Raising a body-positive kid can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, especially with so many negative messages out there about the ways boys and girls should look and act. Today, we’re sharing our fave children’s books that celebrate differences and teach kids to love themselves and others, no matter what they look like. Scroll on for new reads to add to your tiny tot’s bookshelf.
1. Curlee Girlee by Atara Twersky ($15): If you’re familiar with the tangles and tears that stem from luscious curls, pick up this book stat. It’ll have your little one taking pride in her wavy tresses and proclaiming a pro-curly hair message to the world.
2. You Are Special by Max Lucado ($17): This classic children’s book is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and its message about acceptance and self-love still rings true today. It’s a book your kiddo will come back to over and over again.
3. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees ($7): When you hear a discouraged “I can’t” coming from your little one’s mouth, shove this book into her hands. After giggling at Giles the Giraffe’s amazing dance moves, she’ll remember that she’s capable of anything.
4. El Deafo by Cece Bell ($11): This hilariously memorable graphic novel will change the way your child thinks about disabilities, whether or not they’re sporting hearing aids of their own.
5. Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates ($17): Adults have Hairspray for hair empowerment and good tunes, and now kids have this gorgeously illustrated and empowering book to keep them feeling proud of their locks.
6. I Am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones ($15): With glowing recommendations from Halle Berry and Heidi Klum and a heartwarming story that celebrates every skin tone, this charming and sweet book is a no-brainer pick for your kid’s bookshelf.
7. We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates ($5): Trust that the makers of the best children’s television show ever, Sesame Street, know how to talk to your kids about the differences between us and how those differences make the world a better place.
8. Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt ($17): Being body positive isn’t only about celebrating different physical appearances or even abilities, as Lynda Mullaly proves with her must-read children’s novel about a girl with dyslexia.
9. Brontorina by James Howe and Randy Cecil ($7): Yes, the brilliant and hilarious author of Bunnicula also tackles body issues in his laugh-out-loud book about a dino who dreams of becoming a ballerina. Get ready to root for Brontorina, the brontosaurus with big dreams.
10. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings ($18): Whether you’re nabbing this book to help your kids understand trans issues or you’ve got a child with gender questions of their own, you won’t be disappointed. Based on the story of Jazz Jennings, a young trans activist, this book is an essential addition to every library.
11. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown ($18): Why fit in when sticking out is so much more fun? That’s the question tackled by Monica Brown’s book, which will have your kids taking pride in all the things that make them special.