Books and Toys That Celebrate Diversity

By Published On: June 14th, 2023

Spark conversations about inclusivity and foster a sense of belonging with these thoughtfully curated books and toys that embrace different cultures, races, and identities.

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Summertime is just around the corner, and with the state of the economy, sending your child to summer camp may not be possible this year. And even if they’re going, most camps are only for a portion of the day. So, what will you do for all of those hours before you’re able to justify sending them to bed while the sun is still up? Whether you’ve planned a family vacation or “fun” family road trip, or you plan to spend lazy days by the pool or in your backyard, you’ll be sure to hear “I’m bored” and “Are we there yet,” a few hundred times.

We’re here to rescue you, keep your kiddos entertained and help them learn some valuable lessons—whether at home or on the go. We’ve compiled various books and toys that embrace diversity by showing multigenerational and multicultural families. Inclusivity is an essential characteristic of well-rounded children, and we have a feeling you will also enjoy learning and playing with them!


Juneteenth: A Picture Book for Kids Celebrating Black Joy

Van G. Garrett’s Juneteenth: A Picture Book for Kids Celebrating Black Joy tells the story of the Juneteenth celebration, a commemoration of the historic day that the remaining enslaved people were informed of their freedom. The story is seen through the eyes of a young boy as he is transported back in time to 1865 Galveston, Texas, the origin of Juneteenth. He witnesses a parade and learns all about the significance of the celebration, gaining respect, appreciation, and enthusiasm along the way. Not only is this a great story, but it also offers an opportunity to have age-appropriate conversations with your kids about American history. Ages 4-8

Grandma’s Tipi: A Present-Day Lakota Story

A third grader named Clara spends the summer with her grandmother on the Standing Rock Reservation in the book Grandma’s Tipi: A Present-Day Lakota Story by S. D. Nelson. A surprise greets her when she arrives–a family heirloom synonymous with the Native American culture. Her uncle brings out a tipi that has been in the family for generations, and the young girl learns all about her culture while enjoying the memories she makes with her family. Ages 4-8

You Will Do Great Things

Grammy-nominated songstress Amerie pens You Will Do Great Things, a mesmerizing story that follows a young boy as he delves into family photos and allows his imagination to take him on the journey of a lifetime. He taps into the strength of his ancestors to gain poignant experiences and knowledge that profoundly affect him. The beautiful illustrations by Raissa Figueroa, paired with this captivating story, will undoubtedly make your child want to read this book over and over again. For an even more engaging experience, parents may want to take out some old family photos so their kids can have their own personal fantastical daydreams. Ages 4-8

Remembering Mom’s Kubbat Halab

Young Bushra and Sherzat’s mother recently passed away, and they miss her presence and her meatless rice-and-potato patties called “kubbut halab” in Remembering Mom’s Kubbat Halab by Medeia Sharif. Bushra decides to recreate her mom’s delicious dish and recaptures wonderful memories of her beloved mother along the way. This may be a great way to broach the topic of grief with a kiddo, especially if they’ve experienced a recent loss. Ages 4-8

Shine Bright

Sixteen-year-old author, activist, and business owner Kheris Rogers writes Shine Bright, her debut picture book about a young girl named Imani, who is being bullied over the color of her skin. With the help of her sister and powerful affirmations, Imani soon realizes that she is not only beautiful on the inside but on the outside, too. Ages 4-8

Oh No, the Aunts Are Here

Haven’t we all been present at a family reunion where one of our relatives leaves that lasting impression that will go down in family gossip lore? Adam Rex’s hilarious book, Oh No, the Aunts Are Here doesn’t have just one relation to speak of … there are several. You can show off your kid’s reading skills by having them read this story aloud at this summer’s family reunion barbeque. Wonder which family members will recognize themselves in the pages of this multigenerational book? Ages 5-8


Greetings from Around The World Cutouts

Bonjour! Yassou! Hoi! Your kids will be able to say hello and goodbye in languages from all around the world with this 60-piece set of Greetings From Around The World Cutouts from Fun Express. Children will also be able to identify the respective countries’ flags and gain recognition of different cultures. The cards are nicely sized at 10 inches long and 4 inches wide. Ages 0+

HarperIman Dolls

“It is hard to be what you cannot see,” says the founders of HarperIman Dolls, Cynthia and Kathryn. The mom-and-daughter duo created this line of handmade linen dolls because they were dissatisfied with the lack of representation in the doll market. These beautiful keepsakes come in various skin tones that you can select and hair textures that children of color can identify with. They make a perfect companion for children of all races and are great for shelf display, too! The dolls are filled with non-allergic polyester, measuring between 18 to 20 inches long, and parents can choose either the “Tea Party” or “More to Love” (curvy) sizes. Ages 3+

Memory & Matching Game

The I Never Forget a Face, Memory & Matching Game by eeBoo showcases 24 pairs of tiles illustrating children from around the world. The back of the box identifies each child’s home country, opening up a beautiful learning activity for your kids. Bonus: This woman-owned business uses 90% recycled materials and prints the images with vegetable-based inks. Ages 3+

Multicultural Construction Paper

Construction paper representing various skin tones can create simple crafts packed with lessons that all children should learn. They can use the Prang Shades of Me Construction Paper to trace and cut out their hands or use their pre-cut miniature full-body figures. To add to their multicultural experience, Outus has great pre-cut faces. They’ll create characters that look just like they do, building self-esteem. Even more, when your little artist sees themselves represented, even in something as ordinary as construction paper, their self-esteem will benefit; identifying with the characters they create will have long-lasting effects well past creative and imaginative play. The faces and figures also come with dots of sticky putty for displaying their creations. Ages 0+

Pose & Play Kids

These adorable multi-ethnic Pose and Play Kids figurines by Lakeshore come in packs of four and measure over 3 inches tall. You can bend them into a hug with their chum and lift their arm to slap a high five or say “Hello.” There are also multi-ethnic family sets (parents measure just under 5 inches tall) with five figures, allowing for great imaginative play. Kids can create multi-ethnic or nontraditional families, and everybody can come over and hang out together! Ages 3-6

For children to truly thrive, it’s important that they are exposed to different races and cultures. Your child’s ability to form positive self-concepts has a lot to do with having others respect key facets of their identities. Ensure your little ones consume diverse and inclusive content in movies and television, as well as everyday items like books and toys, to promote compassion, empathy, and acceptance of children from all backgrounds.