Honorable Mentions
Prudence the Part-Time Cow book
Add to list
The Society of Distinguished Lemmings book
Add to list
  1. Prudence the Part-Time Cow - Prudence looks like a full-time cow―she wanders through pastures, she swats flies, and she lines up for supper. But Prudence is a part-time cow―she is also a scientist, an architect, and an inventor, studying and building and dreaming and creating. To the other cows in the herd, Prudence is a bit too part-time. She’s just too different to be part of the herd. At first Prudence tries to fit in, suppressing all her scientific smarts and imaginative inventing. But in a moment of inspiration―Cow Power!―Prudence realizes how to show the others that she can be a part-time cow and a full-time member of the herd. Funny and sweet, this is a story for anyone who’s ever felt a bit different.

  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.

Books About Individuality and Girls And Women

Add to list
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.

Add to list
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink
Written by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple & illustrated by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

These princesses dig in the dirt, kick soccer balls, and splash in muddy puddles — all in their sparkly crowns!

Add to list
What's My Superpower?
Written by Aviaq Johnston & illustrated by Tim Mack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-18

Nalvana feels like all of her friends have some type of superpower. She has friends with super speed (who always beat her in races), friends with super strength (who can dangle from the monkey bars for hours), and friends who are better than her at a million other things. Nalvana thinks she must be the only kid in town without a superpower. But then her mom shows Nalvana that she is unique and special, and that her superpower was right in front of her all along.

Honorable Mentions
Under My Hijab book
Add to list
Tough Chicks book
Add to list
Matchy Matchy book
Add to list
Banana Pants! book
Add to list
  1. Under My Hijab - Grandma’s hijab clasps under her chin. Auntie pins hers up with a whimsical brooch. Jenna puts a sun hat over hers when she hikes. Iman wears a sports hijab for tae kwon do. As a young girl observes the women in her life and how each covers her hair a different way, she dreams of the possibilities in her own future and how she might express her personality through her hijab. With cheerful rhyming text by acclaimed author Hena Khan, and charming illustrations from talented newcomer Aaliya Jaleel, Under My Hijab provides a friendly introduction to hijabs for all readers, and celebrates the many Muslim women and girls who choose to wear them.

  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. Matchy Matchy - Maria always matches, but Maria doesn’t want to be so matchy matchy. One day she mixes it up in this colorful and quirky picture book Thanks to Mom, everything about Maria matches—her clothes, her socks, her underwear, her backpack, and her lunchbox. Maria even matches the dog, the duvet, and the doilies. But Maria doesn’t want to be so matchy matchy. She wants to mix it up! Feathers and fringe! Pom-poms and plaid! Spikes and spots! Leopard and lace! Tie-dye and tutus! One day she does just that and asserts her very own unique style

  4. Banana Pants! - Princess Miranda and Not-a-Princess Maude are total opposites and totally best friends! Fed up with nonstop testing, Miranda and Maude’s teacher makes a surprise announcement: They are going to put on a school play! And, the class decides, it will be called Banana Pants! School is finally a joy, and the project inspires the girls to fight for more positive change. Maude decides to wage a campaign against Styrofoam lunch trays, and she thinks she has the perfect powerful ally in Miranda. But, much to Maude’s frustration, Miranda would rather focus on her own good cause: love! The girls can’t seem to see eye to eye, and in pursuing their good causes separately, they go way too far, resulting in the friendship’s first-ever fight.

Books About Individuality and Multicultural

Add to list
New Kid
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Add to list
One of These Is Not Like the Others
Written by Barney Saltzberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

Add to list
Only a Tree Knows How to Be a Tree
Written & illustrated by Mary Murphy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

All living creatures have a special place in the world in this extraordinary exploration of the concept of self for very young readers.

Only I know how to be me.
Only you know how to be you.

Trees have leaves that turn sunshine into food. Amazing! Birds build nests, sing songs, hatch eggs, and fly. Dogs are our friends and can move their ears to tell us how they feel, while fish live in water, flashing like jewels. As for people, every person on Earth is different, each with their own thoughts and feelings. With a simple narrative and joyful, welcoming illustrations celebrating a world full of remarkable creatures, Mary Murphy reminds little ones that we are all unique, and that we are the only ones who know how to be us.

