Top 10 Infant, Toddler, and Early Childhood Level Diverse Read Alouds from 2021
An equitable world starts with you and your family. In order to create societies where people feel free to be themselves, we need to widely practice acceptance towards others and ourselves. As we age and potentially become more rigid in our social groups, it becomes harder to recognize and unlearn stereotypes, biases, and inequities. As a result, we can shy away from discussing important yet difficult topics because we simply don’t know where to begin. There is no better time to begin the work than during storytime. Through the power of read-alouds, show children how to love others and themselves where they’re at.
Appropriate for Infants, Toddlers, and Early Childhood, enjoy the following must-have, diverse read-alouds from 2021.
Read-Alouds for Infants & Toddlers
Families Can by Dan Saks and Brooke Smart (Illustrator)
Families come in all sorts of beautiful forms. These delightfully inclusive illustrations and sweet rhymes teach children to celebrate the love found in family units. Recognizing that families look different from each other, Families Can teaches children to embrace our differences.
The Crayons' Book of Feelings by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)
Part of a brilliant read-aloud series, this board book gives young readers a valuable list of emotional intelligence vocabulary words. Understanding and expressing our emotional landscapes in adaptive ways is necessary for a well-rounded life. Allow children to own their emotional power from a young age. (P.S. I love that Brown feels excited!)
Families Grow by Dan Saks and Brooke Smart (Illustrator)
Approach the topic of having (or adding) another child in the family with your little one. Framing a big life change in a positive and encouraging light, this read-aloud is great for growing families. The content briefly touches on adoption, surrogacy, and pregnancy, which should allow for more meaningful and inclusive conversations at home.
My First Book of Baby Signs: 40 Essential Signs to Learn and Practice by Lane Rebelo
Add another language to your baby’s growing lexicon. Offering clear, helpful guides along with diverse illustrations, this read-aloud supports families in teaching 40 necessary ASL signs.
Don't Push the Button! Let's Say Good Night: An Interactive Bedtime Story for Kids by Bill Cotter
Teach children the importance of self care in the form of a healthy bedtime routine. This read-aloud uses second-person you to immerse your reader into healthy habits. Get ready for bed alongside Larry the monster.
Read-Alouds for Early Childhood
All We Need by Kathy Wolff and Margaux Meganck (Illustrator)
Following three diverse families through their days, this touching read-aloud encourages us to find joy in the small moments. The art of giving, spending time with family, and being outside are all precious gifts that All We Need reminds us to cherish.
I Choose to Calm My Anger by Elizabeth Estrada
Written with Social and Emotional Learning in mind, this read-aloud offers powerful, tangible tools for managing anger. Learning adaptive coping mechanisms at an early age is a gift that will set children up for success in every aspect of life.
Watch Me: A Story of Immigration and Inspiration by Doyin Richards and Joe Cepeda (Illustrator)
This read-aloud is based on the author’s father’s immigration story. Watch Me covers important topics such as racism, immigration, bullying, and acceptance in a conversational, warm tone. Through the protagonist's story, children also learn about perseverance and the power of love.
Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster by Manka Kasha
In the author’s debut picture book, the protagonist faces their anxiety about the pressures of fitting into a gender identity box. Digging deep into their inner worlds and worries, Small Knight discovers that they can manage their inner worries by practicing self-acceptance.
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race by Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli, Isabel Roxas (Illustrator)
When we ignore race, we ignore the beauty, strength, and power of our differences. We ignore painful histories, triumphest successes, and the road to equity. Offering powerful education on overt and hidden racism, this read-aloud is an excellent place to begin anti-racist conversations.
About the Author
Kat St.Pierre (she/her) is a former 8th grade English teacher turned freelance content/copywriter. Passionate about being kind to others, the planet, and herself, she loves using her voice to amplify important conversations and educate with empathy. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.katstpierre.com.