A selection of books for young children that include anti-bias, multicultural, social justice and eco conscious themes.
by Margy Burns Knight
This books draws from experiences around the world to show the diverse ways in which the human family welcomes new life. As we read about the routines and rituals of a child’s first year in different countries and cultures, we meet babies from tiny Luke, who is spending his first days of life in an incubator, to Kasa, who is being introduced to the sunrise by her grandmother. There are many different – yet strikingly kindred – ways to welcome babies into the world, including biracial, adoptive, and single-parent families.
by Margarita Engle
Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music and rhythm, no one questioned that rule — until the drum dream girl. She longed to play tall congas and small bongós and silvery, moon-bright timbales. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that boys and girls should be free to drum and dream. Inspired by a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
This is a true story of how a creek can be brought back to life, and with it a whole world of nature. This heartening tale of an ecosystem restored in the Driftless Area of northeast Iowa unfolds in a way that will charm and inform young readers who are drawn to a good mystery, the wonders of nature… and of course, big earth-moving machines. This hopeful tale ends with author and illustrator notes as well as encouraging words: “We can restore parts of our world that have been lost or degraded. We can change the world by acting on our dreams.”
by Paula Young Shelton
In this Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, brings a child’s unique perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Paula grew up in the deep south, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, including Uncle Martin (Martin Luther King), Paula watched and listened to the struggles, eventually joining with her family – and thousands of others – in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. Poignant, moving, and hopeful, this is an intimate look at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement.
by Monique Gray Smith
The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book supports the wellness of Indigenous children and families, and encourages young children to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.
by Kathleen Krull
Cesar Chavez is known as one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders. When he led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, he ignited a cause and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farmworkers. But Cesar wasn’t always a leader. As a boy, he was shy and teased at school. His family slaved in the fields for barely enough money to survive. Cesar knew things had to change, and he thought that – maybe – he could help change them. So he took charge. He spoke up. And an entire country listened.
by Laurin Mayeno
A heartwarming story of a young boy, Danny, who fights gender stereotypes by dressing up as a princess for the school parade. The author was inspired to write this from her own experience with her son Danny. “Sometimes as parents we must unlearn things we learned growing up,” says Mayeno. The book is bilingual, in English and Spanish, and discusses gender expression from a child’s point of view.
by Katie Kissinger
This bilingual book celebrates the essence of one way we are all special and different from one another – our skin color! It offers children a simple, scientifically accurate explanation about how our skin color is determined by our ancestors, the sun, and melanin. It frees children from the myths and stereotypes associated with skin color and helps them build positive identities as they accept, understand, and value our rich and diverse world. Unique activity ideas are included to help you extend the conversation with children.
by Margriet Ruurs
A bilingual tale, in Arabic and English, about a Syrian family’s flee from home. The book explains the refugee experience through beautiful illustrations.
by Genevieve Petrillo
Davey is blind-and he is perfectly capable of doing everything on his own. His well meaning classmates stop offering help when they see how able Davey is. They respect his self-reliance – until he tries to play kickball, After several missed kicks and a trampled base keeper, no one wants Davey on his team. Working together, the children figure out a way to offer help that respects Davey’s unique abilities and his desire for freedom. In this seamless tale, based on a true story, the children realize that interdependence can be just as important and rewarding as independence.
by Maribeth Boelts
All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need,” when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has – warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend – are worth more than the things he wants.
When a giant new supermarket moves into the neighborhood, Lucy’s grandpa plans to sell his store. But with the help of friends and neighbors, Lucy is determined to keep this from happening. In another of her loving and lively portraits of community caring, DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan tells the timely story of what can happen when the whole neighborhood gets involved.
Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it –Yoon-Hey.