Honorable Mentions
How Do You Dance? book
Add to list
A Normal Pig book
Add to list
Black, White, Just Right book
Add to list
Baby Day book
Add to list
  1. How Do You Dance? - A playful picture book that urges readers to bop, bounce, and shake from the author of Fraidyzoo There are so many ways to dance! You can jiggle or wiggle or stomp. You can bop or bounce or go completely nuts. You can dance at the market or the bus stop, with your fingers or your face. You can dance because you’re happy or even because you’re sad. But, what’s the best way to dance? Exactly how you want to! In How Do You Dance?, author-illustrator Thyra Heder explores dance in all of its creativity, humor, and—most of all—joy, in a picture-book celebration of personal expression that will inspire young and old readers alike to get up and get moving.

  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. Baby Day - It’s a busy day for baby in this darling, cheeky, charming picture book celebrating the joy and chaos of a baby-filled day! Today is baby’s birthday. Happy baby! Here come baby’s friends. Hello! Shy baby. Friendly baby. Sunny baby. Hat on, baby! Strong baby. Smiley baby. Lazy baby. Wake up, baby! Who else will we meet? Now everyone together…Smile, babies!

Books About Individuality and Love

Add to list
You're All Kinds of Wonderful
Written & illustrated by Nancy Tillman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The beloved, bestselling Nancy Tillman returns with a picture book celebrating what makes every child special in their own way. Part of growing up is discovering—and embracing—what makes us unique. From different abilities to different personalities, we are all wonderfully made with our own bells and whistles.

Add to list
On the Night You Were Born
Written & illustrated by Nancy Tillman
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

On the night you were born, you brought wonder and magic to the world. The moon stayed up till morning. Polar bears danced. Here is a book that celebrates the one and only ever you! Now available in its entirety in board book format, Nancy Tillman’s masterpiece is perfect for acknowledging the special people in our lives that they are loved.

Add to list
Love Monster
Written & illustrated by Rachel Bright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Love Monster is a slightly hairy monster trying to fit in with the cuddly residents of Cutesville. But as it turns out, it’s hard to fit in with the cute and the fluffy when you’re a googly-eyed monster. And so, Love Monster sets out to find someone who will love him just the way he is. His journey is not easy―he looks high, low, and even middle-ish. But as he soon finds out, in the blink of a googly eye, love can find you when you least expect it.

Look out for Love Monster and the Perfect Present, coming in Fall 2014.

Honorable Mentions
The Amazing Idea of You book
Add to list
I Love You Already book
Add to list
Brothers book
Add to list
  1. The Amazing Idea of You - Fans of Emily Winfield Martin will delight in this loving, gorgeously illustrated story that celebrates new life. Hidden inside every living thing is an idea. That idea can sprout, sing, wriggle, take wing . . . into something amazing! Exploring beginnings both small and great, The Amazing Idea of You bonds the human and natural worlds in a lyrical burst of celebration. So dig deep, fly high, look around, and find the extraordinary inside everything . . . including YOU!

  2. I Love You Already - Bear can’t wait to spend a pleasant day by himself. But his persistent next-door neighbor, Duck, wants to take a morning stroll . . . with Bear. He just wants Bear to like him already. . . Jory John, author of Penguin Problems and The Bad Seed, and Benji Davies, creator of The Storm Whale, join together again to bring us this standout hilarious story of unrequited admiration that will leave children laughing at every page. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or any story time!

  3. Brothers - Sometimes brothers are different. Sometimes they’re alike. Some days brothers get along. Other days they don’t! But on this they agree: brothers stick together. Always. A sweet and humorous companion to David McPhail’s Sisters, a favorite since 1984, Brothers celebrates the lasting bond between siblings.

Want to see books about love?

Books About Individuality and First Concepts

Add to list
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.

