Learning About Differences

Shepherd Park/Juanita E. Thornton LibraryStaff Picks

Learning About Differences

Not just for adults any more!

In cities like Washington, D.C. there are so many people and they are all unique. This curated list contains a variety of protagonists and thoughts about differences. Let's celebrate the beautiful diversity of our city with diverse reads!

Picture books for early readers

Lovely by Jess Hong
What is lovely? So many things! Big or small, soft or spiky, this book is a great opportunity for talking about differences and how they make the world a lovelier place.

Julián is a Mermaid by Jess Love
Julián sees the most beautiful mermaids while on the subway with his abuela. When he gets home, he wants to be a mermaid too and finds that his creativity is valuable.

Bear and Bee by Sergio Ruzzier
Bear is so hungry after his long winter nap and he wants some honey but he is scared because he has heard that bees are terrible and dangerous monsters who never share their honey. Meeting a bee helps him challenge his preconceptions in a manner that kids will find effective and hilarious. 

It's Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
Todd Parr once again covers all the bases in a brightly colored book about differences. From missing a few teeth to having a worm as a pet, this poignant and upbeat book will help early readers understand that everyone is different and that is ok.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
This book follows a day in a classroom of diverse children. As they spend their morning together, eat lunch and participate in afternoon activities, a rhyming text reinforces that all the children are welcome. 

Pezzettino by Leo Lionni
A little piece is certain that he is part of another being, but is left out by others over and over. Only upon spending some time on his own does he realize that he is himself and that he doesn't have to be someone else to be important. A more metaphorical pick.

Chapter books for elementary students

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look
Alvin is scared of almost everything. Who can blame him? The world is a scary place sometimes. Except, being scared of almost everything kind of makes it hard to make friends. Join Alvin through a variety of adventures as he navigates speaking in class, chicken pox and standing up to bullies.

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? by Chris Barton
Barbara Jordan was always more outspoken than her peers. So what did she do? She used her voice to advocate for the rights of others by working hard, becoming a lawyer, congressperson and teacher to make the world a better place. This true biography features beautiful illustrations. 

George by Alex Gino
George wants to play Charlotte in the upcoming school play of Charlotte's Web. The problem is that everyone thinks she is a boy, and they don't want a boy playing Charlotte. George knows she is not a boy and she is determined to find a way to play the wise spider on the school stage. 

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
All's well at sleep away scout camp, as long as you don't count the wolves with glowing eyes, the flying kittens, and the monsters and dinosaurs that live in the forest. Join five friends as they figure out what-in-the-holy-bell-hooks is going on around the camp.

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
Zomorod's family moves all the time. Usually between California and Iran. This time, when they move to a sunny and tidy neighborhood in California, Zomorod is convinced everything will work out great. She has decided to call herself Cindy and is going to reconstruct herself as the cool girl in her new school. Just as she begins fitting in, the Iranian government is overthrown and the new leader in Iran kidnaps a bunch of Americans and won't let them go. Fitting in is about to get a lot more complicated.