It can be uncomfortable and little scary to begin talking to your kids about race and differences. It’s more important than ever to start talking to your kids early and often. A great place to start is with books for preschoolers on race and differences.
If you’re wondering if very young kids are too young to talk about race, they’re not. Researchers have found that even kids as young as three months old prefer faces that look like their primary caretaker.
If you’re unsure of where to begin when it comes to starting conversations with your young children, you’re not alone—most adults find topics like race, gender and class difficult to talk about with children. But kids are notorious for learning what they can where they can, and as parents it’s our job sometimes to feel a little uncomfortable to help ensure our children are learning the right things.
My boys are both under 2 right now, and aren’t quite able to grasp the concept of “race” just yet. Archer (22 months old) IS however able to understand that people are different. I began to research on how to talk to young kids about race, and it kept leading me to starting with books for preschoolers on race and differences.
Today I’m going to share with you a few books that we personally own and love. This list of books is specifically curated for kids 0-5 years old. I also made sure to notate which books are board books as well.
Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. Full disclaimer here.
While some of these books are about race, the majority are about how our differences make us special (which I think is an easier concept for very young kids to grasp). As a parent of very young children, I struggled to find a good resource for this age group, so I hope this list is helpful in your own search!
Books on Race and Differences for Preschoolers
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyer
From the publisher: “Every day, everywhere, babies are born. They’re kissed and dressed and rocked and fed–and completely adored by the families that love them. With an irresistible rhyming text and delightfully endearing illustrations, this board book is an exuberant celebration of playing, sleeping, crawling, and, of course, very noisy babies doing all the wonderful things babies do best.”
What our family loves about this book are the illustrations, with beautiful images of all different types of babies! There’s special care paid to including babies of different ethnicities, different sizes, different ways babies are fed and the different types of families who love their babies.
Available here on Amazon as a board book for $6.99.
The Family Book by Todd Parr
From the publisher: “The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, the author assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way.”
With bold, bright colors and silly scenes of different types of families (Archer particuarly loves the elephant family), it encourages your child to ask questions. The Family Book is designed to encourage early literacy, enhance emotional development, celebrate multiculturalism, promote character growth, and strengthen family relationships.
Available here on Amazon as a larger sized paperback or a board book for $7.49 or at Target as the large sized paperback for $7.49.
Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung
From the publisher: “The reds, the yellows, and the blues all think they’re the best in this vibrant, thought-provoking picture book with a message of acceptance and unity. In the beginning, there were three colors . . .Reds, Yellows, and Blues.
All special in their own ways, all living in harmony―until one day, a Red says “Reds are the best!” and starts a color kerfuffle. When the colors decide to separate, is there anything that can change their minds? A Yellow, a Blue, and a never-before-seen color might just save the day in this inspiring book about color, tolerance, and embracing differences.”
This book is a beautiful, easy to understand picture book that tackles race in a very simple way for little kids. Find it here on Amazon for $12.00
We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street)
From the Publisher: “Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it’s our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place. This enduring, colorful, and charmingly illustrated book offers an easy, enjoyable way to learn about differences—and what truly matters.”
If you’re looking for books for preschoolers on race and differences, who better than Sesame Street to teach us that while we may all look different on the outside, we all have the same needs, desires, and feelings? Archer loves Elmo, and if you’re a younger parent you might remember your parents reading you this book too!
Find it here on Amazon for for $4.88.
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
From the publisher: “As everyone knows, nothing is sweeter than tiny baby fingers and chubby baby toes. . . . And here, from two of the most gifted picture-book creators of our time, is a celebration of baby fingers, baby toes, and the joy they—and the babies they belong to—bring to everyone, everywhere, all over the world!”
Similar to Everywhere Babies, our family loves this book because of the sweet, squishy babies of all different kinds! Archer likes to ask questions about the different babies, which makes this another wonderful book option for preschoolers to talk about race and differences.
Available here on Amazon as a padded board book for $6.89.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
(This book is currently out of stock everywhere I searched, which is why it is at the end of this list. However, this is an incredibly option to keep your eyes out for when it is available again!)
From the publisher: “Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.”
An Amazon Best Children’s Book of the Year selection and New York Times bestseller, this warm, welcoming picture book celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.
Add it to your wishlist here on Amazon to be notified when it’s back in stock!
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
(Another amazing option that is also currently out of stock everywhere)
From the publisher: “There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.”
Written by Jacqueline Woodsoon, the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, this #1 New York Times Bestseller is a beautiful book about finding the courage to connect with others, even when you feel scared and alone.
Add it to your Amazon wishlist here to be notified when it’s back in stock!
I hope this list of Books for Preschoolers on Race and Differences is helpful for you as you search for the right words to talk to your little ones. If you liked this list, please help us reach more parents who could use it by sharing this post and pinning on Pinterest.
Tried any of these books with your little one? Tag me today! I love seeing what y’all are up to.
Mention @simply.siobhan or tag #MimosasAndMotherhood!