Diversity in Children’s Literature

diversity in childrens books(Image found on https://abagond.wordpress.com/2008/07/11/white-privilege/)

There is no denying that there are more children’s books with white characters than any other race. However, with increasing awareness of white privilege, more children’s literature with diversity is emerging. This page highlights books that include more diversity in children’s literature.

Diverse Picture Books

Out of all the books previewed for this assignment, these three stood out because they specifically address the idea of individuals being different from others. Chocolate Me! (Diggs, 2011), is the experience of a boy that is teased for his different features (big nose, curly hair, dark ski, etc.) but then he learns to celebrate those features. Less Than Half, More Than Whole (Lacapa, 1994) addresses the idea of not being black or white, but somewhere in between and accepting oneself for who they are. I Am Latino (Pinkney, 2007) also celebrates the beauty of a non-white person.

Pinkney-I am Latino

Diggs, T., & Evans, S. W. (2011). Chocolate me! New York, NY: Feiwel and Friends.

Lacapa, K., & Lacapa, M. (1994). Less than half, more than whole. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Publishing Company.

Pinkney, S. L., & Pinkney, M. C. (2007). I am Latino: The beauty in me. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

The following books listed/pictured below feature characters of different races. A couple, such as The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen (Godin, 2014) and My Family Plays Music (Cox, 2003), have main characters that are not white, but include white characters in the pictures.

Codell, E. R., & Rama, S. (2012). It’s time for preschool. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Cox, J., & Brown, E. (2003). My family plays music. New York, NY: Holiday House.

Godin, T. L., & Brantley-Newton, V. (2014). The hula-hoopin’ queen. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books, Inc.

Isadora, R. (2006). What a family. New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Rockwell, A., & Rockwell, L. (2016). Library day. New York, NY: Aladdin.

Scanlon, L. G., & Newton, V. B. (2012). Think big. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Star Bright Books (2009). Carry me. Cambridge, MA: Star Bright Books.

Weinstone, D. & Vogel, V. (2015). Music class today! New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux.

Historical Picture Books

This sub-category of picture books have historical references. These feature real non-white people and what they accomplished. A lot of them have to do with gaining equal rights in the United States. The Crossing (Naopli, 2011) is about Sacagawea’s journey west with Lewis and Clark. The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore (Nelson, 2015) earned the Coretta Scott King Award.

Nelson, V. M., & Christie, R. G. (2015). The book itch: Freedom, truth & Harlem’s greatest bookstore. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books.

Napoli, D. J., & Madsen, J. (2011). The crossing. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Bandy, M. S., Stein, E., &Ransome, J. E. (2015). Granddaddy’s turn: A journey to the ballot box. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Bandy, M. S., Stein, E., & Strickland, S. (2011). White water. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Robbins, D., Qualls, S., & Alko, S. (2016). Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. New York, NY: Orchard Books.

Picture Books Featuring Only One Race

The next section focuses on books that highlight or show only one race within the book. Many of them featuring African Americans have earned Coretta Scott King awards. The Snowy Day (Keats, 1962) won a Caldecott Medal.

African American

Brown, T. F., & Evans, S. W. (2013). My cold plum lemon pie bluesy mood. New York, NY: Viking.

Chocolate, D., & Rosales, M. (1995). On the day I was born. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

Collier, B. (2000) Uptown. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Cook, T., & Binch, C. (2014). Look back! Northampton, MA: Crocodile Books.

Copeland, M., & Myers, C. (2014). Firebird. New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Hughes, L., & Collier, B. (2012). I, too, am America. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Isadora, R. (1991). At the crossroads. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.

Keats, E. J. (1962). The snowy day. New York, NY: The Viking Press.


The following selections feature Asian characters.

Chen, Y. (2009). A gift. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.

Demi (1999). The donkey and the rock. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Krakauer, H. Y. L. (1994). Rabbit mooncakes. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

San Souci, R. D., Tseng, J., & Tseng, M. (1998). Fa Mulan. New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children.

Say, A. (1991). Tree of cranes. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflen Company.

Yang, B. (2004). Hannah is my name. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.

Native American

Here are a few books with Native American’s as the main characters.

Boyden, L., & Cordova, A. (2002). The blue roses. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books, Inc.

Lacapa, M. (1990). The flute player: An Apache folktale. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Publishing.

Littlewood, K. (2010). Immi’s gift. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers.

Medearis, A. S., & Byrd, S. (1991). Dancing with the Indians. New York, NY: Holiday House


Here is a small handful of children’s books featuring Latinos.

Chocolate, D., & Diaz, D. (2009). El Barrio. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Dorros, A., & Kleven, E. (1995). Isla. New York, NY: Dutton Children’s Books.

Griessman, A., & Gore, L. (2005). The fire. New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Thong, R. G., & Parra, J. (2013). Round is a tortilla: A book of shapes. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Torres, L. (2004). The kite festival. New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux.

(Images pulled from amazon.com)