Add to list
A Dog Is a Dog
Written & illustrated by Stephen Shaskan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A dog is a dog, right? Not so fast! From debut author-illustrator Stephen Shaskan comes this lively picture book that will keep young readers guessing (and giggling!) from beginning to end. With its wacky illustrations, bouncy text, and spot-on humor, A Dog Is a Dog is a fantastic read-aloud that kids will clamor to hear again and again.

Add to list
The Favorite Book
Written & illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the author-illustrator of Do You Believe in Unicorns? comes a sweet, colorful celebration of how we choose the things we love best.

Have you ever thought about how your favorite things became your favorites in the first place? Sometimes picking a favorite can be easy: you know from the moment you see it. And sometimes, selecting one can take a little longer as you consider all the options. The choice is yours: you can have many favorites or none at all. You might even find that your favorite changes. From colors to animals to the perfect hat, there are so many things to love . . . and even help you learn a little about yourself in the process. Playful and thought-provoking, this cheerful rhyming story encourages young readers to reflect on how they make decisions and pick their own favorite — or two.

Honorable Mentions
My Travelin' Eye book
Add to list
We Are Growing! book
Add to list
  1. My Travelin' Eye - Jenny Sue loves that her “travelin’ eye” lets her see the world in a special way, and so she is not happy when her teacher suggests that her parents take her to an opthamologist to fix the lazy eye.

  2. We Are Growing! - Walt and his friends are growing up fast! Everyone is the something-est. But . . . what about Walt? He is not the tallest, or the curliest, or the silliest. He is not the anything-est! As a BIG surprise inches closer, Walt discovers something special of his own!

Books About Individuality and Bears

Add to list
When I Draw a Panda
Written & illustrated by Amy June Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the acclaimed author and illustrator of The Big Umbrella comes a delightful celebration of creativity and gumption about a girl and her panda that’s Calvin and Hobbes meets If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!

Sometimes when they say to draw a perfect circle, mine turn out a little wonky.
I can draw a perfect fluffy cloud, a perfect scoop of ice cream, and a perfect flat tire.
So when I draw a panda, I keep drawing more and more not-perfect circles until I see a panda.
Then I step back and think, Does it need something else? He probably needs a hat, and then he is my panda.

When a girl draws a panda, it comes to life and helps her embrace her own creativity and unique way of seeing the world.

Add to list
Teaching Eddie to Fly
Written & illustrated by Katarina Macurova
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Laugh-out-loud picture book about embracing your own unique gifts.

Eddie is a bird, but he can’t fly! His friend Ernest, a bear, decides he’s going to help Eddie learn to fly—with hilarious and unanticipated results. Along the way, both Ernest and Eddie learn some valuable lessons. Is Eddie even meant to fly? Or is there something else he’s even better at?

Quirky and fun, Teaching Eddie to Fly will have kids laughing while challenging them to think about what they’re good at, and what makes them unique.

Add to list
Delivery Bear
Written by Laura Gehl & illustrated by Paco Sordo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Zogby wants to work for Fluffy Tail Cookies as a delivery animal—but he’s a bear and all the other animals are cute bunnies. Zogby tries to pretend to be a bunny by wearing bunny ears, putting on whiskers, and adding a fluffy tail. But he still scares the customers! When Zogby realizes being himself is best, can he find a way to stand out and get the job?

Honorable Mentions
Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland book
Add to list
A Splendid Friend, Indeed book
Add to list
Polar Opposites book
Add to list
Flo book
Add to list
  1. Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland - Will Chee-Kee ever fit in? The Loo family has traveled very far to start a new life. For little Chee-Kee Loo, everything is strange—he looks and feels so different. But when some bears find themselves in a jam, Chee-Kee might be just the right panda to save the day. In this heartfelt and lovable story, meet Chee-Kee the panda, a one-of-a-kind in all the best ways.

  2. A Splendid Friend, Indeed - Bear wants to read and write and think. Goose wants to talk and talk and talk. Can Bear and Goose be friends? Suzanne Bloom’s picture book says volumes about friendship with a few select words and charming illustrations in this Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

  3. Polar Opposites - Alex is a BIG polar bear. Zina is a tiny penguin. Alex lives in the Arctic. Zina lives in the Antarctic. Alex and Zina are polar opposites! They live on opposite sides of the world. Their personalities are very different, too. But they find a way to meet in the middle. Erik Brooks’s simple text and vibrant watercolor illustrations bring opposites to life in this lively look at two unusual best friends.

