People around the world are celebrating diversity and inclusivity this month to mark the month of Pride. Each year this month is the perfect time to talk about social and self-acceptance, achievements and legal rights. It’s also a reminder that growing up in 2019 means our little ones will face society very different to the one we grew up in. So, what is the best way that parents can prepare their little ones for the world today?
To help, BookTrust, the UK’s largest reading charity, has pulled together a list of our favourite fantastic, fun children’s books (for 5 and under) that show – and celebrate – diverse families, gender fluidity and more!
Letting children see different types of people, family situations and relationships inside the covers books you share with them is a lovely way to share and insight into the world around them. However, these kinds of picture books are not always the easiest to come by, so we have done the heavy lifting for you.
Emily Drabble, Head of Books, BookTrust “Books can be both windows and mirrors to the world – it’s important to be able to learn about the people environment around you through reading and be able to see yourself within books. That’s why reading to your little ones is an impactful way to teach your child about LGBTQI+ themes in our world and different situations that they might face as they grow up, or perhaps that are already in your family.”
Author: Mary Hoffman Illustrator: Ros Asquith
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
The Great Big Book of Families is about the diversity of families. The simple message is that every family is unique and special and that there is no such thing as “normal” or “abnormal”. Books simply don’t get much more inclusive than this.
Author: Patricia Hegarty Illustrator: Ryan Wheatcroft
Publisher: Caterpillar Books
On each double-page spread of this vibrant, lovely book, families show the different ways they experience a variety of common experiences to us all. Overall, the great thing about families, whatever their makeup, is that they help us through the difficult times.
Author: Susan Meyers Illustrator: Marla Frazee
Publisher: Red Wagon Books
This gorgeous board book follows all sorts of babies – ‘small babies, tall babies, winter and spring babies’ – over the course of a year. It’s a true celebration of babies and the joy and giggles they bring – and also highlights the diversity of everyday family life.
Author: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell Illustrator: Henry Cole
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Books
Roy and Silo are two boy penguins who live in the zoo in New York’s Central Park. This is a really delightful story and the message behind it is subtle. It’s a true story, and you can learn more about it in a note
at the end.
Author: Emma Dodd
With simple rhyme and colourful artwork, this picture book celebrates every bit of the human body and reminds us that
each and every body is different. Another success from the bestselling author-illustrator.
Author: Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma Illustrator:
Publisher: Barefoot Books
Designed by a child development expert so it supports the way babies naturally learn language, this book is full of warm colours and down-to-earth glimpses of family life. There are over 100 words to learn in this sturdy board book.
Author: Craig Pomranz Illustrator: Margaret Chamberlain
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
A delightful and gently revolutionary picture book that challenges our absurd notions about what constitutes ‘normal’ or ‘appropriate’.
Author: Leslea Newman Illustrator: Carol Thompson
Publisher: Tricycle Press
What a treat: a warm and adorably illustrated board book about a loving family which just happens to have two mums in it. There’s a fun, upbeat universality to it: the packing of lunches, the trip to the playground, the baking of cakes and the end-of-the-day bath.
Author: Todd Parr
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
A joyous picture book about the importance of family and all the strength it can give you, this celebrates family in all its wonderful, diverse glory. The message is subtle, but a crucial one: every family is special and the only thing that matters is love.
Author: Jessica Love
About: When Julian spots three women in lavish mermaid costumes, it fires his imagination and all he can think about
is becoming a mermaid himself – with a little help from his nana’s soft furnishings.
Author: Jessica Walton
Illustrator: Dougal MacPherson
About: Errol starts to notice that his teddy bear Thomas seems sad – he has always known he is a girl teddy, but is worried that Errol will not want to play with him anymore. A rare but much-needed picture book about gender fluidity.