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111 of Our Favorite Kids Books in 2021

mother reading a book to her daughters
A family reads together.
These books for kids of all ages talk about important topics, including social justice, Asian American heritage, LGBTQ+ expression, honoring Indigenous people, Latinx heritage, special needs and more — all in kid-friendly ways.
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Looking for your child's next favorite book? Below you will find titles for kids ages 0 to 14 on social justice heroes, adoption, different abilities, gender identity and expression, friendship, embracing our heritage, math, winter and the pandemic. Many books are bilingual or available separately in English and Spanish.

Social Justice

1. "Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez" (Ages 4-7)
Written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez
"Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez" written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

With illustrations by Caldecott Medal honoree Yuyi Morales and text by renowned author Kathleen Krull, this book is a celebration of the Latinx civil rights leader.

2. "We March" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Shane W. Evans
The story of how on Aug. 28, 1963, more than 250,000 people gathered to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

3"A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez" (Ages 4-8)
Written by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler; illustrated by Marie Olofsdotter
This picture book biography offers a portrait of César Chávez's life from the fields of California when he picked vegetables as a child to how he became an iconic activist.

4."Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/La Historia de Dolores Huerta Y César Chávez" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Monica Brown and illustrated by Joe Cepeda
Learn how César Chávez and Dolores Huerta's childhoods inspired them to fight for farm workers.

5. "Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Andrea Davis Pickney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Learn about Rosa Parks' role in the Birmingham bus boycott.

6. "Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis" (Ages 5-8)
Written by Jabari Asim and illustrated by E.B. Lewis
The story of how Congressman John Lewis learned about peacemaking and speaking up for the vulnerable as he cared for his chickens.

7. "Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers" (Ages 6-9)
Written by Sarah Warren and illustrated by Robert Casilla
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of how Dolores Huerta fought for migrant farmworkers. It also includes resources for educators.

8. "Let the Children March" (Ages 6-9)
Written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison
The story of how in 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of Black children marched to end segregation.

9. "Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott" (Ages 6-9)
Written by Dee Romito and illustrated by Laura Freeman
Meet Georgia Gilmore, the woman who organized a pie fundraiser to sustain the bus boycotts in Montgomery, Alabama after Rosa Parks was arrested for challenging segregation on a bus.

10. "Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation" (Ages 6-10)
By Duncan Tonatiuh
Learn how Sylvia Mendez and her family fought to end segregation in California schools seven years before Brown v. Board of Education.

11. "A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation" (Ages 7-10)
Written by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
The story of how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the legendary speech he shared during the 1963 March on Washington.

12. "Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968" (Ages 7-10)
Written by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
See the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968 through the eyes of a 9-year-old girl as her father participates in the protest led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


13. "Just Like a Mama" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

"Just Like a Mama" written by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
"Just Like a Mama" written by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

A heartwarming story about adoption and family.

14. "Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale" (Ages 4-8)
By Karen Katz
The story of how one family begins after an international adoption.

Special Needs

15. "My Brother Otto" (Ages 3-5)
Written by Meg Raby and illustrated by Elisa Pallmer

Blue book cover of “My Brother Otto,” features cartoon illustrations of two young crows dressed like small children on the top and bottom of the book.
“My Brother Otto,” written by Meg Raby and illustrated by Elisa Pallmer

This is the story of two young crow siblings, Piper and Otto Crow, and their love for one another as they navigate daily life.

16. "This Beach Is Loud!" (Ages 3-7)
Written and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Another picture book in the Little Senses series, this book addresses sensory overload often found at beaches.

17. "Nope. Never. Not For Me!" (Ages 3-7)
Written and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
As part of the Little Senses series, this book cleverly addresses the genuine anxiety about trying new foods for those with sensory processing issues and those who are autistic.

18. "Trampoline Boy" (Ages 3-7)
Written by Nan Forler and illustrated by Marion Arbona
The author shows the reader how to engage in an autistic peer's life by participating in their interests.

