I am always on the lookout for books, toys, and media that show diversity. I started this when my firstborn was just an infant. I have always sought out dolls and toys with different skin tones because it was important to me to share the beauty of the world and other cultures with my children.
Today, I am highlighting some new story books for 2021 that highlight diverisity. I was sent these books for review purposes by the publishers, but have received no compensation for my post. This post does contain affiliate links.
Written by Paris Rosenthal and Holly Hatam.
Dear Teacher is exactly what the title sounds like, a beautiful tribute to teachers. This book shows a variety of students thanking their teachers for encouraging them, believing in them, and being their superheroes. A beautiful book to help children appreciate and express gratitude toward the teachers who pour into them and inspire them.
Illustrations include characters with a variety of skin tones, including a boy and man, each wearing different styles of turbans. We see black characters with all natural hair, buns, and braids. A character on the basketball team is in a wheelchair.
This book definitely gets a 10/10 for displaying diversity in an organic setting.
If you want to encourage your child to write a letter to their teacher, you may want to check out my Letter Writing 101 Unit.
Coqui in the City by Nomar Perez
Nomar Perez wrote and illustrated this marvelous book about Migeul who enjoys his life in San Juan Puerto Rico but must learn how to adjust as his family moves to the mainland United States. Much of the story revolves around his beloved frog, Coqui, who he has to leave behind.
Miguel misses familiar foods, his family, and friends when he moves. His mama takes him out to explore the new city, where he is excited to see some signs in Spanish, find a Panaderia that sells his favorite snack, quesitos…and best of all? He sees a coqui!
You can click on this video to see a coqui and hear the sound it makes.
This book is so rich with details, your kids will want to hear it over and over again. The book uses a smattering of Spanish words, which are fun to learn. It mentions Miguel playing the guiro. This was on Apollo’s birthday list a few years back. I ordered him this gorgeous guiro, which just happens to be shaped like a frog! It is still a favorite in our house.
The illustrations are colorful, gorgeous, and full of details. You can feel Perez’s love of Puerto Rico throughout the story. In addition to diverse Latino/Latina characters, we also see people of many ethnicities throughout the book, as well as a man in a wheelchair, a female police officer, a Jewish man, and a woman in a hijab.
This book is also a great way to introduce Puerto Rico to your children. I am always amazed how many adults in the US don’t realize Puerto Rico is part of the United States.
Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand Illusatrated by Nabi H. Ali
Laxmi was never bothered by the hair on her upper lip. In fact, she never even noticed it before a friend at school told her she had a mustache. They are playing on the playground and her friend says, “But you’re the perfect cat! You have these little hairs on your upper lip, like cat whiskers.”
Laxmi argues that she does not have a mustache…until she looks in the mirror. Suddenly, she is self-conscious about a part of her body that she never even noticed before (what female, sadly, can’t relate to that?). She uses her hand to cover her “mooch”…and then she notices hair everywhere. On her arms, her legs…
After school that day, Laxmi talks to her Mummy who tells Laxmi she also has a mooch. When Laxmi says she thought mooches were just for boys, her mummy responds, “Nahi! You know, we come from a long line of women with moochay…from Mughal empresses and stately ranis to village girls and city girls. Even your nani and cousin Radha.”
Follow Laxmi’s journey as she discovers everyone has hair on their bodies, and she learns to embrace her own body, and teaches her friends to do the same.
This book has beautiful illustrations of children with diverse ethnic backgrounds. After reading this book with Apollo, he tried to argue that not everyone has a mustache. Then we discussed different types of hair (bristley to soft and down) and different colors. We compared hair on our arms and legs and talk about how no one should ever me made to feel bad about their hair. Some people choose to shave or trim a unibrow, some people choose to leave it. Both are just fine.
Every child can benefit from this book.
Have you read any great picture books recently? Be sure and share them in the comments.