By Dr. Karen F. Williams
“Wouldn’t it be boring if everyone was the same? Being different is beautiful.”
This line from You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion speaks volumes. It highlights the beauty and value of differences in every human being. Unfortunately, too often differences are appreciated in materials things such as clothes, food, houses, and cars but devalued when it applies to people. The microaggressions and hate-filled words and actions that are spewed on adults as well as children in neighborhoods and public and private sectors today are disheartening, diabolical and often downright criminal. These you-are-not-welcome-here-expressions can utter their poison simply because of the color of one’s skin, one’s country origin, or the disability one faces.
Many children’s authors from around the globe have begun a movement of dispelling hate and “fear” of others by writing books that teach children (and adults) about the beauty of diversity. This blog includes a sampling of such books. This blog serves as an introduction to forthcoming blogs I hope to write that address diversity and social justice resources for children.
The following seven diversity resources begin with a quotation from the book, and includes a one- or two-sentence summary, a statement from the author, and concludes with the publisher’s information. I trust that these references will be helpful as you teach and embrace not only the children in your care but all children everywhere.
ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us
by Dorena Williamson
God must love color to have made all the earth’s people with such wonderful shades. That’s something to celebrate. We can celebrate all our differences—the color of our skin, the texture of our hair, the shape of our eyes, nose, and lips. Every single person is part of God’s grand design. — Granny Mac
Granny Mac helps to teach her grandchildren (Imani and Christopher) and their friend (Kayla) about the beauty of color in God’s creation.
Williamson says the message of her book is this: “Be fully aware of the colors God made! Plants, animals, and especially people – all are created intentionally with color. See it. Celebrate it. Why be colorblind when we can be ColorFull instead!”
Reading Age: 4 – 8 Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Publisher: B&H Kids, 2018
God Made Me and You
by Shai Linne, illustrated by Trish Mahoney
Dark skin, light skin, and all in between
In each color and shade, God’s beauty is seen.
What some call ethnicity and others call race,
We should celebrate as a gift of God’s grace.
Centered on scripture, this book displays how all people are made in God’s image.
Linne: “I wrote this book because I am convinced from Scripture that ethnic diversity is not something that should be begrudgingly tolerated but rather enthusiastically celebrated! Passages like Revelation 7:9-10 speak very loudly to God ultimate purpose in the gospel—a redeemed, ethnically diverse people worshiping God together for all eternity.”
Reading Age: 8– 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Publisher: New Growth Press, 2018
You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion
by Margaret O'Hair and Sofia Cardoso
Wouldn’t it be boring if everyone was the same? Being different is beautiful.
This inclusive picture book from Sofia Sanchezan, a 12-year-old model and actress with Down syndrome, encourages children to welcome differences in others and also teaches self-confidence and courage.
O’Hair: “The book portrays the world in a way where there is acceptance, where there is a circle to keep people in instead of keep people out.”
(12-year-old author with Down syndrome is a viral sensation,” GMA, 19 March 19. 2021,
Ages:4 – 8
Grades: Pre K – 3
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc., 2021
We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know
by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
The U.S. government made promises to Native nations in almost 400 treaties all together, but the federal government did not always keep its promises to the tribes. Most of the time their laws and policies have been devastating. Most people do not know what happened to Native nations and our citizens after treaty making stopped in 1871. Despite the continued occupation of our homelands, regular attacks on our sovereignty, and being mostly forgotten in US culture, native nations all say, We are still here.
It is Native Nations Community School for Indigenous People's Day presentations. Students present different reports on Native people's experiences since the late 1800s to educate the reader. Some topics the students present include “Assimilation,” “Allotment,” “The Indian New Deal,” “Termination,” and many more.
Sorrell (Cherokee Nation): The book gives this overview of laws, policies, histories that have happened since the ending of treaty-making in 1871. You see us in the curriculum go away after 1900. And this is very accessible for upper elementary when you start having Native American units. It is not something that students would have been exposed to because it hasn’t been included in the curriculum. I wanted something that allowed teachers, libraries, and families to have…that’s accessible. (Chat with Traci Sorell of We Are Still Here, YouTube, 22 November 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhY8ivPxE9c&t=213s
Reading Age: 7 – 10
Grade Level: 2 – 5
Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2021
All Are Welcome
by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
We’re part of a community.
Our strength is our diversity.
A shelter from adversity.
All are welcome here.
This is a story about a school classroom that welcomes all students.
Illustrator Suzanne Kaufman provides the story behind All Are Welcome.
“After the announcement of [then] soon-to-be President Trump’s planned travel ban, I felt deep sadness and completely helpless. My daughters’ school Kimball Elementary is comprised predominately of immigrant families from all over the world, from many different religious backgrounds. I wanted the kids in my community and all children to know they were safe and welcome at their school the next morning. Then I remembered a quote by Nina Simone. You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I felt instantly compelled to do something, with the one thing I could freely give, my art. So, I stayed up all night and made a poster to welcome all the kids to the school the next morning.” [The poster was All Are Welcome, which became the artwork for the book.] (From Pragmatic Mom https://www.pragmaticmom.com/new-about/thecontact/)
Reading Age: 4 – 8
Grade Level: Preschool - 3
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2018
I Am Enough
by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
Like the sun, I’m here to shine.
Like the voice, I’m here to sing.
Like the bird, I’m here to fly and soar high over everything.
A book that teaches children about self-love and confidence.
Byers: “I wrote this book because when I was about eight or nine years old, I wanted to see more books with images and with words that made me feel I could do anything. And so I wrote this book for you so that you would feel the same.”
Reading age: 4 – 8 years
Grade level: Preschool – 3
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, 2018
All Because You Matter
by Tami Charles, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)
Long before you took
your place in this world,
you were dreamed of,
like a knapsack,
full of wishes
carried on the backs
of your ancestors
as they created
This book presents an African American mother’s words of confirmation to her African American son.
Charles: “I wrote All Because You Matter to provide parents with a starting point for conversations about the racial climate in our country today. These are issues that should be discussed in all families, of all backgrounds, if we are to raise empathetic future leaders.”
Reading age: 4 – 8 years
Grade level: Preschool – 3
Publisher: Orchard Books, 2020