19. "Mama Zooms" (Ages 4-7)
By Jane Cowen-Fletcher
Zoom around with a young boy and his mother as she takes him cruising around in her wheelchair.

20. "Lulu Is a Rhinoceros" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Jason and Allison Flom; illustrated by Sophie Corrigan
Lulu may look like an English bulldog on the exterior, but she wholeheartedly believes she is a rhinoceros and decides to let everyone know.

21. "Too Sticky! Sensory Issues with Autism" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Jen Malia and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
This book is an excellent glimpse into autism and sensory processing disorders and highlights how we can be inclusive even while an autistic friend feels anxious.

22. "The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin" (Ages 4-9)
Written by Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley
Based on the true story of Temple Grandin, this picture book introduces readers to the autistic mind and heart of one of the most well-known scientists of our time.

23. "A Friend for Henry" (Ages 5-8)
Written by Jenn Bailey and illustrated by Mika Song
Told with expressive images, this book helps readers learn about a boy on the autism spectrum and how each person processes the world differently.

24. "The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee" (Ages 10+ and best read with a parent or teacher)
By Barry Jonsberg
A book full of humor and vulnerability in which main character is autistic and shares her life story using the alphabet.

25. "The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism" (Ages 12+ and best read with a parent or teacher)
Written by Naoki Higashida and translated by Ka Yoshida and David Mitchell
To understand a perspective of what it is like to be an autistic 13-year-old boy, the author invites readers into his brain in this nonfiction book written in the form of questions and answers.

LGBTQ+ Expression and Identity

26. "Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship" (Ages 3-6)
Written by Jessica Walton and illustrated by Dougal MacPherson

Book cover of “Introducing Teddy” written by Jessica Walton and illustrated by Dougal MacPherson featuring an illustration of a teddy bear with a frown looking at a feminine version of himself smiling in a mirror.
“Introducing Teddy” written by Jessica Walton and illustrated by Dougal MacPherson

This story supports children in understanding gender identity and illustrates what it looks like to disrupt stereotypes and assumptions based on gender roles.

27. "They, She, He Easy as ABC" (Ages 3-7)
By Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew SG
This playful book uses the alphabet and dance to teach kids about preferred pronouns.

28. "When Aidan Became a Brother" (Ages 4-7)
Written by Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
The story explores a young child's transition from his assigned sex to finding himself as a trans boy, Aidan.

29. "I Am Jazz" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings; illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Introduce your child to Jazz Jennings and explore her journey as a trans girl living her truth.

30. "Stella Brings the Family" (Ages 5-8)
Written by Miriam B. Schiffer and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
Stella needs to bring a mommy to a Mother's Day celebration at school, but she has two daddies. What will she do?

31. "They She He Me: Free to Be!" (Ages 6-9)
By Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew SG
A kid-friendly introduction to gender fluidity using pronouns.


32. "We Disagree" (Ages 0-8)
Written and illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

"We Disagree" written and illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
"We Disagree" written and illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

A wonderful way to introduce politics and civil disagreements to young children.

33. "Love You More than Anything" (Ages 3-5)
Written and illustrated by Doretta Groenendyk
This little-known book offers an inclusive look at all types of friendships.

34. "Bikes for Sale" (Ages 3-5)
Written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
A two-wheeled tale that makes the reader feel right at home.

35. "All the Colors We Are/Todos Los Colores de Nuestra Piel: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color/La Historia de Por Qué Tenemos Diferentes Colores de Piel" (Ages 3-6)
By Katie Kissinger
This book helps children understand why we have many different skin tones and shades.

36. "The Lion and the Bird" (Ages 3-6)
By Marianne Dubuc
Lone Lion takes comfort in the routines of his day: tending to his garden, drinking tea and enjoying quiet solitude. When an injured bird appears one day, everything changes.

37. "Be Kind" (Ages 3-6)
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill
Follow a precocious young girl as she ponders how she could have helped a friend and what exactly it means to be kind.

