The books we read our children have a huge impact on how they see the world. Especially in early childhood, everything a child encounters shapes their worldview. When we examine some of the stories and folktales that have become commonplace, it can be shocking how many messages there are that encourage separation, negativity and an "us vs. them" mindset.
By planting seeds of inclusion, connection and celebrating the differences among us, we can help influence our next generation and inspire more love and unity between us all.
Here is a list of a few of our favorite books for young children that add a little more "we" into their worldview and show the connections we have to each other, no matter what.
Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora
Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?
Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love.
This is a book about sharing, intergenerational relationships and community, It highlights people of different abilities, background and ethnicities. Filled with beautiful painting and collaged illustrations, this book is a joy to read.
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. They may not speak the same language. Their lives may be quite different. But inside, they are all alike. Stirring words and bold paintings weave their way around our earth, across cultures and generations.
"Joys are the same, and love is the same. Pain is the same and blood is the same." At a time when, unfortunately, the lessons of tolerance still need to be learned, Whoever You Are urges us to accept our differences, to recognize our similarities, and-most importantly-to rejoice in both.
I Walk With Vanessa- A Story About A Simple Act Of Kindness by Kerascoët
This simple yet powerful picture book tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events, I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. By choosing only pictures to tell their story, the creators underscore the idea that someone can be an ally without having to say a word. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old.
You Matter by Christian Robinson
In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.
Simple and heartfelt, the words of Caldecott Honoree Robinson’s poem speaks directly to readers: “You matter." By seeing all life as intertwined—ancient and new, minuscule and gargantuan, Robinson represents life as both interconnected and precious.
Princess Truly in My Magical Sparkling Curls