My Body, My Skin: Books for Young Children
These books celebrate the amazing work our bodies do every day and many different ways to take care of them and keep them moving. The titles on this booklist also highlight our rich diversity in appearance and abilities.
For related children's books and activities, see:
A Rainbow All Around Me
There are colors all around and each one evokes feelings and ideas. Here these colors are celebrated in lively language and full-color photographs that present – and exult – a multicultural cast of kids.
Bein' With You This Way
Product Description: On a beautiful sunny day, an African American girl visits the park and rounds up a group of her friends for an afternoon of fun and playground games. As they play, this happy crew discovers that despite their physical differences — straight hair, curly hair; brown eyes, blue eyes; light skin, dark skin — they are all really the same. With the irresistible and exuberant beat of a playground rap, Bein' with You This Way invites readers of all ages to join in this celebration of diversity.
Black Is Brown Is Tan
Rhythmic language and luminous paintings show the joy of this warm and loving family as they rejoice in their differences.
Meet Abuela and Isabela, who tell each other stories while Abuela braids and unbraids Isabela's hair every day. When Isabela discovers Abuela can't read, she finds a wonderful way to help her grandmother. Lovely illustrations bring Isabela and Abuela to life in this heartwarming book about the importance of passing down traditions across generations.
Everybody Wears Braids
A celebration of the many different ways a multiracial group of seven friends braid their hair. Spanish version available.
Preciosa has hair that won’t stay straight, won’t be confined. Rudine’s hair resists rollers, flat irons, and rules. Together, the girls play hair salon! They take inspiration from their moms, their neighbors, their ancestors, and cultural icons. They discover that their hair holds roots of the past and threads of the future. With rhythmic, rhyming verse and vibrant collage art, author NoNieqa Ramos and illustrator Keisha Morris follow two girls as they discover the stories hair can tell.
"Everybody in our family has different hair," begins this loving celebration of diversity among family members. Papa's hair is like a broom, Nenny's hair is slippery, and Mama's hair looks like rosettes and smells like warm bread. Terry Ybàñez's colorful illustrations, bordered by imaginative drawings, capture the uniqueness of each family member and their joy in being together.
Happy to Be Nappy
Exuberant language and jaunty illustrations seem to jump off the pages to celebrate "girlpie" hair, soft and billowy. With encouraging individuality, these girls love and accept themselves just the way they are.
I Am America
Look how different we are and see how much we are the same! Readers will surely see themselves in the pages of this book, which is full of color photographs of children's faces. The rhyming text and images celebrate the tapestry of cultures, religions, and physical appearances of children throughout the United States.
I Am Latino: The Beauty in Me
Product Description: I Am Latino: The Beauty in Me is a celebration of Latino children in all of their various shades, cultures, and customs. Poetic, affirmative text accompanies the bright and striking photographs of children and uses the five senses to lead the reader on an exploration of Latino foods, music, language, and more.
I love my hair!
As an African American mother combs her daughter's hair, she not only helps the child see its possibilities but recognize its beauty. Rich imagery is created through accessible language and radiant watercolors as well as the loving relationship between parent and child.
Let's Talk About It: Extraordinary Friends
Until children get to know someone who may seem different, they often respond to them with fear or anxiety. That usually changes when people become known as individuals. Six children with different disabilities are introduced in an even, calm text and authentic photographs while typical children’s responses to them are explored and validated.
My Body (Scholastic Discover More)
MY BODY answers children’s questions about their own bodies in an incredibly simple and appropriate way. Each spread is focused on a particular part of the body or movement a child understands. Body actions such as breathing, the food journey, and blood are touched on, as well as fun subjects such as hiccups, earwax, and goosebumps. The simple text is perfect for beginning readers. The photographs provide impact for children less interested in reading with big, bright pictures of the inside and outside of the body.
My Five Senses
Handsome, artistic sepia portraits of young and older African Americans combine with Hughes' short poem. Together image and word presents a memorable celebration of beauty and diversity of a people. Smith includes a note describing how he approached the classic poem.
This delightful book is set on a Caribbean island and features a little white rabbit who admires a beautiful black girl. He asks her what her secret is and she tells him to drink lots of black coffee and to eat lots of black beans. He doesn't give up though and in the end finds what change he can make.
Pretty Brown Face
Who is that beautiful face in the mirror? Why it is baby, held by a loving daddy. This simple yet appealing book is presented in a format appropriate for the youngest reader to hold.
Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children
Children come in many colors, and their different colored eyes in different shapes and various types and colors of hair combine to create beautiful and unique black people. Lyrical language is paired with well-composed photographs in this handsome book which celebrates black children specifically and all children in general.
The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story
Product Description: Meena is excited about the class play, a new and improved version of Red Riding Hood, until she learns that she must play one of the trees in the forest. She is just too clumsy to be a quiet, steady tree. One day at the Indian grocery store, Meena sees a yoga class in progress, and the store owner convinces her to try the children's class. Little does Meena know she is about to find a way to grow from the inside out, just like a tree, and move beyond her feelings of clumsiness and frustration.
Chubby cheeked babies of many hues are shown in crisp illustrations doing things that babies do. The simple words are playful and energetic, just like the children in this and others by Oxenbury such as Clap Hands and All Fall Down.
Product Description: This entertaining book for young children features two adventurous toddlers on an afternoon romp through their backyard. As they blow bubbles, pull their wagon, dig in the sandbox, play hide-and-seek, ride on swings, and play with toys, young readers discover what comes in twos: hands, feet, eyes, ears, legs, and arms.
Twist: Yoga Poems
Simple, evocative poetry suggest the meanings which inspire various yoga stances, movements, and more. The short poems coupled with handsome illustrations encourage imagination as together they show how a movement or pose can suggest something quite different.
We're Different, We're the Same (Sesame Street)
Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it's our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place. This enduring, colorful, and charmingly illustrated book offers an easy, enjoyable way to learn about differences—and what truly matters.
Whose Knees Are These?
Lilting language and bold shapes in flat colors encourage response as the narration asks who do these knees belong to? And in another book by Asim, your child will discover Whose Toes Are Those? The author's background as a poet is evident in the simple and evocative writing.
Your Skin Holds You In
Everything you never knew you wanted to know about skin is presented in an engaging, light combination of photographs and drawn lines. The result is an informative book that can be shared in layers, demonstrating that "it's your skin that holds you in!"
Yum! Yuck! A Foldout Book of People Sounds
No matter where they're from, people the world over share many emotions — though the way those feelings are expressed sounds a bit different in different places. In this companion to Mung-Mung, the sounds humans make when happy or exasperated are shown through clear illustration and interesting sounds.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!