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Great Kids Books That Reflect a More Diverse Reality

Great Kids Books That Reflect a More Diverse Reality

Like most families, bedtime is sacred at goop’s Elise Loehnen’s house.

“I try to make it home for bedtime even if I have a work event or dinner with friends later that night. I will typically hop in the bathtub with our boys (Max, 4.5; Sam, 1.5) and then we cuddle in for books—with some screen-time sandwiched in there, too, because, well, nobody is perfect. Max requires at least three books before he’ll switch out the lights; Sam’s tolerance is not so high. It is surprisingly hard to find children’s books that are appropriately diverse—and equally hard to find good books with female heroines, though it seems like times are starting to change. Below, some of Max’s favorites.”

 

  • Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

    Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

    This entire series—Iggy Peck, Architect; Rosie Revere, Engineer; Ada Twist, Scientist—is in perpetual rotation at our house. Iggy, Rosie, and Ada are all in Miss Greer’s first-grade class (and make cameos in each other’s stories)—the text is great, the stories are epic, and the protagonists are far from your typical children’s book fodder.

  • The New Small Person by Lauren Child

    The New Small Person by Lauren Child

    We leaned on this book hard when Max got a new baby brother. It’s the story of Elmore Green, an only child whose reality shifts with the entrance of an annoying small person who licks his jelly beans and has different taste in TV.

     

  • The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble

    The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble

    I grew up with all of Paul Goble’s gorgeously illustrated books, though this story was always my favorite (and accordingly, I’ve made it Max’s favorite, too). It’s a Native American story about a girl who falls in love with a stallion and becomes a horse.

  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole

    And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole

    This is a true story about Silo and Roy, two male chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo who fell in love, built a nest, and sat on rocks in an attempt to have their own child—Mr. Gramsay, the zookeeper, gives them an abandoned egg to nurture and raise as their own.

  • The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller and Frank Morrison

    The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller and Frank Morrison

    Set in ’60s Tennessee, immediately after Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics, this is a story about healthy competition between two young girls (and why things like new shoes don’t really matter).

  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

    Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

    CJ and his grandmother ride the bus across town—to the very last stop. And on the journey, CJ asks her why they don’t have a car, or an iPod which prompts her to turn him deftly toward the wider world.

     

More Books Max Loves

Books From my Childhood Still in Rotation

  • Amos & Boris by William Steig

    Amos & Boris by William Steig

    I can’t read this book without crying. It’s a story about a long-lasting friendship between two unlikely pals (a mouse and a whale), who each find a way to save the other’s life

  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

    Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

    While every Robert McCloskey book is a classic, I always loved this story about berry picking the best—in part because Sal’s mom somehow doesn’t overreact when she realizes that her daughter is following an enraged bear who has been separated from her cub.

  • Why Do Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears? by Verna Aardema and Leo Dillon

    Why Do Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears? by Verna Aardema and Leo Dillon

    This African folk story is stunningly illustrated, and tells the story of how seemingly inconsequential actions can have a rippling effect on the world.

  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

    Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

    Written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, this is the story of Miss Alice Rumphius, who trails the seeds of lupine behind her wherever she goes, ultimately making the world more beautiful in her wake.

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