Children are sponges and understand a lot more than we give them credit for, especially about differences. That's why it's important to diversify the stories elementary school students are exposed to from an early age. Diverse books should be authentic and meaningful representations of different identities and cultures. Kids should not only see themselves in books, but also others. Rich stories can help kids form their own identities and learn about people who are different from them as well. Both of which are incredibly important for navigating in our diverse society.
Here are my Top 5 Recommendations for Diverse Books for Elementary School Students:
The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez (African-American)
Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy. In addition to rhyming text, the book includes back matter with information on the events, places, and people mentioned in the poem, from Mae Jemison to W. E. B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer to Sam Cooke, and the Little Rock Nine to DJ Kool Herc.
Meet Yasmin series by Saadia Faruqi (Muslim/Pakistani)
Yasmin is a spirited second-grader who's always on the lookout for those "aha" moments to help her solve life's little problems. Taking inspiration from her surroundings and her big imagination, she boldly faces any situation, assuming her imagination doesn't get too big, of course! A creative thinker and curious explorer, Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani American family will delight and inspire readers.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold (Autistic)
The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum and chronicles Bat's experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents.
Eyes Kiss in the Corner by Joanna Ho (Taiwanese/Chinese)
This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes and is a celebration of diversity.
A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers'. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother's, her grandmother's, and her little sister's.
Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment.
My Monster and Me by Nadiya Hussain (Muslim/British Bangladeshi)
A heartfelt story to help give children and parents the tools they need to talk about worries and anxiety.
A touching story about a little boy whose worry monster follows him everywhere he goes. It's there when he gets dressed, when he wants to play with his toys, and even when his friends come over to visit. How can he escape his worries?
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Add these incredible titles and more to your children's home library or purchase for the classroom at Tuma's Books.