There is nothing more affirming for a child than seeing himself somehow reflected in the books he reads. From becoming a big brother to learning how to share, little kids love to see the characters in their books—whether they are bears and ducks or little boys and girls—face their same situations. For a child who joined his family through adoption or is in a multicultural family, books that feature families that look like his are not just affirming; they can also be illuminating. Here are some of my favorite picks.
Whose Knees are These? by Jabari Asim This fun rhyming book and it’s sister book, Whose Toes are Those?, is a delight to read. Its vivid illustrations deftly celebrate children of color.
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox This book is a great celebration of all the world’s diversity and cultures. Beautifully illustrated, the message driven home is that underneath our skin, we all have the same joys and pains.
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis With bright, whimsical drawings, this story tells of a family coming together through adoption upon the birth of a child. While not every adoption story starts this way, the book celebrates familial love warmly and with humor.
Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale by Karen Katz Fancifully illustrated, this book does a nice job of basically illustrating the international adoption process for a young child.
A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza A young, chubby-cheeked bird with blue-striped feet searches for a mother but isn’t able to find anyone who looks like him. Then a brown bear steps in. This easy to read, nicely repetitive book offers an early primer on multicultural families.
Read Related: What Dr. Seuss Teaches Our Kids
We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates The Sesame Street bunch teaches a great lesson on ways that we are different and what we have in common.
We Belong Together by Todd Parr Deceivingly simple in its artwork and frame (We belong together because…), this book celebrates what makes a family while also celebrating diverse families. From a single parent family to a family with two dads, families of all kinds are celebrated.
Rosie’s Family: An Adoption Story by Lori Rosove Rosie is a beagle adopted by schnauzers. Yes, Rosie’s Family tackles multicultural families but it also addresses another issue that is less commonly seen in adoption books: birth and adoptive sibling issues. Written by a Canadian social worker and educator whose career has been focused on helping adoptive families, this book fills a much needed gap.
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz A walk through the neighborhood powerfully reveals that there are many different shades of brown. From cinnamon to chocolate, all are celebrated.
The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler This lively book easily promotes appreciation for one’s uniqueness, diversity, and acceptance. Vivid illustrations show children from all backgrounds enjoying lives and reveling in themselves.