Book Reviews, Kids' Corner, Picture Books

Kids’ Corner: Diverse Children’s Picture Books in Review (April 2017)


Hello bookworms!

I’m excited to share with you a few diverse children’s picture books that I read over the past month.

Let’s see what I read shall we?

*If you are new to my blog, I review a batch of diverse children’s picture books monthly.  What do I mean by diverse children’s picture books?  I mean children’s picture books that are written by or about people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and any other minorities.  The #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement has inspired me to not only reevaluate my reading, but also the books I read to my children.  Diversity in books is just as (if not more) important in children’s literature.  Children are our future, so it is our job to teach them to celebrate diversity.

Books included in this post: Have You Seen Elephant? , Catherine’s Story, The Sandwich Swap, Elena’s Serenade, & The Only Child

Representation: biracial character; character with physical & mental disabilities; Mexican character (also set in Mexico); Chinese character (inspired by China’s one-child policy)


*All titles link to Goodreads & all author/illustrator names link to their websites
**I am not affiliated with Amazon or The Book Depository

» Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow


Published: October 1, 2015

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: Biracial main character

My Rating:

5-Star Rating System

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» Catherine’s Story by Genevieve Moore (Illustrated by Karin Littlewood)


Published: July 29, 2010

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: MC with a physical/mental disability

Grab a seat and let me tell you about how beautiful this book is!  Catherine’s Story is based off the author’s niece who has west syndrome (infantile spasms) which is a form of epilepsy.  West syndrome leaves the child physically & mentally disabled.  Most of these children are not able to walk without support, and many cannot talk.


Every once in a while I come across a book that is really special, and Catherine’s Story is one of those books.  I think how the author chose to tell Catherine’s story was a brilliant way to teach children about those who have mental and/or physical disabilities.  Throughout the book, Catherine’s cousin asks her uncle (Catherine’s Dad) questions about Catherine.  Instead of focusing on what Catherine cannot do, her Father focuses on what she CAN do and how Catherine is special.


Kudos to Moore for portraying such a wonderful father figure in this story.  Oftentimes in children’s books, the mother-child relationship is highlighted, but not always the father-child relationship.  I absolutely adored Catherine’s father and how gentle he was with his daughter.

Another aspect of beauty in this book would be the gorgeous illustrations! Wilson uses a watercolor technique with such bright and vibrant colors.  There is one illustration in particular where Catherine’s dad is holding her in his arms… talk about a tear jerker!  I do not think I have ever had an illustration move me to tears before.


This would be the perfect book to utilize in a classroom and/or library setting to talk to kids about children with disabilities.  This could also be used in a one-on-one setting to help explain disabilities to siblings, extended family, friends, etc.

5-Star Rating System

*You can purchase this book on Amazon

» The Sandwich Swap by Rania Al Abdullah & Kelly DiPucchio (Illustrated by Tricia Tusa)


Published: April 27, 2010

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit:  WOC author; lesson in book is tolerance and acceptance of differences.


I am embarrassed to admit that when I picked this book up and read “By her majesty Queen…” I thought it was one of those situations where the person was only royalty in their head lol I may have even done an eye roll.  How wrong I was!  As it turns out, the author is the queen of Jordan… and she is fabulous.  I had never heard of Rania Al Abdullah before, but she is an incredibly inspiring woman.  She truly is the type of royal role model I want my daughter to look up to.


I loved that this story was inspired by a childhood event in the author’s life.   When two best friends, Lily and Salma, reveal that they think the other’s lunch is “gross,” they could not have known the chaos that would ensue.  Lines are drawn and sides are taken: those who are team peanut butter & jelly and those who are team pita & hummus.


Talk about a perfect book to use in a classroom and/or library setting!  The Sandwich Swap is about celebrating differences, tolerance, & acceptance.  It is a story about friends who let a small different come between them, but realize in the end that their differences are what makes them such great friends.

My Rating:

5-Star Rating System

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» Elena’s Serenade by Campbell Geeslin (Illustrated by Ana Juan)


Published:  March 1, 2004

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit:  Mexican characters; Set in Mexico

My Rating:

5-Star Rating System

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» The Only Child by Guojing


Published: December 1, 2015

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit:  Chinese author/illustrator; Chinese main character; #OwnVoices; inspired by China’s one-child policy

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository


Have you read any of these books to your children?  What did you think?

Do you have any #DiverseKidLit recommendations?

Comment down below and let me know 🙂

21 thoughts on “Kids’ Corner: Diverse Children’s Picture Books in Review (April 2017)”

  1. Pingback: April 2017 Wrap-Up
  2. An absolutely gorgeous collection of books this month, Amanda! I am really drawn to all the illustrators works. That doesn’t happen often for me! Thank you for linking to Queen Rania’s website, too. What an inspiring woman! It makes me so happy to see that her story has made it to us Ohioans. 🙂

    Here’s a question for you– how on earth do you *find* these books?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Queen Rania is a inspiration and amazing role model to all women!

      I find many of these books on lists I’ve found on the internet/Goodreads when I search for diverse children’s books, then I see what is available through my library and request them. There are so many wonderful diverse children’s books out there, but they don’t get the attention they deserve. I’m trying to change that. I’ve had teacher thank me for my recommendations, which made my heart happy that maybe they will incorporate more diversity into their classrooms ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww man. Guojing did a great job with The Only Child. I’m glad both you and your daughter got to experience it. I was a bit skeptical about wordless books too, but now I love them because they make me realize how much we say without words, which is odd because I rely so much on body language and other nonverbal cues when communicating.


  4. Very well reviewed. The picture books mentioned over here are perfectly matching to the choice of most of the kids. Plus the given links are an add-on to make it easy for us to find these books. Being associated with the kids play equipment industry, we find it helpful in getting some ideas for the likes of today’s generation.

    Liked by 1 person

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