This Includes Everyone: Picture Books that Encourage Inclusivity
One of my heroes, Mister Fred Rogers, once said, “The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.” Below are some picture books families can read together that prompt conversation about inclusion and recognizing worth in all of our neighbors.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
It’s Pet Club day, but not all pets are welcome, especially elephants. Through beautiful illustrations and a lyrical story, families are able to discuss how it feels to be left out and the importance of making others feel valued.
The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates
“Don’t worry that there won’t be enough room under the umbrella. Because there will always be room.” This umbrella protects EVERYONE from the rain. This charming book will leave all readers with a sense of responsibility to be as kind and inclusive as the big umbrella.
The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee
There’s a wall in the middle of this book and a knight believes this wall keeps him safe from the other side. He soon realizes that the other side of the wall isn’t so bad after all. This book can start great conversations about preconceived notions and how they are often distinctly wrong.
Egg by Kevin Henkes
Four eggs start the story, but only three hatch colorful, baby birds. The three baby birds wait in anticipation for their fourth sibling to hatch, but the baby birds and readers get a surprise when the fourth egg is not a bird, but an alligator. The alligator feels lonely and sad until the birds become its friend. Through simple, but rich text, families are able to discuss how the alligator feels before and after being friends with the birds.
Lovely by Jess Hong
This book addresses the question, “What is lovely?” The beautiful, detail-enriched illustrations give plenty for families to talk about what makes everyone valuable and “lovely.”
Come With Me by Holly M. McGhee
“All over the world the news told and told and retold of anger and hatred—people against people. And the little girl was frightened by everything she heard and saw and felt.” This book reminds readers that being kind is brave and it’s this bravery that will make our world a better place.
Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall
Red the crayon is labeled “RED” and everyone expects him to produce the color red, but all Red can do is color blue! Families can discuss how the red crayon felt when everyone criticized him for not coloring red and how he felt when another crayon recognized his true color.
Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks
Alex and Zina could not be more different. Alex is a BIG polar bear. Zina is a tiny penguin. Alex likes loud music. Zina likes peaceful music. Alex doesn’t mind a mess. Zina keeps her space tidy. Alex and Zina even live on opposite sides of the world, but somehow they are able to meet in the middle. Families can discuss that we all can respect and appreciate those who are different from us.
Just Because by Rebecca Elliot
A younger brother depicts all the things he loves to do with his older sister. Only as the tale unfolds do readers realize she has special needs. This amusing and charming story shows readers how to celebrate everyone’s gifts, no matter their disability.
My Two Blakets by Irena Kobald
A young girl has moved to a new country with her auntie and everything feels strange until she meets another little girl in the park. This new friendship gives her a sense of belonging and helps things not feel so strange.
The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler
This book doesn’t just encourage celebrating everyone’s skin that they come in, but also encourages children to love themselves. The lyrical rhymes and fun illustrations make this a great read-aloud.
The Skin You Live In is also available as an eBook.
We hope you enjoy these books that promote empathy and inclusion. Don’t forget to check out our Culturegrams database to learn more about other cultures so you can prompt more conversation about appreciating everyone’s history and culture.