When children’s books authentically reflect our cultures, ethnicities, abilities, and other aspects of our identities, children are able to see themselves and their communities reflected back to them on the page. Research shows that kids benefit both from books that “mirror” their own cultures, identities, and experiences, as well as books that provide “windows” into the lives and experiences of others.

SMART Reading has taken steps to  provide inclusive books in our program by selecting titles that reflect the identities and experiences of students who may have been historically (and in many cases, are currently) underrepresented in literature. Our goal is for Oregon kids to have access to inclusive, high-interest books to select and keep for their personal libraries. 

The Children’s Book Bank has been raising awareness about the need for inclusive children’s books since the launch of the A Story Like Mine initiative in 2015. Learn more about how the Book Bank prioritizes including books with diverse representation in our book bundles to better meet the needs of the children and families we serve.

Here is a list of a few of our favorite inclusive titles:

  • Dim Sum for Everyone – Grace Lin
  • Dreamers – Yuyi Morales
  • Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music – Margarita Engle
  • Families, Families, Families! – Suzanne Lang
  • Hair Love – Matthew A. Cherry
  • I’m New Here – Anne Sibley O’Brien
  • Jacob’s New Dress – Sarah & Ian Hoffman
  • Julian is a Mermaid – Jessica Love
  • Lucia the Luchadora – Cynthia Leonor Garza
  • Meet Yasmin! – Saadia Faruqi
  • Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina – Monica Brown
  • Mixed Me! – Taye Diggs
  • My Brother Charlie – Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
  • Neither – Airlie Anderson
  • One Family – George Shannon
  • Rescue and Jessica – Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes
  • Salt In His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream – Deloris Jordan
  • The Colors of Us – Karen Katz
  • The Proudest Blue – Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali
  • Tiger in My Soup – Kashmira Sheth