• Helping Kids Rise

12 Diverse Children's Books to Look Forward to in 2018


Save the date! These books will be released in 2018!

Why it matters: Children need to see themselves represented in positive ways in the stories they read. This helps build confidence, high self esteem, and a sense of pride in who they are. It can also cultivate a colorful imagination where children can imagine the most beautiful dreams about their futures.

Children also need access to books that represent people who don’t look like them. Exposure to a diverse group of characters helps children build a positive connection with people who are different from. This positive connection cultivates understanding, empathy, and ultimately a stronger, more peaceful community.

These kinds of stats are why we get so excited when we see new children’s books featuring diverse characters! Although this study is from 2015, not much has changed, but we can make a difference. By supporting diverse authors and children's books, we send a signal to publishers that we want more!

So save the date and put these books on your must have list of children’s books for 2018.

Be A King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Dream and You

January 2, 2018

You can be a King. Stamp out hatred. Put your foot down and walk tall. You can be a King. Beat the drum for justice. March to your own conscience.

Featuring a dual narrative of the key moments of Dr. King's life alongside a modern class as the students learn about him, Carole Weatherford's poetic text encapsulates the moments that readers today can reenact in their own lives. See a class of young students as they begin a school project inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learn to follow his example, as he dealt with adversity and never lost hope that a future of equality and justice would soon be a reality. As times change, Dr. King's example remains, encouraging a new generation of children to take charge and change the world . . . to be a King. (Amazon)

Festival of Colors

January 30, 2018

Learn all about Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, in this lush picture book from bestselling mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal. Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun! (Amazon)

When God Made Light

February 13, 2018

From the author and illustrator of the best-selling When God Made You comes a new illuminating message about God's design affirming young readers. 'Let there be light!' that's what God said. And light began shining and then started to spread." Wild and creative illustrations from top children's illustrator David Catrow pair with Matthew Paul Turner's lyrical verse in this message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers. This light radiates, chasing away the shadows, providing the wonder and fun of stargazing or firefly chasing. Most important, this light appears in each child--an inner God-given spark that grows and will be used to change the world. (Amazon)

Hidden Figures

January 23, 2018

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrator Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers!

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…reallygood.

They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world.

In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as "colored computers," and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career. (Amazon)

Hurricane Child

March 27, 2018

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and -- worst of all -- Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back. But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend -- and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother -- before Caroline loses her forever. (Amazon)

Betty Before X

January 2, 2018

In Detroit, 1945, eleven-year-old Betty’s house doesn’t quite feel like home. She believes her mother loves her, but she can’t shake the feeling that her mother doesn’t want her. Church helps those worries fade, if only for a little while. The singing, the preaching, the speeches from guest activists like Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall stir African Americans in her community to stand up for their rights. Betty quickly finds confidence and purpose in volunteering for the Housewives League, an organization that supports black-owned businesses. Soon, the American civil rights icon we now know as Dr. Betty Shabazz is born.

Inspired by Betty's real life--but expanded upon and fictionalized through collaboration with novelist Renée Watson--Ilyasah Shabazz illuminates four poignant years in her mother’s childhood with this book, painting an inspiring portrait of a girl overcoming the challenges of self-acceptance and belonging that will resonate with young readers today. (Amazon)

I Am Enough

March 6, 2018

I Am Enough is the picture book everyone needs—a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation. (Amazon)

The Big Bed

February 6, 2018

From the creator of the Honest Toddler blog, The Big Bed is a humorous picture book about a girl who doesn't want to sleep in her little bed, so she presents her dad with his own bed―a camping cot!―in order to move herself into her parents' big bed in his place. A twist on the classic parental struggle of not letting kids sleep in their bed. (Amazon)

The Word Collector

January 30, 2018

Some people collect stamps.Some people collect coins.Some people collect art.And Jerome?Jerome collected words . . . In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him - short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. From the creator of The Dot and Happy Dreamer comes a celebration of finding your own words - and the impact you can have when you share them with the world. (Amazon)

What If

April 30, 2018

Creativity, the power of imagination, and the importance of self-expression are celebrated in this inspiring picture book written and illustrated by real-life best friends. This girl is determined to express herself! If she can't draw her dreams, she'll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can't do that, she'll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she'll sing, dance, and dream... Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit. (Amazon)

Mommy's Khimar

April 3, 2018

A young Muslim girl spends a busy day wrapped up in her mother’s colorful headscarf in this sweet and fanciful picture book from debut author and illustrator Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn.

A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head. A young girl plays dress up with her mother’s headscarves, feeling her mother’s love with every one she tries on. Charming and vibrant illustrations showcase the beauty of the diverse and welcoming community in this portrait of a young Muslim American girl’s life. (Amazon)

Know of any other diverse children's books that we should add to our list? We'd love to hear about them!

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