Education, Wellbeing

Stories to encourage acceptance

13 May, 2024

Stories are a great way to prepare children for the world. Safe on the lap of a parent, they can explore new ideas and ask ALL their questions. Here’s five books that may introduce your child to someone new

We’re lucky to be living in a time that values and celebrates diversity of all kinds. Sometimes children come across a situation they haven’t encountered before and they’re not sure what to make of it. Pull out these books to broaden their knowledge and give them some guidance. Above all, each story reminds us to be kind; everyone wants to be valued and accepted.


Nothing Alike

Are there two people in your life that you keep confusing for each other? Maybe they look similar, have the same cultural background or you met them both at the same time and just can’t get their names straight in your head?! This picture book highlights this pretty common problem, with humour and some subtle tips. The words and pictures work beautifully together and the illustrations are lovely; cheery with a sense of cheeky fun. The story is set at school where all the kids are dressed in the same uniform and there are a few kids that would likely be mixed up in real life -although observant little readers will enjoy pointing out all their differences! Nothing Alike is written by Zewlan Moor, illustrated by Peter Cheong and published by Bright Light Publishing.


What Happened to You?

This book does a beautiful job of teaching empathy. Joe is sick of people asking about his missing leg. It makes him feel uncomfortable and he just wants to play. The story’s message is powerful and crystal clear, yet delivered gently through bright, colourful, whimsical illustrations and a story about playing pirates at the park. It’s very well done. This is a book children will enjoy reading and a great prompt for discussion about people who look different and thinking about how they may feel. What Happened to You is written by James Catchpole, illustrated by Karen George and published by Little Brown and Company.


All the Ways to Be Smart

This neon-bright book shines the light on a whole range of amazing qualities to be celebrated. The book lauds character traits such as kindness, sharing and caring and by showcasing skills such as creativity, storytelling and building, it positively highlights diversity and encourages children to value their peers’ unique strengths. Children will delight in pointing out all the fabulous qualities in the book that they possess and matching their friends up too. The illustrations are a joy. All the Ways to Be Smart is written by Davina Bell, illustrated by Alison Colpoys and published by Scribble Kids Books.


Enough Love 

This uplifting book shows that as families change, love remains the most important element. It brings humour to Willa’s evolving family situation with an ever-growing “partridge in a pear tree” style list of her growing family. The illustrations are lovely, depicting lots of hands-on parenting, with Willa always at the centre of things. There’s a fabulous loungeroom scene of her family – divorced, remarried, straight, same gender, half and step siblings – all hanging out together. And the endpapers are a sweet celebration of family, however that looks. Enough Love is written by Maggie Hutchings, illustrated by Evie Barrow and published by Affirm Press.


Katerina Cruickshanks 

This vibrant, bold picture book is an ode to those loud, slightly crazy kids who push the envelope, but also bring the fun. Katerina Cruickshanks loves cartwheels, the colour purple and leading friends in imaginative play and performances. The story is written in bouncy, playful rhyme that’s fun to read aloud; to whisper, shout and vary the pace. The energy builds to a crescendo, alongside bright, boisterous illustrations. Interestingly, this was one of the first picture books to use the pronoun “they” to refer to a child. Katerina Cruickshanks is written and illustrated by Tassie’s Daniel Gray-Barnett and published by Scribble Kids Books.


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