Children's books that include children of color?
September 23, 2013 6:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for board books that do not just portray white children. Books appropriate for ages 1-4 would be fine, but I'm buying for a 2-year-old so a bit on the simpler side is better. Thank you!
posted by the young rope-rider to Education (46 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Where is Baby's Belly Button? (portrays children of various races)


Also, famously, The Snowy Day.
posted by Bardolph at 6:22 PM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]

"Please Puppy Please" isn't a board book but my kids loved it as toddlers.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:23 PM on September 23, 2013

Here's a bunch more, proper board ones.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:25 PM on September 23, 2013

Ezra Jack Keats wrote lots of beautiful books with a little African-American boy, Peter. Here:
posted by primate moon at 6:26 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I don't just want board books, actually, I miswrote. Picture books and the like are great too.

posted by the young rope-rider at 6:28 PM on September 23, 2013

Whose Knees are these? by Jabari Asim
Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee
More, More, More said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
Helen Oxenbury's All Fall Down, Clap Hands, and more have a complete cast.
These are all at a toddler level.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:29 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

There's a really cute series of board books based on Motown Hits.
posted by latkes at 6:37 PM on September 23, 2013

posted by xo at 6:39 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am a big fan of Todd Parr. His people come in all colors, including purple and green.
posted by booksherpa at 6:40 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

"More More More," Said the Baby Beautiful illustrations.
posted by Sybil Stockwell Oop at 6:41 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

And if you're looking for "messagy" books, Freedom on the Menu is quite moving.

Toni Morrison wrote some interesting and morally ambiguous kids books about non-human characters but with a culturally black voice.

Happy to Be Nappy is super cute.

Chinatown has very pretty illustrations.

I love, love, love Ezra Jack Keats: beautiful artwork that shows admiration for urban people of color, but interestingly, he was white. Not sure if you're hoping for books by authors of color.
posted by latkes at 6:44 PM on September 23, 2013

Several of Robert Munsch's stories feature illustrations of non-white protagonists. Ones that spring to mind: David's Father, A Promise Is a Promise (I loved it at age four or five, but it might be too scary for some), Something Good, Wait and See, More Pies, We Share Everything, and Up Up Down.
posted by northernish at 6:51 PM on September 23, 2013

I remember Sesame Street books (when they feature real children) were pretty diverse.
posted by littlesq at 6:57 PM on September 23, 2013

Everyone Poops has non-white children
posted by radioamy at 7:00 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Subway Ride by Paul DuBois Jacobs is a wonderful, rhythmic trip through the NYC subway system. Fun to read and also not featuring just white people. Also Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel (comes in boy versions and girl versions) - practical and with whimsical pictures.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 7:00 PM on September 23, 2013

Lola at the Library
posted by Hop123 at 7:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tiny Benson (my daughter) loved Global Babies.

Man, I read that book a crap ton of times.
posted by elmer benson at 7:17 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Gyo Fujikawa - my kids loved "Babies" and "Let's Eat."
posted by artychoke at 7:18 PM on September 23, 2013

Taro Gomi wrote Everyone Poops (which is fun and great for that age) but also has lots of other lovely books. I like My Friends the best.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:41 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Barefoot Books publishes an array of titles featuring many different cultures and they have a wide range of reading levels available. It's more like geographical/cultural diversity than racial diversity, but hopefully a good resource anyhow.
posted by Schielisque at 7:43 PM on September 23, 2013

Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
posted by belladonna at 7:46 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I Am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais
posted by oflinkey at 8:03 PM on September 23, 2013

My 21 month old loves "More More More"!!! Also, we have some picture books about children in Ghana, my daughter is also especially fond of them. (Particularly "My Happy Book" and "Open and Closed.")

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is a sweet little book about diversity.

