11 Books to Help Kids Understand Difference & Inclusion

books about differences

One of the most common questions I hear is, “How can I explain differences to my kids?” Followed up with, “Is it okay to ask questions?” 

As a mom to two children with special needs (Autism and Down syndrome), I’m always encouraging questions. And I’ve had friends text me questions about how their kids can better include my son, and questions about how to answer the question of, “Why does Claire look different?”

OK to Ask Questions

As long as questions are coming from a good place, they’re are always welcome. Because asking questions is how we learn and grow. 

And another great way to start the conversation about differences is to read books that focus on inclusion and diversity. 

Inclusion benefits all children, not just those who have special needs. Being inclusive means your kids can develop a greater sense of self as they learn to work collaboratively with others and offer care, empathy, and respect. Overall, they will grow to understand and respect diversity. 

Here are some of our family’s favorite books.

Books about Differences and How to Be Inclusive

You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion

Uniquely Wired: A Story About Autism and Its Gifts

No Such Thing As Normal – Hardcover Children’s Book

Tully and Me: A story about differences, understanding, and friendship

I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism

Eli, Included 

My Brother Otto – An Autism Awareness Book

Hannah’s Down Syndrome Superpowers

My Brother Charlie

Rough and Tough T-Bone

The Masterpiece (One Big Canvas)

What books would you add to this list? Share with us in the comments below! 

For suggestions on how to discuss race and diversity with kids, please see our Resource Guide to Teaching Our Children & Ourselves About Racism.
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Trisha was born and raised in Fargo. After marrying her high school sweetheart they moved to Omaha, NE where they spent the next decade. Finally back in their hometown, Trisha and her husband Adam are raising four kids with big personalities. Twins Sam and Jack were born in 2010 at 28 weeks, thrusting Trisha and her husband into the world of special needs parenting. A few years later, in 2012, Adam and Trisha welcomed son Eli. Not content with stopping when things seemed easy, they welcomed daughter Claire into their family in 2015. Claire was a surprise for many reasons, but the biggest of all came at her birth when they were told she had Down Syndrome and a heart defect. Trisha is fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home-mom, and spends most of her “free time” advocating for special needs and inclusion, going to various and plentiful doctors appointments, volunteering for BIO Girls, and meeting her caffeine limit by about 9:00 a.m. every day. She deals with her crazy life best with sarcasm and has found a creative outlet through her blog. You can follow her on Instagram.

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