Are you looking for a way to teach your children or students how to be inclusive? Empathetic? Kind? A good person??? Well, you have come to the right place. I have been working in the Special Education field since 2009 and I have learned so much as an aide, a teacher, an education specialist, and an inclusion consultant and I am here to give you all the fast tips and facts.
One of my favorite ways to teach all of these values is through reading.
We read many, many books in our house. I strongly believe books are the BEST way to get the ball rolling. Books can start the discussion of why do people look different, why are they responding that way, what would you do in this situation?
The books below is just the tip of the iceberg. There are SO MANY books out there now that discuss inclusion. But these books are some of my favorite beginner books. These books all have characters with a wide variety of representation and discuss valuing each other's differences.
Have a book I need to add? Comment below!
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Let's get to the list.
Click on the title or picture to be redirected to Amazon.
Now this book has already been repurchased because we read our original copy so much the book literally fell apart. Telling you how much we love this book is an understatement. This book has simple wording and colorful illustrations and represents a wide variety of families.
I worked with the deafblind community for years. My first job as a one on one aide was with a student who is deafblind and I fell in love with the community. People who are deafblind so quickly get put into this box that they will never be independent or successful, but boy is that mindset dangerously wrong. However, once I started working in the field, I realized there is very little deafblind representation in books! To fix the problem, I wrote a book. Tyler the Snake is a snake who is deafblind and is bringing you with them on their walk to class. Tyler introduces you to his friends with a variety of disabilities and goes over different ways to communicate with people. 5 out of 5 starts. No biases over here.
I am a huge fan girl of Heather Avis. I own all 4 of her books, 2 adults and 2 children's, and absolutely love them. Her view on the world is beautiful and her voice is phenomenal. Her most recent book Everyone Belongs is such a great example of how working together and being creative, we can find ways for everyone to be included in the fun!
This author is another favorite of mine and I can't wait for her next book that I am assuming is on the way! Jessica Parham has written two children's books and we love both of them so very much. Her first book is this one, Good to Be Me. So much representation in this book! Different cultures, different bodies, different abilities. It's got it all! Her second book, Baking Up A Storm is also amazing and it rhymes. I love rhymes.
Now this group is a women run business and they are amazing. These are other books that we bought two sets of and destroyed are first set from reading them so much. They are board books and just so so good. So much representation of REAL people! These books are pricey, but worth every penny. They just came out with new books and I can't wait to get my hands on them!
If you are looking for a book to show how a community thrives on accepting differences and celebrating what we can do together, then this book is for you. I am not sure how I even came upon this book, but fell in love with it instantly. It's a book about how reds, yellows, and blues lived together but only married their own kind, then separated, until a yellow and blue become inseparable and change everything by having a baby, green. The possibilities are now endless and so are the talking points you can have with your children with this book.
I am huge on body positivity and sex education for children (which at a young age means, talking about your body, consent, public and private places, etc. - check out my sex ed blog post for more books/info about that). But this book is my favorite and it blows my mind how uncomfortable this books makes adults. There are naked bodies, children and adults, of all shapes and sizes and abilities. This book is a MUST!!
Another book that is great for body positivity (and let's be real, we all need this). This book has representation all over the darn place. One of my favorite pages shows people at a park and one person has a guide dog. I briefly told my child that we don't pet guide dogs because they are working and next time around she
We use the language from this book a lot in our house. Kids love to stare but boy does it make people uncomfortable. This book gives you some language about what to do instead of staring, like say hello! What I love about this book (spoiler alert) is that it also gives the bear a place to stare!
A classic. This book is one that many know as a great example of an inclusive book. Instead of focusing on a disability or cultural difference, this book gives children different pets. A pet party is planned in the neighborhood and on the sign it says "Strictly No Elephants." The conversations you can have with this book can range from empathy, asking how that sign might make the child feel, to inclusion, discussing what we should do when someone is excluded.
So here it is. My personal Top 10 favorite books to teach #inclusion to children. Books not only help educate children but also give us adults the language we need when we are at a loss for words. The Bear who stared helped me through my first encounter with my toddler staring at people at the store. I mentioned the bear who stared and asked her what we could do differently. I gave some suggestions, such as, wave, say hi, or smile and she chose one and we continued on through out our day.
Books are so easy to pop in throughout your day and can teach your children (and you) so much! What children books have you learned from? What books do I need to add to my Amazon cart?
Inclusion starts with you and I just want to help!
Happy Reading :)