Books that teach kids about diversity


Amandla Stenberg plays the character Rue in the movie "The Hunger Games". Many readers of the book that inspired the movie tweeted their disappointment when they saw the African American actress on screen. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

“The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz (Henry Holt and Co., 1999). While taking a walk with her mom, 7-year-old Lena notices that everyone in her neighborhood is a unique shade of brown. She admires her baby sitter’s bronze and amber tone and compares her friend Isabella’s chocolate skin to cupcakes she had at a birthday party. Vibrant and detailed illustrations bring home the point that each shade is beautiful and valued. This book is for ages 4 and up.

“We’re Different, We’re the Same” by Bobbi Jane Kates (Random House, 1992). This Sesame Street title discusses how we all may look quite different, but we actually have a lot in common. And by “we,” Kates refers not just to humans of all hues but also muppets of all shapes and sizes. This is a fun, happy book for ages 5 and up.

“Same, Same but Different” by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (Henry Holt and Co., 2011). This picture book describes the correspondence between Elliot, a boy in the United States, and his pen pal Kailash, a boy in India. The boys are growing up in different environments, but enjoy some of the same activities, such as climbing trees and caring for pets. This read is for children ages 4 and up.

Within a three-hour radius of D.C., you can find people of all colors. People who live on farms and people who live in condos. People who speak one language, and others who know four or more. But they probably all like Kung-Fu Panda. A great way to see this diversity, yet similarity, is to visit libraries across the metro area with your children.

Guest blogger Vibha Sazawal lives in Northwest D.C. with her son and husband.

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