Pre-K

13 Books About Equality for
Kids Ages 3-5

by Charnaie Gordon

Photo credit: FatCamera, E+ Collection/Getty Images

It’s no secret that living among different social classes, races, nationalities, and cultures – and seeing representations of these groups regularly – helps children understand the beauty of diversity in our complex, interconnected world. Yet, some are hesitant to take even small steps toward teaching children about diversity and equality.

Promoting equality at school and home is essential for helping children understand the diverse and inclusive world we live in today. The aim is to create an environment where people can thrive together and understand that individual characteristics make people unique, while also acknowledging our similarities. Below, we’ve rounded up books that focus on equality for kids ages 3-5.

  • Franny's Father is a Feminist

    by Rhonda Leet, illustrated by Megan Walker

    Also available from:

    Franny’s dad is proud to call himself a feminist. He sets a positive example for Franny while also leading her to defy gender norms. Franny’s dad knows girls can do anything boys can do. He works hard to raise Franny to believe that she deserves the same opportunities, rights, and freedom he had growing up.

    Also available from:
  • Mommy, Mama, and Me

    by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson

    Also available from:

    Using simple, rhyming text, a young toddler describes a day spent with Mommy and Mama. Your little one will recognize many of the activities that take place: storytime, snuggling, preparing meals, and trips to the park. This inclusive book focuses on same-sex parents while also being reflective of other types of families — highlighting the familiarity of a day spent with loving parents.

    Also available from:
  • Child of the Civil Rights Movement

    by Paula Young Shelton, illustrated by Raul Colon

    Also available from:

    Author Paula Young Shelton draws on her own experience as a child during the civil rights movement in this lyrical #OwnVoices book. Through a collection of free-verse poems, she reflects on the family’s move to the South, the March on Selma, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and more. Most importantly, Child of the Civil Rights Movement will emotionally resonate with children.

    Also available from:
  • Happy in Our Skin

    by Fran Manuskin

    Also available from:

    Happy in Our Skin is a wonderful book to help facilitate discussions around diversity with small children. Kids will realize that from the day they are born that their skin will protect them, grow with them, and be especially unique to them — no matter the shade of color. A sweet, simple message that we are much more the same than we are different.

    Also available from:
  • The GayBCs

    by M.L. Webb

    Also available from:

    This fun, lighthearted, and inclusive book will introduce readers to LGBTQIA+ vocabulary while encouraging self-love and acceptance. Reading this book may also help normalize conversations related to topics like gender identity or puberty.

    Also available from:
  • What Is a Refugee?

    by Elise Gravel

    Also available from:

    A kid-friendly introduction to the refugee experience for young readers, this book explains why some people have to leave their homes. It also explains the many challenges refugees may face once they leave. We love that the book reinforces refugees are people “just like you and me” throughout.

    Also available from:
  • A is for Activist

    by Innosanta Nagara

    Also available from:

    This is not your ordinary alphabet book. Available in both English and Spanish, A is for Activist explores the meaning of activism for young children (and adults). Each letter highlights for readers the many ways they can be activists and stand up for equality. Fun fact: there’s a hidden drawing of a cat on every page.

    Also available from:
  • I am Brave

    By Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

    Also available from:

    The Ordinary People Change the World series shines a light on the qualities that made our heroes extraordinary. In this edition, the littlest of readers can learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and his profound contribution to the civil rights movement. Written in the form of a rhyme, this book is filled with interactive elements and fun facts!

    Also available from:
  • Everyone Counts

    By Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown

    Also available from:

    What happens when a tiger cub enlists the help of rhinos, lemurs, oryxes, crocodiles, bears, elephants and bugs? A new kind of zoo is created where nobody is judged by their size or how they look, and everyone counts. This wonderful counting book teaches the importance of cooperation, inclusivity, and teamwork.

    Also available from:
  • The Peculiar Pig

    By Joy Steuerwald

    Also available from:

    Penny the peculiar pig, is not a pig at all, she's a puppy. While her siblings giggle at her peculiarities, it is her differences that save all of them in the time of need. An essential, gently-told story, this is the perfect primer for starting conversations about inclusion, adoption, and individuality.

    Also available from:
  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

    By Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by James Ransome

    Also available from:

    This is the story of young Sweet Clara who was separated from her mother and forced to work at a plantation. But Sweet Clara is determined to reunite with her mother. So she sews and sews till she makes a quilt that becomes a map to get out of the Underground Railroad, claiming freedom for herself, her family, and friends.

    Also available from:
  • Susan B. Anthony: Her Fight for Equal Rights

    By Monica Kulling, illustrated by Maike Plenzke

    Also available from:

    2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote and there is no better way to celebrate this with your little one than introducing the woman who made it all happen—Susan B. Anthony. This book will inspire young readers to stand up in the face of inequality and fight for what's right.

    Also available from:
  • We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street)

    By Bobby Kates, illustrated by Joe Mathieu

    Also available from:

    The Sesame Street squad is back to share a powerful message with readers—while we may all look different on the outside, deep down, our needs, feelings, and desires are very much alike. An enjoyable way to learn that our differences make this world a wonderful, interesting, and special place.

    Also available from: