Holiday shopping: Best inclusive children’s books

And yet another option comes from a much more specific source: Finding My Way Books, which publishes and promotes the stories of children with disabilities. The bookstore collaborated with online bookseller Bookshop on a list of inclusive children’s holiday books. “The holidays seemed like a perfect opportunity to promote religious inclusion and understanding,” said the outfit’s publisher and author Jo Meserve Mach. She’s been working with Bookshop throughout 2020 on various books lists, including:

“For this specific list, I did not want any white Santa Clauses because they are so universal and exclusive,” Mach told Shopping, noting she attempted to find a “balance” in the number of titles that represent any one religious group. “I intentionally include under-represented people so their voices are lifted up within our society.”

Best inclusive picture books

To help you gifting this year, we listed Mach’s list below in alphabetical order and along with average reader ratings from reading network Goodreads.

1. “Binny’s Diwali“by Thrity Umrigar and Nidhi Chanani

  • Goodreads: 4.29 star-average rating, more than 95 ratings

2. “Christmas Makes Me Think” by Tony Medina and Chandra Cox (available Dec. 19)

  • Goodreads: 3.88 star-average rating, more than 30 ratings

3. “Grandma’s Gift” by Eric Velásquez

  • Goodreads: 3.98 star-average rating, over 300 ratings

4. “Holiday Love Around The World: Holiday Love” by Lashaun Jackson and Tyrus Goshay

5. “I Got the Christmas Spirit” by Connie Schofield-Morrison and Frank Morrison

  • Goodreads: 3.76 star-average rating, more than 250 ratings

6. “I’m in Charge of Celebrations” (Reprint) by Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall

  • Goodreads: 4.50 star-average rating, over 450 ratings

7. “Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali!” by Ajanta Chakraborty and Vivek Kumar

  • Goodreads: 4.11 star average rating, over 15 ratings

8. “My Family! A Multi-Cultural Holiday Coloring Book for Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents” by Cheril N. Clarke

  • Goodreads: 5.00 star-average rating

9. “My Family Celebrates Kwanzaa” by Lisa Bullard and Constanza Basaluzzo

  • Goodreads: 3.17 star-average rating, over 10 ratings

10. “Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles” by Nicole Katzman and Tami Lehman-Wilzig

  • Goodreads: 3.47 star-average rating, over 30 ratings

11.”Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story” by Angela Shelf Medearis and Daniel Minter

  • Goodreads: 4.18 star-average rating, more than 200 ratings

12. “Shubh Diwali!” by Chitra Soundar and Charlene Chua

  • Goodreads: 3.49 star-average rating, over 120 ratings

13. “The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol” by Arthur A. Levine and Kevin Hawkes

  • Goodreads: 4.00 star-average rating, more than 20 ratings

14. “The Shortest Day” by Susan Cooper and Carson Ellis

  • Goodreads: 3.87 star-average rating, over 700 ratings

15. “There Was a Young Rabbi: A Hanukkah Tale” by Suzanne Wolfe and Jeffrey Ebbeler

  • Goodreads: 3.83 star-average rating

16. “Too Many Tamales” by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez

  • Goodreads: 4.14 star-average rating, 4,400 ratings

17. “We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga” by Traci Sorell and Frane Lessac

  • Goodreads: 4.30 star-average rating, more than 1,300 ratings

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18. “What Do You Celebrate?: Holidays and Festivals Around the World” by Whitney Stewart Christiane Engel

  • Goodreads: 4.43 star-average rating, more than 35 ratings

Why buy inclusive children’s books

Why opt for an inclusive picture book this holiday, whether for your kids or to gift others? For one thing, consider the same reason Mach said she found her calling in creating inclusive children’s books: The need for “books sharing positive stories about children with disabilities.”

“In the last century, stories tended to be about animals with a physical limitation or about children being cared for. Those books encouraged readers to see children with disabilities in a dependent way and exclusive way,” she explained. “Children with disabilities need to see the wonderful role models who are out there and children without disabilities need to see that children with disabilities are just like them.” With that in mind and so close to various gifting occasions, Mach urged parents and grandparents to consider diversity in the children’s books they shop for.

“It seems like a slight shift in thinking, but it could change the perspective of the children reading books throughout their lifetime,” she noted. “You don’t even realize how narrow your reading focus is until you stop and examine the books on your shelf.”

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