Diverse Books for Children

Learn more about why diverse books matter for all kids and how to find high-quality fiction and nonfiction books that explore and celebrate our diverse and multicultural communities. Hear from children’s authors about their own experiences growing up and the books they write for young readers. You’ll also find guidance on assessing and diversifying your classroom library and how to use diverse books in the classroom — throughout the school year. 

Mosaic of well-known children's authors

What you’ll find here:

The importance of diverse books

“I think the thing I try to do as a writer is to bring worlds to the page.
What happens with readers is they step inside those worlds,
and they experience them in a way that they might not in their real life,
and it gives them a chance to think about a bigger society
and the greater good.”

Jaqueline Woodson, author, MacArthur Foundation Fellow (2020), 
National Ambassador for Young People's Literature (2018)

Tell Me Another Story: Diversity in Children’s Literature

“Tell Me Another Story,” a 30-minute documentary, is a portrait of the giants, past and present, who have advanced diversity in picture books. The film reveals why multicultural literature is critical to our children’s quality of life and the health of our society overall. Participants include Andrea Davis Pinkney, Meg Medina, Grace Lin, and Christopher Myers. Watch the trailer below and register to watch the full film here. Learn more at the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation website.

Authors and literature experts on diversity in children’s books

Hear from some of your favorite authors on why diversity in children’s books matters. From our video series, Video Interviews with Top Children’s Authors and Illustrators.

We asked children’s authors to complete the phrase “We need diverse books because ....”

Diverse books: booklists from Reading Rockets

Multicultural Books

“I think that the more we read and the more widely we read,
the more diverse authors we read, the more we understand the world.
And to me that’s a really powerful aspect of literature —
that it can create empathy in us in a way that’s really safe
where we’re not always able to go out in the world and meet people
who are having wildly different experiences than we are ...”

Kekla Magoon, author

Finding diverse books

In addition to the booklists on Reading Rockets, there are many other great online resources to help you find diverse books for children of all ages. The Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison has compiled data on children’s and young adult books by and about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) published since 1985.

Free and Low-Cost Book Programs

Choosing Culturally Relevant Books

Reading Rockets’ Book Finder

Create your own customized list of fiction and nonfiction books! Search through more than 5,000 books on Reading Rockets — by author, illustrator, age, reading level, genre, format, topic, and country or region. Browse Book Finder 

Book Recommendations from Colorín Colorado

Book Recommendations from the National Education Association

Award-Winning Books

Using diverse books in the classroom

At a school in Oakland, California, students see themselves—and the broader world—in the books they read. When teachers provide diversity in classroom materials, students connect to the experiences of others—and have their own reflected and valued. Also see the article, Why Diverse Classroom Libraries Matter, from Edutopia.

Classroom and library resources from Reading Rockets

Resources from Colorín Colorado

Author Jaqueline Woodson talks about the benefits of reading “beyond ourselves.” Multicultural books are a powerful way to introduce kids to different kinds of people, even if their own community is not diverse.

Diverse Books Toolkit

As you bring diverse, inclusive, and culturally relevant materials into children’s reading experiences, this diverse books toolkit from Teaching Books can help analyze collections, identify and bring to life diverse texts, and encourage reflection on cultural representation. Registration required. 

More Resources on Teaching with Diverse Books

Author Carole Boston Weatherford meets teachers who use her books in the classroom to introduce historical figures or historical events to their students. For example, Birmingham, 1963 might be the jumping off point for a discussion of the Civil Rights Movement. “My poems have such a powerful punch that they automatically make kids want to know more,” she says.

Education professor and author Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop talks about the importance of using diverse books in the classroom throughout the school year.

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