This is a list of picture books featuring characters of varying ethnic backgrounds and experiences. I have read and enjoyed every book here with my sons ages 0-5. See over 60 more titles at Susie’s Bookshop.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This simple yet moving book is about a boy named Peter enjoying the wonders of winter.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena
C.J. and his Nana ride a city bus on their way to serving at a soup kitchen. This beautiful story shows the importance of dignifying and loving all people.
Feast for Ten by Cathryn Falwell
This book follows one family as they grocery shop and then prepare and enjoy a meal together at home. Lovely, collage-style illustrations.
*The excellent Christmas for Ten follows the same family as they celebrate Christmas.
Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Antastasia Tarpley
This book shares the story of Miles as he and his father go to the barbershop. Miles’ father shows him how to be brave for his first haircut. An upbeat, encouraging book.
The Animal Boogie by Debbie Carter
Children sing along as they discover jungle animals. The rhythmic language and vibrant illustrations make the book engaging.
Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse
A beautiful, lyrical book about the joy of rain after a drought and the ways people come together as a community.
Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn
This book follows Lola as she welcomes a baby brother into the family. A gentle introduction to welcoming a younger sibling and a reminder of parents’ continued love for the older sibling.
The Airport Book by Lisa Brown
A young family navigates the airport together. This is a sweet, funny, informative book.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
This book is about a boy who faces his fears. His father encourages and cheers him on.
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson
A colorful, joyful rendition of the song “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”
Love and the Rocking Chair by Leo and Diane Dillon
This book tells the story of a family heirloom as it moves through generations. A beautiful story of family connectedness.
Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning
A family enjoys an evening at home together. Mom and Dad dance into the night and the children come down to the kitchen and join them. Warm and exuberant.
Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
Peter is not excited about a baby sister joining the family. He wrestles with the change and in the end accepts his new role.
Do Like Kyla by Angela Johnson
A younger sister follows her older sister’s example throughout the day. A sweet winter story.
Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora
An elderly woman makes a fragrant stew and shares it with neighbors. Celebrates generosity and community.
The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
This book is about a young girl’s visit with her grandparents. Told from her perspective, it is filled with wonder, joy, and tenderness.
Off To Market by Elizabeth Dale
This heartwarming book reinforces the importance of putting others’ needs above your own. The words are rhythmic and and the illustrations are expressive and lighthearted.
Hike by Pete Oswald
This is a wordless picture book about a father and son who go on a hike and continue a family tree-planting tradition. Sometimes with wordless books it is difficult to trace the story arc and kids lose interest. This one is exceptionally engaging and our boys keep asking to read it. Plus it reinforces values like spending time outside, overcoming fears, and experiencing closeness with a family member.