“Kids who see their own experiences reflected in books gain self-confidence. And when they read about experiences that differ from their own, they develop curiosity and empathy.” Bookieboo
As educators of children, books are often our go-to when we want to illustrate ideas, begin conversations or delve deeper into understanding and empathy for others. We are seeing lots on social media about auditing and updating our home and classroom bookshelves to include titles that contain a diverse range of characters and address issues of inclusion.
As teachers (and/or parents), our responsibility lies in exposing the children in our care to books that are inclusive to help them grow. Celebrating diversity means reading books that have characters from different families, genders, ethnicity, religions, abilities, languages, sexual orientations, and a mixture of skin colours.
At this point, we want to say; we are by no means experts in this area. Like others, we too, are listening and learning. We decided to collate this list of books to help Aussie teachers in choosing some diverse titles for their classrooms and libraries. They are books that can be easily sourced in Australia. Many are inexpensive from large stores such as Big W and Kmart.
Indigenous Picture Books
Our home, Our heartbeat by Adam Briggs
Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy & Lisa Kennedy
Stories for Simon by Lisa Miranda Sarzin
Stolen Girl by Trina Saffiotti
Say Yes by Jennifer Castles & Paul Seden
Tell em’ by Katrina German & Rosemary Sullivan with the children of Manyallaluk School
Titles about being Australian
I’m Australian Too by Mem Fox
If I was Prime Minister by Beck & Robin Feiner
The Little Refugee by Ahn Do
Books About Equality and Kindness
Whoever you are by Mem Fox
An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing
All the ways to be smart by Davina Bell Lynas
This Love by Isabel Otter & Harriet
Kindness makes us strong by Sophie Beer
It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
Change Starts with Us by Sophie Beer
Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell
Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
The Girls by Lauren Ace & Jenny Lovlie
Don’t touch my hair by Sharee Miller
Sophia Sparks by Elanor Best
Persistence by Zanni Louise
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Books from the ‘Little People, BIG DREAMS’ series such as: Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr and Zaha Hadid.
Instagram accounts that can also help:
It is our job as teachers to get books these in front of our student’s eyes, into their hands, part of our curriculum and on the shelves of our classrooms, libraries and homes. It is everyone’s responsibility to step up and be inclusive.
Now might be the time when you are looking for activities or resources to help you discuss or learn about diversity in your classroom. We have the following print and go resources you might find helpful:
What to Read Next: