Now more than ever, the issue of diversity and embracing cultures has become a pressing, inescapable social conversation. From the dinner table to the mainstream media, everyone seems to have an opinion about everyone else… and typically, it’s negative and misinformed. With the ever-changing social landscape (in America and abroad), kids can become overwhelmed with conflicting opinions about a wide variety of groups, which can have serious repercussions in their daily interactions with peers. It’s important to encourage awareness about cultural and ethnic differences, so we’ve put together a great list of books that teach kids to respect diversity.
Come for a visit in Bear Country with this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. Papa, Mama, Brother, and Sister are getting new neighbors – The Panda Family. However, Papa isn’t sure that he likes the new neighbors because they are different than the rest of the bears. It’s up to both families to help Papa see that although the Panda family may look different – they are just like everyone else.
Celebrate the essence of one way we are all special and different from one another—our skin color! This bilingual (English/Spanish) book offers children a simple, scientifically accurate explanation about how our skin color is determined by our ancestors, the sun, and melanin. It’s also filled with colorful photographs that capture the beautiful variety of skin tones. Reading this book frees children from the myths and stereotypes associated with skin color and helps them build positive identities as they accept, understand, and value our rich and diverse world. Unique activity ideas are included to help you extend the conversation with children.
Angel Child, Dragon Child illustrates the challenges involved in cross-cultural friendships. During her first days at school in America, Ut experiences alienation and separation. Later, she finds understanding and acceptance. With his first encounters with a child from Vietnam, Raymond sees only her differences. Later, through closer encounters, he is able to see similarities in their needs and feelings.
Henrietta Hen, Doctor Fox, and Nick Hare are all concerned when they see Theodore Pig moving into their building, as “pigs” are known for being, well … messy! They were hoping that their new neighbor would be as neat and tidy and themselves, but now it seems unlikely!
“Do you like green eggs and ham?” asks Sam-I-am in this Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree? Sam keeps asking persistently. With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, Dr. Seuss’s beloved favorite has cemented its place as a children’s classic. In this most famous of cumulative tales, the list of places to enjoy green eggs and ham, and friends to enjoy them with, gets longer and longer. Follow Sam-I-am as he insists that this unusual treat is indeed a delectable snack to be savored everywhere and in every way.
Celebrating the differences between a mother and father that blend to make the perfect combination in their daughter. An African-American mother and a white father are only one reason why this family is “just right.”
Lily and Salma are best friends. They like doing all the same things, and they always eat lunch together. Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus-but what’s that between friends? It turns out, a lot. Before they know it, a food fight breaks out. Can Lily and Salma put aside their differences? Or will a sandwich come between them?
Nanami has two grandmothers: Baachan, who lives with her family in Japan, and Gram, who lives in Maine. When Gram visits Japan for the first time, Baachan takes her and Nanami on a trip to the seaside to gather Wakame, a long, curvy seaweed that floats near the shore. While the three assemble their equipment and ride the streetcar to the beach, Baachan explains how Wakame and other seaweeds are used in Japan. Gram shares stories about how seaweeds are used in Maine, and Nanami translates for them both. By the end of the day, Nanami’s two grandmothers discover that they have much in common despite being from countries that fought in the war they both remember vividly. Now, looking out across the beach at the surfers, dog walkers, and seaweed gatherers, they share an appreciation of this precious peace. Holly Thompson’s beautiful prose captures the exuberance of a young girl who easily traverses between two cultures and languages. It also illuminates the love and understanding that grow between two older women who are so different, yet share an unbreakable bond. Kazumi Wild’s bright, vivid paintings make the Japanese landscape and the rocky shores of Maine come alive, reminding us all that we share this earth and the peace that we create.