Finding Racial & Ethnic Diversity: 20 Board Books
Rain Feet by Angela Johnson. A beautifully illustrated, ten page depiction of a boy marveling at the rain, jumping through puddles---all in yellow.
My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith. Also a beautifully illustrated story, My Heart Fills with Happiness is a book of thanksgiving. When a child sees someone they love, when something special is baking in the oven, when music is performed, when there's dancing, when hands are held---all of these experiences give rise to thanksgiving. A lovely book to help children appreciate simple moments, or activities, in life and how to find joy and gratitude in the everyday.
Fiesta by Ginger Foglesong Guy. A book that celebrates the preparation of a party as much as the actual celebration, Fiesta follows a family to the supermarket as they pick out a number of items and treats for their big celebration. Vibrantly illustrated, the book provides Spanish and English text for the reader in addition to a back-page of numbers from one to ten in Spanish and English.
I Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker. A cute story to encourage children that they too can accomplish many things. There's at least one page where the rhyming doesn't sound quite right to me, and while I like the idea of what the illustrations could depict, I'm not a fan of the two-dimensional, child-like illustrations and marker-ish letter font. My son enjoys the book just the same though and we read it quite often.
The Babies and Doggies Book by John & Molly. If your infant or toddler is obsessed with dogs, I would recommend The Babies and Doggies Book. A comparison of some of the needs or mannerisms of babies and puppies -- "babies and doggies like to eat. They get funny and goofy. They run till they're loopy." -- the book presents a series of photographs that you and your child will enjoy flipping through.
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers. Babies are loved, babies are kissed, babies are dressed, babies are rocked, babies are carried, babies play games---everywhere! A fun little book with multiple, detailed illustrations per page. For the 0-2 age range, the illustrations seem a bit small at times, making it hard to clearly see what the picture is illustrating. Nonethe your infant or toddler will find a great many things to look at (large or small).
More More More Said the Baby by Vera B Williams. A story of how much children adore the love from their parents. From kisses, to hugs, to rocking, to parent-child playtime, each child in this story (Little Guy, Little Pumpkin, and Little Bird) wants "more, more, more" until it is time for bed.
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang. So many things to count in a room. "Ten small toes all washed and warm. Nine soft friends in a quiet room..." Ten, Nine, Eight is an enduring bedtime story -- from the phrasing of the text to the hugs and kisses of a father to his daughter before bed -- and in many ways reminds me of Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon.
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora. I've reviewed this book in fuller detail here, but in short, it is a lovely story about a child playing a game of peekaboo. And if you love Rachel Isadora's illustrations as much as I do, you'll be reading this book a lot.
Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz. Besides not being a huge fan of the one-dimension circle-faced babies, the text is acceptable. With a new friend joining in on the fun with every page, -- Three bouncy babies jump and hop along comes another but he just can't stop" -- Ten Tiny Babies concludes with ten tiny babies all asleep in their beds. (Parents will get a good laugh out of that part.)
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I'm sure many of you are already familiar with this beloved story. A little boy wakes up to find that snow has fallen. Outside, the little boy crunches his feet into the snow---he makes footprints in different directions or drags his feet to make long trenches in the snow. He knocks snow off trees, he watches a game of snowball fighting, and he makes a snow angel and a snowman. At the end of the day he thinks for a long time about his adventures. And while the snowball that he hoped to preserve in his pocket melted, the next day he wakes up to more snow falling outside. A lovely story that encourages the imagination, creativity, and reflection.
Lottie Paris Live Here by Angela Johnson. Perhaps an accurate portrayal of many childhoods -- getting away with this and that and then having to sit out in a "quiet chair," -- I personally wouldn't read this book to my kids. Lottie loves to go for walks, play in the park, dress up and play in her room. But she also likes to not listen, and consequently ends up in a quiet chair. But the quiet chair doesn't seem to stop her from getting into trouble (so to me, the book is teaching a child that it's OK to not listen or that it's OK to do the wrong thing). But, Angela Johnson is an award-winning author and many adults and children seem to like her stories. So I'll leave the buying decision up to you!
Little You by Richard Van Camp. A beautifully written and illustrated book about a parents' love for their child. "...You are life and breath adored, you are us and so much more, little ember with growing light, feel our love as we hold you tight..." Also illustrated by Julie Flett (illustrator of My Heart Fills with Happiness), this is one book (among many) that I'm glad to have in our library.
Global Baby Boys. A simple, sixteen-page book of baby boys from around the world---Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, France, Vietnam, Canada, Belgium, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the US, Uruguay, Mexico, Australia, Germany. and Tobago.
Plant a Kiss by Amy Krause Rosenthal. Plant a Kiss follows a girl as she waits to see if the kiss she planted will grow. When it does, instead of keeping it to herself she tosses it "To and fro. high and low. rain or snow. with a bow." And from "One little kiss. Endless bliss." The illustrations are smaller than I would like and a little too stick-figurie for me, but the message (while over simplified) is one that tries to be enduring---set out to accomplish new things, have patience, and then give back to those around you, leaving the world a better place.
Good Night New York City by Adam Gamble. I reviewed two other books by Adam Gamble a while back. You can find the review here. The book definitely gives you an overview of some of the sights in New York City but in terms of it being a good night book, I think that's debatable since most of the book takes place during the day. New York City is filled with a great deal of diversity however and the book reflects that.
Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats. Another creative story by Ezra Jack Keats. Here, Peter is trying to whistle for his dog Willie. He tries and tries, but to no avail. In the meantime, (while he's still figuring out how to whistle) he makes a long path with chalk, he tries on his father's hat, and again tries to whistle (while staring at himself in the mirror), and he plays with his shadow. And then, hiding from Willie in a box he lets out a real whistle. Everyone loves Peter's whistling, especially, Willie.
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox. Babies from near and far, born today, yesterday, or tomorrow, share something in common. They have ten little fingers and ten little toes. A book that will have your children knowing what comes next, Ten Tiny Fingers and Ten Little Toes is full of little ones hugging, laughing, and smiling, all with their ten little fingers and ten little toes.
Whose Toes Are Those by Jabari Asim. You can never have too many board books about toes. A mix of some new and old, Whose Toes Are Those incorporates the old nursery rhyme, This Little Piggy. A fun little book for the child who loves to laugh, wiggle his or her toes, or point to page after page of feet.
Global Babies. Similar to Global Baby Boys, Global Babies continues to highlight children from around the world with crisp photographs---Guatemala, Thailand, Greenland, Mali, the US, India, South Africa, Fiji, Peru, Afghanistan, Malawi, Spain, Iraq, Rwanda, and Bhutan.