My Top 3 Picture Books for Kids about Being Different

Updated: Apr 26

I believe it is really important for children to understand their uniqueness is special and should be celebrated.

Picture books are brilliant for helping to share messages and teach lessons, especially learning about differences- different races, different religions, different abilities and more. Sharing stories about characters who are different from the crowd, but find happiness nonetheless, can really help children understand that it is ok to be different.

There are many children’s books out there that help to develop a good understand of being different but here are my top three favourite that show little ones they should let their uniqueness shine.

A Little Bit Different

By Claire Alexander

This is a simple story of a ploofer who is a little bit different to all the other ploofers. All the ploofers are lined up and have been practising very hard to synchronise a “ploof”. Except one little ploofer goes… shoof! (These first couple of sentences make it sound like a really ridiculous book but it really is a good one so stick with it!) When the other ploofers all turn their backs on him, will he be able to find anyone who will embrace his uniqueness and help the others see the beauty in accepting everyone for who they are?

There is something so magical about the simple and elegant way Claire has been able to portray such a complex and important issue. Claire is a wonderful picture book author and illustrator, but what I particularly love about this story, is that by using minimal words and repeated imagery in the illustrations, Claire has produced a poignant and powerful message of friendship, hope and acceptance, that will resonate with young children.


By Sandra Dieckmann

Let me begin by saying the illustrations in this book are just beautiful. Every page is worthy of being framed! Sandra uses a defined colour palette which brings stunning beauty to the story and each picture truly pops off the page!

As well as these amazing illustrations, it is a wonderful story. It follows a polar bear who arrives unexpectedly in the woods, after being carried across the sea due to melting ice in his natural habitat. Just because he doesn’t act or look like any of the other animals in the wild, they fear and avoid him- they automatically think he is dangerous! With his odd habit of collecting leaves and jumping out into the water, Leaf is an outsider. Then one day, they watch as he attempts to fly over the water with wings made of colourful leaves...he is just trying to get back home, but the woodland animals don’t know this as they refuse to talk to him. Finally, the animals decide it is time to talk to this strange character.

I think children need to be exposed to books like this with powerful and poignant overall messages. Although this book is about animals, it’s very relevant to feelings that humans may face too. It can trigger many discussions about loneliness, climate change and helping others who are different to us!

The Proudest Blue

By Ibtihaj Muhammad, Hatem Aly and S. K. Ali

This is a beautiful story of sisterly love as well as a thoughtful depiction of how others might behave to those who are different. It is expressed through family pride and self determination rather than Asiya’s faith, which I think helps younger readers understand it and access it regardless of their background.

Faizah is really excited as it is her first day of school. She has new light up shoes and a new backpack, but she is even more excited for her older sister, as it is her sister’s first day of wearing a head scarf. As they walk to school together, Faizah admires her older sister who she thinks looks like a princess in her bright blue hijab. Throughout the day, Asiya encounters bullies, who speak cruel and unkind words to her. Luckily, she has her mother’s advice to not carry hurtful words as “they are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them.”

The vivid colours used throughout are as powerful as the words in conveying the importance of being proud of yourself. Be proud of your culture, your individuality, and your religion. A brilliant story to discuss how it feels to be different and how others might feel too. It is a very uplifting story and is sure to be enjoyed by all.

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