When I was growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, there weren’t a lot of books with kids who looked like me in them. To help, I remember my mom coloring the characters brown with my Crayola crayons in an attempt to help me see myself in my favorite stories.

Now that I have kids of my own, I get why my mom made the effort: I, too, want my children to get lost in stories where the characters look like them. I want my kids to know that all the wonderful adventures in storybooks await them too.

These days, books are representing just how colorful our world is, and let me tell you . . . I am here for it! Here’s a list (with links!) of children’s books that celebrate just how wonderfully different the world is:


It’s Your World Now! by Barry Falls 

Ages: 3-7 years

This book introduces kids to the idea of their personal potential, and also gives kids great advice about what to do when someone tells them they can’t do something.


This Love: A Celebration of Harmony Around the World by Isabel Otter 

Ages: 3-7 years

This book teaches young readers how the language of love is universal.


When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb

Ages: 3-5 years

When Charley goes to the playground, he notices Emma has limb differences and uses a wheelchair. This book introduces kids to the idea that although people may look different on the outside, similarities aren’t too hard to find.


Kindness Makes Us Strong by Sophie Beer 

Ages: 0-3 years

This book is all about how we can be kind in different settings in our neighborhood—from the playground to our street!


This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World by Matt Lamothe

Ages: 5-8 years

This picture book gives readers a peek into the different—and similar—traditions, dress, and lives of families in Iran, India, Peru, Japan, Italy, Uganda, and Russia. 


Around the World We Go by Margaret Wise Brown 

Ages: 2-5 years

Written by the author of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, this book features kids of various cultures from around the world in this colorfully illustrated book. 


The Pirate Tree by Brigita Orel

Ages: 5-8 years

This is a story about acceptance and friendship as the book’s characters, Sam and Agu, learn to become friends despite Agu being new to the neighborhood.


What Is Your Language? by Debra Leventhal 

Ages: 5-6 years

This fun book introduces kids to how “Hello!” is said in different languages while exposing them to various cultures. 


Priya Dreams of Marigolds and Masala by Meenal Patel

Ages: 4-8 years

Young readers are introduced to the fragrant spices and vibrant colors of Indian culture as Priya and her Babi Ba bring a little bit of home to the United States. 


The Mega Magic Hair Swap! by Rochelle Humes 

Ages: 0-3 years

This book introduces young readers to the concept of self-acceptance when two best friends wish they had a different hair texture than their own. 


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