38. "The Girls" (Ages 3-7)
Written by Lauren Ace and illustrated by Jenny Løvlie
A book that celebrates lasting female friendships through various seasons of life.

39. "Life Without Nico" (Ages 4-7)
Written by Andrea Maturana and illustrated by Francisco Javier Olea
When Nico, best friend to Maia, has to move because of his dad's studies, Maia feels a heaviness she simply can't shake.

40. "The More We Get Together" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Celeste Cortright and illustrated by Betania Zacarias; performed by Audra Mariel and Kena Anae
This rousing happy-making book is both a book and music about the ways we interact and associate with others. Includes audio and video.

41. "I Just Ate My Friend" (Ages 4-8)
Written and illustrated by Heidi McKinnon
A monster-like creature is on the hunt for a new friend. When he finds friendship, the twist ending sheds insight on the strange habits of this particular creature.

42. "Barefoot Books: Children of the World" (Ages 5-8)
Written by Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma; illustrated by David Dean
This colorful book shows kids children from cultures and countries all over the world who have all sorts of abilities, colors and lifestyles.

43. "Hand-Me-Down Magic: Stoop Sale Treasure" (Ages 6-10)
Written by Corey Ann Haydu and illustrated by Luisa Uribe
Black and white images scattered throughout make this chapter book series perfect for emerging readers.

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage

44. "Eyes that Kiss in the Corners" (Ages 2-7)
Written by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho

Book cover of "Eyes that Kiss in the Corners" written by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho featuring an illustration of a profile of a little girl with long hair holding a pink flower
"Eyes that Kiss in the Corners" written by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho

In this moving book, a young Asian girl talks about what makes her eyes special and how they connect her to the other members of her family.

45. "Dear Juno" (Ages 3-7)
Written by Soyung Pak and illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
Juno wants to write his grandmother a letter without his parents' help. Soon, they are regular pen pals, each writing in their own language.

46. "Drawn Together" (Ages 3-9)
Written by Minh Lȇ and illustrated by Dan Santat
When a young Vietnamese American boy arrives at his grandfather's house, the two struggle to make a connection. The boy doesn't speak Vietnamese, and his grandfather doesn't speak English, so how can they communicate?

47. "Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same!" (Ages 4-7)
By Grace Ling
This laugh-out-loud chapter book about a pair of twins is perfect for early readers. Everyone tells Ling and Ting that they're exactly the same, which just isn't true.

48. "Suki's Kimono" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
It's the first day of school, and Suki wants to wear the kimono her grandmother gave her over the summer. Her older sisters warn her that people will laugh, but Suki doesn't care. Who will be right?

49. "The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Julie Leung and illustrated by Julie Kwon
Meet pilot Hazel Ying Lee, a woman who refused to accept the barriers that others put up for her as a Chinese American living in the first half of the 20th century.

50. "Mama's Saris" (Ages 4-9)
Written by Pooja Makhijani and illustrated by Elena Gomez
This book is out of print. Check your local library for copies.
Like many children, the star of this book is frustrated when her mother tells her she's not old enough to do something.

51. "You Can Do It, Yasmin!" (Ages 5-8)
Written by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly
The Yasmin series is perfect for children who want to read chapter books but still prefer lots of illustrations and short chapters.

52. "The Most Beautiful Thing" (Ages 5-9)
Written by Kao Kalia Yang and illustrated by Khoa Le
Don't be surprised if you find yourself tearing up a bit while reading this lovely and true story about the author's childhood as a Hmong refugee.

53. "Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix" (Ages 5-12)
Written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee; illustrated by Man One
The story of L.A. chef Roy Choi, host of the TV series “Broken Bread,” from his childhood to his food trucks and advocacy.

54. "Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family's Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp" (Ages 6-10)
By Katie Yamasaki
This dramatic story is based on the author's family's real experiences of being imprisoned and interned during World War II because of racism against Japanese Americans.