  4. Flo - A witty picture book, starring an adorable panda, that celebrates relaxing, stopping to smell the roses, and being yourself! Meet Flo! Flo is the littlest panda. She likes to explore, relax, and enjoy everything around her. She is never in a hurry. But . . . sometimes she takes too much time, and the other pandas get impatient. One day they find themselves in trouble. Can Flo’s floppy ways save the day? With Kyo Maclear’s sweet, spare text and Jay Fleck’s bold, bright illustrations, Flo is sure to be a favorite for even the busiest little pandas!

Want to see books about bears?

Books About Individuality and Self-discovery

Add to list
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.

Add to list
Most Marshmallows
Written & illustrated by Rowboat Watkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Most marshmallows are born into marshmallow families, play with marshmallow friends, and go to marshmallow school where they learn to be squishy. Most marshmallows read a book before bed and then fall asleep to dream ordinary marshmallow dreams. Is this book about most marshmallows? It isn’t. Because Rowboat Watkins knows that just like you, some marshmallows have big dreams, and just like you, these marshmallows can do anything they set their minds to. This sweet and silly book is an inspiring reminder that by being true to ourselves each of us can be truly extraordinary.

Add to list
Bea Rocks the Flock
Written & illustrated by Victoria Jamieson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Bored with hanging out with the flock where everyone is expected to act the same, Bea heads to the big city to live her life to the fullest, yet after taking on diverse tasks and experiencing all kinds of crazy things, Bea realizes that being different is only fun when you have friends around to share in the excitement.

Honorable Mentions
Bearnard's Book book
Add to list
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard book
Add to list
  1. Bearnard's Book - Bearnard’s Book by writer Deborah Underwood and illustrator Misa Saburi is a charming picture book about a bear who discovers that to shine in his own story, he just needs to be himself.

  2. 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 Individuality and Beauty

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

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

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

A CHRISTOPHER AWARD WINNER

WINNER OF THE BOLOGNA BOOK FAIR CRITICI IN ERBA PRIZE

AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ABBY AWARD WINNER

AN IRA-CBC CHILDREN’S CHOICE

#1 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER and WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

Add to list
Rot, the Cutest in the World!
Written & illustrated by Ben Clanton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rot, a mutant potato, enters a “Cutest in the World” contest but worries when he sees his competition.

Add to list
Smile
Written & illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

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

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

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

Want to see books about beauty?

Books About Individuality and Twins

Add to list
Lost and Found
Written by Andrew Clements & illustrated by Mark Elliott
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old identical twins Jay and Ray have long resented that everyone treats them as one person, and so they hatch a plot to take advantage of a clerical error at their new school and pretend they are just one.

Add to list
No Two Alike
Written & illustrated by Keith Baker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Follows a pair of birds on a snowflake-filled journey through a winter landscape, where everything everywhere, from branches and leaves to forests full of trees, is unique.

Add to list
Lucy and Henry Are Twins
Written by Elizabeth Winthrop & illustrated by Jane Massey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Lucy and her twin brother Henry take a trip to the park, where they each do their own thing, together.

Honorable Mentions
Jake and Lily book
Add to list
One of a Kind book
Add to list
  1. Jake and Lily - This is a story about me, Lily. And me, Jake. We’re twins and we’re exactly alike. Not exactly! Whatever. This is a book we wrote about the summer we turned eleven and Jake ditched me. Please. I just started hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood. Right. So anyway, this is a book about goobers and supergoobers bullies clubhouses true friends things getting built and wrecked and rebuilt and about figuring out who we are. We wrote this together (sort of) so you’ll get to see both sides of our story. But you’ll probably agree with my side. You always have to have the last word, don’t you? Yes!

  2. One of a Kind - 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.

Want to see books about twins?

Books About Individuality and Multigenerational

Add to list
Cannonball
Written by Sacha Cotter & illustrated by Josh Morgan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

He’s ready to make a splash!

