Children’s Books About Individuality and Respecting Others

Children's Books about Individuality and Respecting Differences Reviewed by Storytime Standouts

Storytime Standouts recommends children’s books about individuality, self confidence and finding one’s voice

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Quotes about Diversity for Children

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
― A. A. Milne

Storytime Standouts looks at children's books about individuality including Disappearing Desmond

Disappearing Desmond -written and illustrated by Anna Alter
Picture book about individuality and shyness published by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Desmond is the sort who likes to remain inconspicuous. Rather than stand out, he likes to blend in and he takes care to hide his true personality.

“Then one day someone new came to school. Her name was Gloria and she liked to be noticed.

Gloria is not at all like her classmates, she notices Desmond even when he is doing his very best to disappear. When Gloria notices that Desmond shares her taste in books, she asks if she can read with him. Gloria and Desmond companionably share the book and Desmond is transformed. The following day Desmond and Gloria play together, each respecting the other. Before long Desmond feels and looks different – he wonders why he ever wanted to disappear.

Disappearing Desmond has a lovely message about finding new friends and respecting differences. Cheerful, acrylic illustrations will have strong appeal for young readers as they search for Desmond. Very observant readers will notice and appreciate the two posters on the library wall.

Disappearing Desmond at

Disappearing Desmond at

Giraffe and Bird written and illustrated by Rebecca Bender

Picture book about friendship and individuality published by Pajama Press

Giraffe and Bird are just SO different. Bird makes funny faces and tweets incessantly. Giraffe eats noisily, with his mouth open. Each is annoyed with the other and eventually they part ways.

When a tremendous thunder and lightning storm blows through, they are reminded of the power of friendship. Giraffe finds a way to help in the storm recovery and reunites with his friend.

Bold, eye-catching acrylic illustrations make this a great choice for a story time in a group setting. Clever wordplay includes onomatopoeia, alliteration, and rich vocabulary (glum, abide, perturb).

Giraffe and Bird at

Giraffe and Bird at Amazon com

Storytime Standouts looks at children's books about individuality including I'm Not

I’m Not. written by Pam Smallcomb and Robert Weinstock
Picture book about individuality published by Schwartz & Wade

I’m Not is a happy celebration of individuality. When we first meet Evelyn, we hear about all the ways she is special and how different she is from her good friend. Evelyn is fashionable, bold and exciting. Fortunately, Evelyn is also a wonderful friend and she knows that she is not a good speller, great at karate or a talented cookie baker. With exuberance and abandon, Evelyn and her very best friend celebrate each other:

A friend who is always by her side. Through thick and thin. A true-blue friend. Evelyn sighs. “Is there anyone in the whole wide world like that?” Everlyn’s friend replies, I am exactly like that!”

Well-suited to reading aloud, this book could be used to elicit a discussion about individuality and what it means to be a good friend. Great for children four and up.

I’m Not. at

I’m Not. at

Storytime Standouts looks at children's books about individuality including Small Saul

Small Saul Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Picture book about individuality and perseverance published by Kids Can Press

Saul knows that he is meant to sail the seven seas but he’s not quite tall enough to be a sailor. The next best alternative is to become a pirate. Saul completes his pirate training and earns his diploma but is hard-pressed to find a crew to join.

“Even though Saul was small, it looked like no one had room for him…”

When he is finally invited to join a pirate ship calledThe Rusty Squid, he is excited to find ways to contribute. Unfortunately, it is not long before the captain and crew understand that he is not a typical pirate.

“It didn’t take long for the other pirates to notice that something was different about Small Saul.”

He knows how to garden and bake and is rather good at decorating. He decides to get a tattoo but bunny tattoos don’t intimidate anyone.

Great for children who love pirates and also for children who will benefit from a boost of self-acceptance. Small Saul is a treasure.

Small Saul at

Small Saul at

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
― Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!

Storytime Standouts looks at children's books about individuality including Together

Together written and illustrated by Jane Simmons
Picture book about friendship and respecting differences published by Alfred A. Knopf

Jane Simmons is a favorite author/illustrator for many youngsters. You may be familiar with ‘Daisy’ a charming young duck that appears in many of her books.

Together is the story of two very good friends; Mousse and Nut. Usually, they love to spend time together but one day they can’t agree on anything. As dark clouds gather, they decide they are no longer best friends. In this story about friendship, it takes some time apart to remind each that differences are okay and friendship can endure even when pals are apart.

Together at

Together at

“Talent is something rare and beautiful and precious, and it must not be allowed to go to waste.”
― George Selden, The Cricket in Times Square

Storytime Standouts looks at children's books about individuality including Willow's Whispers

Willow’s Whispers by Lana Button, illustrated by Tania Howells
Picture book about individuality and finding one’s voice published by Kids Can Press

Willow is a lovely soft-spoken girl with ideas, opinions and dreams. Unfortunately, her quiet voice is so soft that it is often overlooked. As a result, her teacher and her classmates miss hearing Willow’s thoughts and choices. For Willow, this means lost opportunities for companionship at lunchtime, being given orange juice instead of apple juice, disappointment at playtime and standing at the end of the line once again.

Dad has very good advice for Willow. He tells her, “Your big, strong voice got stuck way inside you, Willow. That happens sometimes. But one day your voice will wiggle its way out.”

Thinking about Dad’s words gives Willow an opportunity to devise a plan. The following morning, Willow gathers some materials together and designs her very own magic microphone. Initially, the microphone helps Willow to express herself but before long she must manage without it and does so very successfully.

Willow’s Whispers is a charming story that will be enjoyed by boys and girls ages four and up.

Note, although Willow’s Whispers invites discussion of finding one’s voice and having confidence when speaking, it does so very sensitively and without reference to “shyness.”

Willow’s Whispers Facebook page

Willow’s Whispers at

Willow’s Whispers at

Storytime Standouts looks at children's books about individuality including Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi
A counting picture book that examines themes of self-esteem and self-worth published by KO Kids Books

Kathryn Otoshi’s picture book, One, was a delight from cover to cover and won many awards. Her latest picture book is titled, Zero and it will certainly be a strong contender as well.

When Zero looks at herself in a mirror, she sees ‘nothing’ and ’emptiness.’ She compares herself to other, larger numbers and finds herself lacking. She longs to have value. Self-conscious about her roundness, Zero lacks social skills. When she tries to participate, she is clumsy. Unfortunately, she flattens the other numbers in her exuberant attempt to join in their fun.

Vibrant, colourful and bold illustrations support a thought-provoking story that can be enjoyed on many different levels. Whether read simply as a counting book or used as to elicit discussions about individuality and self- worth, Zero by Kathryn Otoshi belongs on every child’s bookshelf.

Zero at

Zero at

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