55. "Asian-Americans Who Inspire Us" (Ages 6-10)
Written by Analiza Quiroz Wolf with Michael Franco; illustrated by Tuire Siiriainen
This illustrated guide profiles 15 Asian Americans from various fields who have made major contributions to U.S. history.

Latinx Heritage

56. "ABCs of El Salvador." (All ages)
By Maggie Carranza

Copies of "ABCs of El Salvador" by Maggie Carranza
"ABCs of El Salvador" by Maggie Carranza

This colorful board book offers a beautiful illustration for every letter of the alphabet and its related Salvadoran word. Read her story and what turned this graphic designer into a children’s book author.

57. "Mamá Goose: Bilingual Lullabies-Nanas" (Ages 0-2)
Written by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy; illustrated by Maribel Suárez
An English-Spanish introduction of Latinx lullabies for English speakers and nostalgic Spanish speakers alike.

58. "Be Bold! Be Brave! Chiquitos: 11 Latinas Who Made U.S. History" (Ages 0-3)
Written by Naibe Reynoso and illustrated by Jone Leal
An introduction for little ones to notable Latinas like Selena and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

59. "Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics/Poemas Sobre Hispanos Extraordinarios" (Ages 0-3)
Written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López.
A bilingual collection of poems in board book format celebrating Latinx people.

60. "For the Love of Plátanos" (Ages 0-6)
Written by Natalie Carey and illustrated by Bianca Guerrero
A rhyming ode to plantains, the banana cousin beloved all over the world.

61. "Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors" (Ages 3-5)
Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and illustrated by John Parra
Discover Latinx culture through food in this colorful book.

62. "Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo" (Ages 4-8)
Written by Monica Brown and illustrated by Rafael López
A playful kid-friendly bilingual biography of the mambo legend, Tito Puente.

63. "De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children" (Ages 4-8)
Written by José-Luis Orozco and illustrated by Elisa Kleven
A bilingual anthology of Latin-American songs that is sure to delight the whole family.

64. "I Love Saturdays y Domingos" (Ages 5-8)
Written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Elivia Savadier
A small girl visits her grandparents on one day and her abuelitos on another, teaching us about how much we have in common.

65. "Islandborn"/"Lola" (Ages 5-8)
Written by Junot Díaz and illustrated by Leo Espinoza
In the story, Lola, a girl from an island in the Caribbean, is tasked with drawing the place where she comes from, but she can't remember where that is. So, she turns to the memories of her relatives to reconstruct the place where she comes from.

66. "Waiting for the Biblioburro/Esperando el Bibilioburro" (Ages 5-8)
Written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra
This delightful bilingual story takes readers all the way to Colombia as they follow the footsteps of one man and his donkey libraries.

67. "¡Todos a Celebrar! A Hispanic Customs & Traditions Alphabet Book" (Ages 5-9)
Written by Dr. Ma. Alma González Pérez
This book uses the alphabet to teach readers about Latinx culture in the U.S. and abroad.

68. "Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet" (Ages 6-9)
Written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Teresa Martínez
Meet Mexican American scientist Mario Molina, the man who discovered that CFCs were creating a hole in our ozone layer. Includes a timeline, additional reading and more.

69. "A Kid's Guide to Latino History: More than 50 Activities" (Ages 7-9)
By Valerie Petrillo
This book features activities, games and crafts to teach kids about Latinx history.

70. "Nuestra América: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States" (Ages 8-12)
Written by Sabrina Vourvoulias and illustrated by Gloria Félix
An excellent resource for both kids and teachers, this book includes a glossary, a reading guide created by the Smithsonian Latino Center, discussion questions and more.

71. "Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes" (Ages 8-12)
Written by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Raúl Colón.
A visual showcase of 20 Latinx people who have made history.

72. "The House on Mango Street/La Casa en Mango Street" (Ages 14+)
Written by Sandra Cisneros, translated by Elena Poniatowska
Available in two languages, this iconic novel follows a young Latinx girl as she grows up in Chicago.

Honoring Indigenous Peoples

73. "Colors of Guatemala" (All ages)
Written by the collective La Comunidad Ixim