One of my core beliefs about children’s literature is that representation matters. It’s important for kids of all races and ethnicities to see characters that look like them in the books they read. It’s also important for kids in the majority culture to see kids that don’t look like them in the books they read. No matter where we live, books can teach us more about who we are and more about the world around us.
Representation matters for even the youngest of readers. This collection of diverse board books will show babies and toddlers the beautiful rainbow of people in our world. It’s never too early to start teaching your little ones about the beauty of diversity!
17 Diverse Board Books for Babies and Toddlers
A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
One of my favorite picture books is now in board book form! This rhyming picture book travels through the alphabet and also through the life of an activist. If your family is dedicated to championing equality and taking action to defend what is right, you will want this book in your library.
Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara
Another excellent book from Innosanto Nagara! This one teaches numbers, as well as what it means to live together in community. This board book is great on its own or alongside A is for Activist.
One Love by Cedella Marley
This beautiful adaptation of the classic Bob Marley song is a great illustration of the power of love. Through love, a community comes together to make the world a better place. Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations show all kinds of children celebrating love together.
Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children
See babies from all around the world! This book is a collection of beautiful photographs that show little ones from all around the globe. It’s a great tool for teaching about our big, wide world and all of the special people in it.
Whose Toes Are Those? by Jabari Asim
I love, love, love this series of board books from Jabari Asim. Little ones are encouraged to explore their bodies and learn more about how they work, with illustrations that show an adorable child with brown skin. You’ll also love Asim’s book, Whose Knees Are These?
Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin
Dim Sum is more than a meal; it’s an experience! This book follows a Chinese-American family as they enjoy a traditional dim sum meal together. This book teaches so much in just a few pages.
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
Everyone has a job to do as a Chinese-American family prepares for Chinese New Year. This bright board book is perfect for tiny hands, and a great way to teach about the Lunar New Year.
Besos for Baby by Jen Arena
This book introduces Spanish words, wrapped in a sweet story about all the people who have besos (kisses) for baby. A really fun read-aloud with little ones who can give hugs and kisses!
Lucha Libre: Anatomy/Anatomia by Patty Rodriguez
I’m totally in love with the Lil’ Libros board book series. They teach basic facts, Hispanic culture, and Spanish vocabulary to little learners. This adorable selection uses Mexican luchadores to teach about parts of the body.
My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith
This sweet book is a celebration of the small things that bring great joy. The illustrations show beautiful Indigenous children cultivating happiness in the everyday moments of life.
Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Parents will be able to relate to this rhyming story that asks a sweet child to “please, baby please” cooperate! Authored by film director Spike Lee and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee, this book is a fun read-aloud kids will ask for over and over.
I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
This book is a beautiful picture of self-acceptance. It encourages black children not only to be proud of their hair, but to be proud of their culture and heritage. The beautiful illustrations and vivid story makes this book feel like an intimate peek into the narrator’s life.
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
Perfect to read with babies, this book shows a little one playing peekaboo with various family members. It’s a bright and happy book that is guaranteed to make you smile.
Baby Dance by Ann Taylor
My baby is eight months old, and he loves to be held in the air, spun in a circle, and danced with. This book captures that moment of parental love and joy in a way that kids and adults will love.
Mommy, Mama, and Me and Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman
Family diversity is important, too! These sweet board books show the loving bond between parents and children. Toddlers and their parents spend a day playing, learning, and growing together. See more books about LGBT+ families here.
Loving Me by Debbie Slier
One of my favorite board books! Gorgeous photos of Native American families highlight the bond between children and their parents, grandparents, and siblings. If you like this book, you will enjoy Slier’s other board book, Cradle Me.
Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
This bright and beautiful board book teaches the youngest readers the principals of being actively antiracist. I really love how this book takes incredibly important ideas and makes them simple enough for toddlers to begin to understand. I love reading this book with my little one!