Published on February 10th, 2017 | by Mutha Magazine


ASK A MUTHA: What Inclusive Kids Books Do You Love? (Because LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE….)

Remember when Highlights magazine issued a completely ridiculous “the time is not yet” answer to a queer mama who asked why her family was never represented on the popular kids’ magazine’s pages? Well, they changed it up fast, and now the Million Moms are boycotting them, such is the universe. Thanks, mainstream magazine empire, for the redo on your response…

(But honestly, the bills for that subscription add up fast, I’m here to tell you. Kid loves puzzles but we don’t need the same one with different pics swapped out every week with extra shipping and handling). What we can always afford is a trip to the library. (And by the way, when you request a library book that your branch doesn’t have it, helps an author out).

Thus: We asked MUTHAs, what are your favorite inclusive picture books? What books show your kids the world you live in, your family, and other diverse families? 

Let me say up front, this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but the particular favorites of some of our beloved contributors. I like to get recommendations direct from friends. Hopefully you’ll find a title that’s new for you; and please do check out amazing resources like We Need Diverse Books for more, or this long list, or this one….

In this feature, we’re focusing on books for the littles (0-6), but we hope to do a future post on early readers, middle grade, and YA. All to say, add your favorites in the comments! What inclusive kids books do YOU love? – Meg Lemke

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. So beautiful and wonderful. – Jade Sanchez-Ventura

This Day in June is a joyfully illustrated, unapologetic (but also un-preachy) depiction of a gay pride parade, complete with a historical glossary that includes Dykes on Bikes and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Written by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Kristyna Litten.

Another favorite in our house is Night Cars by Teddy Jam, illustrated by Eric Beddows. It’s a simple, poetic story about a baby who wakes up at night and watches what goes on at night in the city. While there are nine million books for adults set in NYC, children’s books are frustratingly suburban. I also like that the baby’s parent appears to be a single dad. – Cheryl Klein

In our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco. The Cow that was the Best Moo-ther by Andy Cutbill (an interspecies family wins a beautiful baby contest on the farm.)

I’ve been reading My Name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed both with my son and with kids I work with, to introduce the concept of refugees and empathy for the newcomer.

The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr are also great. – Kristen Stone

In our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

The Family Book by Todd Parr—includes kids who have two moms or dads – Victoria Petron

The Family Book by Todd Parr

It often feels challenging to find books for our daughter that reflect our multiracial household, much less ones that don’t center white characters. Rather than having to dig through every book at the store or click madly online, I’ve been utilizing this handy app called We Read Too. The app features a list of over 600 children and young adult books by authors of color featuring characters of color. (It’s the brilliant coding of  Kaya Thomas, who is a mentor with Black Girls Code and has her own YouTube channel called Code With Kaya). – Sara Zia Ebrahami

Long before those early months of motherhood, when I was trying to figure out how to nurse Baby Girl, how to change her diaper, how to swaddle her, and how to get the child to nap in her crib, I knew she needed to be inoculated against the self-hatred that might potentially plague her. So before my husband and I even chose her name, the inoculation started when we decided to buy her African and African American children’s books… One pick is Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee’s Please Baby, Please! – Janet Stickmon (and read more in LETTERS TO BLACK PARENTS VISITING EARTH: On Books)

I love the Flamingo Rampant books—all eight of them—because they feature racially-diverse gender independent kids in stories that are imaginative and fun to read, as opposed to “issue” books. These are for anyone who is tired of all the books about gender creative kids that focus on bullying and only feature white kids. And there are more books coming soon! – Rachel Aimee (and check out MUTHA’s coverage from when the program launched)

The American Girl catalogue now has a doll without any hair. They also have a wheelchair, hearing aid, and glasses… I spend way too much time with that catalogue. What I like about the way they incorporate diversity is that they just do it without making a fuss. Yes, there’s a doll without hair now – they don’t say anything about it. She’s just hanging out with the others, having a slumber party.

They also recently introduced a Black doll from the ’60s – Keiler Roberts

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Marla Frazee, was handed to me by the bookseller at WORD when I was wandering with my small child tearing the place up. It is a charming read, with families of all types represented — one of my absolute favorite read-alouds!

Plus check out past MUTHA features on awesome picture books by Innosanto NogaraCory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth, and Rad Women Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl! Not to be missed. – Meg Lemke

Remember to add your favorites in the comments! 

Feature image from This Day in June by Kristyna Litten

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About the Author

Exploring real-life motherhood, from every angle, at every stage.

5 Responses to ASK A MUTHA: What Inclusive Kids Books Do You Love? (Because LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE….)

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