Gyo Fujikawa's books often have children of different races depicted.
posted by stowaway at 8:11 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ezra Jack Keats has a lot of really great books for kids. Most, if not all, of them have children of color in them.
posted by jessamyn at 8:16 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

We read the aforementioned "Subway" pretty much every day. (adorable photo evidence)
posted by judith at 8:31 PM on September 23, 2013

Everywhere Babies!
posted by lampoil at 8:35 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Janine Macbeth's "Oh, Oh, Baby Boy!" is awesome for portraying both people of colour and engaged fatherhood. There's an interview with the author here.
posted by Someone Else's Story at 8:37 PM on September 23, 2013

What Makes a Baby is a great book (in board or picture book versions) that is educational on baby-making while managing to refrain from a single gender/sex/race-normative depiction or description.
posted by 256 at 9:08 PM on September 23, 2013

Some that I've recently read with my 2.5 year son that he enjoyed:

So Much!

Jalapeno Bagels [child has Latina mother, Jewish father]

I Know It's Autumn [children have white mother and Japanese American father]

What Should I Make?

Rain Play

Jazz Baby

Magic Trash [begins in the artist's childhood - labeled as 3rd grade and up, but a good read along book for younger kids.]

Sori's Harvest Moon Day : A Story of Korea

Rain School

This Little Light of Mine [other books by the illustrator, E.B. Lewis]

2nding Lola at the Library - we also liked its sequel, Lola Loves Stories.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:10 PM on September 23, 2013

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (the picture book version, there is also a play version).
posted by medusa at 9:26 PM on September 23, 2013

Jazz Baby
Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match
Those Shoes
Amazing Grace
Come On, Rain
Wilma Unlimited
Goin' Someplace Special
Erandi's Braids
Whistle for Willie

These are all excellent books, but only Jazz Baby would be suitable for the low end of your age range. The others would be more suitable for a four year old (or older, and possibly an advanced three year old).
posted by Dansaman at 9:28 PM on September 23, 2013

Any person's mention of E.B. Lewis reminded me that I also like The Other Side.
posted by Dansaman at 9:36 PM on September 23, 2013

Whoever you are by Mem Fox
On Mother's Lap
Round is a Mooncake
Almost all of Ginger Foglesong Guy's books
posted by amapolaroja at 9:51 PM on September 23, 2013

When my brother was about two and I was also quite small, we liked Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, which now comes in board book format. Doesn't really feature kids, but has lots of fun with rhythm and rhyme.
posted by sigmagalator at 10:34 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Any of Taro Gomi's books. My son loves loves those books, especially Spring is Here, Peekaboo, and Mommy mommy. My Friends is probably good for a two-year old, too.
posted by JenMarie at 1:38 AM on September 24, 2013

People by Peter Spier is a picture book about variation and diversity in humanity. It has people of every color, size, shape, and age. I used to pore over it for ages when I was little.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:51 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Check out this list from The Brown Bookshelf and this tagged, sortable list from author and bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle.
posted by cider at 5:00 AM on September 24, 2013

bell hooks has written a bunch of children's books featuring protagonists of color. Grump Groan Growl was a huge hit with the toddler I read it to!
posted by 9000condiments at 5:17 AM on September 24, 2013

Jump at the Sun is a series of classic and new children's stories written (or rewritten) with non-white protagonists.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:16 AM on September 24, 2013

Global Babies. It's small-child crack. It's not really "about" anything, it's just pictures of babies.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:35 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Rosemary Wells's "Yoko" series aren't people, but the animals represent different ethnicities--Yoko is of Japanese heritage.
posted by epj at 8:16 AM on September 24, 2013

A Chair for my Mother is a classic, with beautiful illustrations.
posted by rmless at 11:13 AM on September 24, 2013

My favorite author for this was Chris Raschka. He had many titles I read to my multi-racial brood. "Hip Cat," "Happy to be Nappy," and "Charlie Parker Played Bebop" were my favorites.
posted by cross_impact at 11:20 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love you, Sun
I love you, Moon

posted by Elysum at 9:41 PM on September 24, 2013

Tiny Benson (my daughter) also really loved Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children. Like Global Babies, it isn't really about anything - it's just really nice, positive pictures of kids of color and really lovely.

Girl of Mine is a nice lullaby book - you can basically sing "Rockabye Baby" to it.
posted by elmer benson at 5:27 AM on September 25, 2013

Seconding Helen Oxenbury. We have this book set of her titles. My son is two and these have been some of his favorite books for at least a year.
posted by honeyx at 7:30 AM on September 28, 2013

« Older Disherwasher safe DIY Pint glasses   |   How should I present this gift? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.