I’m ready to pull off the perfect cannonball, but everyone has advice.
“You need more weight”
“Bigger shorts!”
“More muscles!”
“BIGGER SHORTS!”

All it really takes is listening to your own voice and finding the courage to make the perfect cannonball.

Add to list
My Name Is Wakawakaloch!
Written by Chana Stiefel & illustrated by Mary Sullivan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In this lighthearted picture book, the intrepid, determined, and savvy Wakawakaloch learns to embrace what makes her special while lifting up her neanderthal community. Perfect for fans of Vera Brosgol and Emily Hughes.

No one can pronounce Wakawakaloch’s name. Why couldn’t she be called something simple . . . like Gloop? That’s a name you can find on a T-shirt! But after a visit with her tribe’s elder, Wakawakaloch discovers what her name means, and how powerful names can be. Gloop may be easy to say, but the girl who helps her friends embrace differences and wear their names proudly? Her name is Wakawakaloch!

Add to list
Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble
Written by Tracey Corderoy & illustrated by Joe Berger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

If your granny were a little bit, well, different from other grannies, would you want to change her, or would you love her just the way she is?

In this rhyming text, a little girl whose granny is (shhhh!) a witch just wants her gran to be like all the other grans, with a normal pet and nicely done hair. But when she realizes that her reformed granny is bored and boring, there’s nothing to do but cook up a big pot of gloppy soup with granny and all of her frogs, cats, and bats!

Honorable Mentions
Stardust book
Add to list
All about Grandmas book
Add to list
  1. Stardust - One little girl dreams of being a star. But whether it’s finding Mom’s lost wedding ring or winning the costume prize, her big sister always shines brighter. A story about how everything and everyone is made of stardust and we all shine in different ways

  2. All about Grandmas - This jazzy ode to grandmas is just in time for Mother’s Day Today, there’s no such thing as a typical grandma. They do different jobs and have different hobbies. But one thing common to all grandmas is the love and wisdom they have to share, and nothing says that better than this rhyming celebration of the modern grandma. From the jellying, jamming, and pickling grannies to the surprising number of tickling grannies, this stylishly illustrated book covers them all.

Books About Individuality and Bullying

Add to list
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.

Add to list
My Hair is a Garden
Written & illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Add to list
How to Be a Lion
Written & illustrated by Ed Vere
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In this timely and charming story about the importance of being true to yourself, mindfulness, and standing by your friends, we meet Leonard, a lion, and his best friend Marianne, a… duck. Leonard and Marianne have a happy life together—talking, playing, writing poems, and making wishes—until one day a pack of bullies questions whether it’s right for a lion and a duck to be pals. Leonard soon learns there are many ways to be a lion, and many ways to be a friend, and that sometimes finding just the right words can change the world…

This sweet, funny, thoughtful, and much-needed story will open up readers’ eyes to the importance of being who they are and not backing down to hurtful criticism. It’s an empowering tale about connecting with others and choosing kindness over bullying, and shows children how angry and provocative words can be overcome by empathy and courage.

Honorable Mentions
The Ugly Duckling book
Add to list
A Boy Named Queen book
Add to list
About Average book
Add to list
  1. The Ugly Duckling - This favorite fairy tale is perfect for parents looking for children’s classics to read with their little one. Teased by his siblings for his different looks, the brave cygnet journeys into the world, looking for friendship and kindness. Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s original story, this is the story of how one little duckling overcomes obstacles and challenges, and with patience and determination, finally finds the companionship for which he has been searching. The charming illustrations by Giuseppe di Lernia in this picture book are sure to capture the imaginations of little ones, and the large format of this book is ideal for sharing with children aged 3 to 5 and reading together at bedtime.

