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Tolerance: Books For Kids

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

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

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

When it comes to children’s stories about tolerance, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Special People, Special Ways to popular sellers like Wishtree to some of our favorite hidden gems like Strictly No Elephants.

We hope this list of kids books about tolerance 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.

The Wall in the Middle of the Book
Written & illustrated by Jon Agee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A knight who feels secure on his side of the wall that divides his book discovers that his side is not as safe as he thought, and the other side is not as threatening.

Strictly No Elephants
Written by Lisa Mantchev & illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When the local Pet Club won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, he finds a solution—one that involves all kinds of unusual animals in this sweet and adorable picture book.

Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.

Imaginative and lyrical, this sweet story captures the magic of friendship and the joy of having a pet.

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

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

All are welcome
Written by Alexandra Penfold & illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Splashdance
Written & illustrated by Liz Starin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ursula, a bear, and Ricardo, a human, are preparing for the water ballet competition, where the prize is a million dollars! But a new regulation at the community pool - no bears - leaves Ursula cut from the contest. Luckily, she encounters a group of undaunted animal swimmers at a local pond, and Ursula and her new team figure out a way to participate in the competition and make sure everyone is welcome at the pool once and for all. Filled with deadpan humor, adorable animals, and big themes about social justice and inclusion, Splashdance is a fun and splashy summer story with a lot of heart.

  • Come with Me - When the news reports are flooded with tales of hatred and fear, a girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place. “Come with me,” he says. Hand-in-hand, they walk to the subway, tipping their hats to those they meet. The next day, the girl asks her mama what she can do—her mama says, “Come with me,” and together they set out for the grocery, because one person doesn’t represent an entire race or the people of a land. After dinner that night, the little girl asks if she can do something of her own—walk the dog . . . and her parents let her go. “Come with me,” the girl tells the boy across the hall. Walking together, one step at a time, the girl and the boy begin to see that as small and insignificant as their part may seem, it matters to the world. In this lyrical and timely story, author Holly M. McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaître champion the power of kindness, bravery, and friendship in the face of uncertainty.

  • The Big Umbrella - A spacious umbrella welcomes anyone and everyone who needs shelter from the rain.

  • The Belonging Tree - The Belonging Tree is a thoughtful picture book about respect, inclusion, and acceptance in a woodland community of animals from writer Maryann Cocca-Leffler and illustrator Kristine A. Lombardi. Life was ordinary in the big oak tree on Forest Lane. Squirrels lived in every part of the tree, and the Gray squirrel family inhabited the knot in the middle. But the neighborhood starts to change as the big oak tree welcomes families of chipmunks, beavers, and birds. And with each new arrival, the Grays become increasingly unhappy. Can’t everything remain just as it was? It will take an unexpected moment of heroism from a thoughtful inhabitant to finally open hearts and bind together this diverse animal community. Christy Ottaviano Books

  • Mixed: A Colorful Story - Each believing that their hue is the best, the three primary colors live in separate parts of the city until Yellow and Blue meet, fall in love, and decide to mix.

Wishtree
Written by Katherine Applegate & illustrated by Charles Santoso
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

The New York Times-bestselling story of kindness, friendship, and hope.

Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with a crow named Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this wishtree watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all.

Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experience as a wishtree is more important than ever.

Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.

This book has Common Core connections.

Special People, Special Ways
Written by Arlene Maguire & illustrated by Sheila Bailey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Rhyming text drescribes the different ways in which people may vary in physical or mental abilities, and the things they have in common.

A Moon for Moe and Mo
Written by Jane Breskin Zalbin & illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An interfaith friendship develops when Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, overlaps with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan—an occurence that happens only once every thirty years or so. Moses Feldman, a Jewish boy, lives at one end of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, while Mohammed Hassan, a Muslim boy, lives at the other. One day they meet at Sahadi’s market while out shopping with their mothers and are mistaken for brothers. A friendship is born, and the boys bring their families together to share rugelach and date cookies in the park as they make a wish for peace.

A Church for All
Written by Gayle E. Pitman & illustrated by Laure Fournier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This simple, lyrical story celebrates a diverse community on a Sunday morning at an inclusive church that welcomes all people regardless of age, class, race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Come to the church for all!

What If?
Written & illustrated by Sandra Magsamen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

You see, being different is special and can give your spirit a lift! Being different is beautiful and magnificent. It’s what makes life a gift! We are all one of a kind. Just show the world who you are -let your you-ness shine! With a warm, inspiring message, this book will give children courage to embrace their individuality and accept others for who they are.

  • I'm an Immigrant Too! - From beloved Australian author Mem Fox comes a timely picture book about how all of our lives are enriched by the vibrant cultural diversity immigrants bring to their new communities. What journeys we have travelled, from countries near and far! Together now, we live in peace, beneath the Southern Star. Inspired by the plight of immigrants around the world, Mem Fox was moved to write this lyrical and rhyming exploration of the myriad ways immigrants have enriched her home country of Australia. Young readers everywhere will see themselves—and their friends and neighbors—in this powerful and moving picture book.

  • TBH #2: TBH, This May Be TMI - Told entirely in text messages, the second book in this addictive series from the acclaimed author of 11 Before 12 is perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rachel Renee Russell. TBH, Cece has no time for her boy-crazy friends. She wants to make a bigger impact in middle school than just choosing the perfect kissy cat-face emoji. But that’s hard when Gabby and Prianka talk about their crushes 24/7. (To be honest, it’s way too much information!) Between nailing down summer plans, getting busted for iMessaging in class, and organizing the spring fair, things are getting rocky for the BFFs. But when Prianka gets an SOS text from her friend Vishal, the girls realize they need to band together—because some of their classmates have bigger challenges than dealing with sixth grade stress.

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