  2. A Boy Named Queen - Evelyn is both aghast and fascinated when a new boy comes to grade five and tells everyone his name is Queen. Queen wears shiny gym shorts and wants to organize a chess/environment club. His father plays weird loud music and has tattoos. How will the class react? How will Evelyn? Evelyn is an only child with a strict routine and an even stricter mother. And yet in her quiet way she notices things. She takes particular notice of this boy named Queen. The way the bullies don’t seem to faze him. The way he seems to live by his own rules. When it turns out that they take the same route home from school, Evelyn and Queen become friends, almost against Evelyn’s better judgment. She even finds Queen irritating at times. Why doesn’t he just shut up and stop attracting so much attention to himself? Yet he is the most interesting person she has ever met. So when she receives a last-minute invitation to his birthday party, she knows she must somehow persuade her mother to let her go, even if it means ignoring the No Gifts request and shopping for what her mother considers to be an appropriate gift, appropriately wrapped with “boy” wrapping paper. Her visit to Queen’s house opens Evelyn’s eyes to a whole new world, including an unconventional goody bag (leftover potato latkes wrapped in waxed paper and a pair of barely used red sneakers). And when it comes time for her to take something to school for Hype and Share, Evelyn suddenly looks at her chosen offering — her mother’s antique cream jug — and sees new and marvelous possibilities.

  3. About Average - As the end of sixth grade nears, Jordan Johnson, unhappy that she is only average in appearance, intelligence, and athletic ability, reveals her special skills when disaster strikes her central Illinois elementary school.

Books About Individuality and Bunnies And Rabbits

Add to list
Rabbityness
Written & illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tells the story of a rabbit whose love of music and art inspires other rabbits even after he disappears.

Add to list
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.

Add to list
A Boy and His Bunny
Written by Sean Bryan & illustrated by Tom Murphy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

One morning, a boy wakes up with a rabbit on his head and, although his mother is skeptical, he soon discovers that he can be fed, ride a bobsled, and even look cool with a rabbit on his head.

Honorable Mentions
The Wrong-Way Rabbit book
Add to list
Ten Thank-You Letters book
Add to list
Rabbit & Possum book
Add to list
When the World Is Full of Friends book
Add to list
  1. The Wrong-Way Rabbit - Tibbar the backward bunny does everything the opposite from what’s expected, walking backwards and going up the down stairs

  2. Ten Thank-You Letters - Pig is writing a thank-you note to his grandma when his friend Rabbit comes over to play. Eager to get in on the action, Rabbit writes one of his own . . . and another . . . and another . . . until his flurry of thank-you notes has Pig in a tizzy. Pig just wants to finish writing his note in peace! Fortunately, Rabbit’s last thank-you note reminds Pig how lucky he is to have Rabbit as a friend. This funny friendship story shows how different personalities can manage to fit together perfectly. Rabbit’s letters to everyone from the president to the crossing guard will have readers chuckling as the delightful duo from Ten Things I Love About You discovers the joy of showing gratitude to the special people in their lives.

  3. Rabbit & Possum - Rabbit likes to leap before she looks. Possum is a little more cautious. Together, they are a dynamic duo ready to charm fans of Frog and Toad or Toot & Puddle! Rabbit has been preparing all day for her best friend Possum’s visit, but when the time comes she finds Possum fast asleep. No matter what Rabbit does, she just can’t wake him up. But then a rustle in the bushes frightens Possum and sends him up a tree—where he gets very, very stuck. Rabbit has any number of ideas to get him down. Unfortunately, they all make Possum a little…uneasy. But best friends never give up. With a little creativity—and a big surprise—Rabbit just might be able to save the day. These unlikely friends and their upbeat humor are just right for fans of Eric Rohmann’s My Friend Rabbit and Kelly Bingham’s Z Is for Moose.

  4. When the World Is Full of Friends - When the world is full of friends, the fun and laughter never ends. Albert, Tom, Flossie, and Pipkin love to play. And while they have fun inventing games together, their biggest wish is to have friends to share them with. One day, something magical happens. A family of squirrels moves in across the stream! They could be the perfect friends—but how will they cross the stream? With a little help from Father Rabbit, Albert, Tom, Flossie, and Pipkin will discover just how wonderful it is when the world is full of friends. This touching story from the revered team behind When the World Is Ready for Bed and When the World Was Waiting for You will warm the hearts of readers young and old.

Did you enjoy our individuality book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.

Additional book lists you might enjoy:

Suggested Links