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Diverse Board Books

Posted by Susan on May 27, 2009 at 12:00 AM in Board BooksRecommendations
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I love when I get comments that inspire posts of their own. Let me share with you a comment that Andromeda made on this post about board books:

"I am interested in finding out what board books you and other readers enjoy that include diverse characters. I have spent quite a bit of time looking for board books that feature black and brown faces and families, as well as multi-ethnic groups and families. I don't think there are enough of these books, particularly for infants and toddlers. I like Jabari Asim's books and Andrea Davis Pinkney's. What else have you found?"

Excellent question! There are lots of old and new board books that fit the bill. Plus, it gives me a chance to talk about some of my favorite board books that I haven't mentioned yet.

Ten Nine Eight.jpgFor starters, take a look at two classics: Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang and On Mother's Lap by Ann Herbert Scott with illustrations by Glo Coalson. They're both great to read before bedtime. For an intriguing story about the creation of Ten, Nine, Eight, check out Molly Bang's website.

Busy Fingers and Busy Toes written by C.W. Bowie and illustrated by Fred Willingham are both fun and engaging books.

Peekaboo Morning.jpgRachel Isadora's Peek a Boo Morning was recently released as a board book last year. Hopefully, her picture books Peek a Boo Bedtime and Uh Oh! will be in board book format soon.

Cheryl Willis Hudson has several board books illustrated by George Ford: Let's Count Baby, Goodnight Baby, and Animal Sounds for Baby.

My Aunt Came Back by Pat Cummings is sadly out of print, but a library is a good place to look for it.

Baby Dance.jpgBe sure to check out Baby Dance by Ann Taylor. I love the exuberance and joy that radiates from both the father and his beloved daughter in Marjorie Van Heerden's illustrations.

I'm not usually a fan of books written by celebrities, but I like the rhythm and beat of Please Baby Please by Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee. The illustrations by Kadir Nelson always make me laugh and empathize with the parents. It's available in hardcover and paperback too.

Babies love to look at pictures of other babies, and there are a number of books that do that extremely well. If you take a look at the various board books that show baby faces, you'll find a rainbow of beautiful faces.

Tickle Tickle.JPGHelen Oxenbury has four wonderfully simple and adorable books: Tickle Tickle, All Fall Down, Clap Hands and Say Goodnight.

Take a look at the delightful Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers. I love Marla Frazee's playful illustrations. Also, there's Roberta Grobel Intrater's Baby Faces series. For an international perspective, look for Global Babies by the Global Fund for Children.

Who Toes Are Those.jpgIf you're not familiar with the authors Andromeda mentioned above, Jabari Asim's books are great: Whose Toes are Those? and Whose Knees are These? And check out Andrea and Brian Pinkney's Family Celebration Books: Pretty Brown Face, Watch Me Dance, I Smell Honey and Shake, Shake, Shake.

I've had a particularly tough time finding Asian American characters in board books (except for books of baby faces.) Hopefully, someone like Grace Lin will get into the act.

Thanks for getting me started. I'd love to see additions to this list. Does anyone have suggestions?


Lynn writes...

This is a fantastic list! We did a post awhile back on our children's books blog, but you covered everything we listed. In fact, I think I'll go in and edit the post to include a link-back here. Our son particularly loves the Jaberi Asim books.

Lynn writes...

Adding: I remembered another we've read/reviewed. "Does a Cow Say Boo" features Asian American (and other minority) children, as you can see by looking at the cover photo on amazon.

Mary Ann writes...

This is a fantastic list - so helpful! I'd add two:

- Here are my hands, by Bill Martin - great rhythm, great concrete ideas for toddlers, great illustrations with a diverse group of real kids

- Whoever you are, by Mem Fox - I like the heart and message in this, but I haven't read it with kids so I'm not sure how they respond to it.

Thanks so much for your suggestions!

Anamaria writes...

We liked More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams -- a Caldecott Honor book, available in board book format. Lots of ethnicities there!

Andromeda Jazmon writes...

Woo Hoo! Thanks so much for addressing this! I was thinking about your previous post and my comment on the way to school today and wondering if you had a response. I was so delighted to see this post! One other book I've recently bought for a friend's new baby is Diddle, Diddle Dumpling, by Tracey Campbell.

I am going to link this post to a recent blog post I did asking for suggestions, since you have so many good ideas here.

nicole writes...

Great list! I have a 3 and 5 yo. When they were younger, "My Aunt Came Back" was one of their favorites. They also liked Spike Lee's "Please, Baby, Please." I later found "Please, Puppy, Please," though that one didn't click as much.

Thanks for letting others know that there are many fantastic board books that feature beautiful, brown faces!


Bookworm writes...

Hush Little Baby by Brian Pinkney is not a "board" book but it's one worth checking out.

What a terrific post. I have many friends that will be interested in this information. I will send them here.

Wendie writes...

Thanks Susan for mentioning Busy Toes and Busy Fingers. Since the illustrations are multi-cultural, it also has Asian children acting out the words. But my favorite is the girl (probably Native American) wearing glasses. You hardly ever see kids who wear glasses in books.

-wendie old, who wore glasses from age five.

Mary writes...

I join co-author Wendie (together we wrote Busy Toes & Fingers as C. W. Bowie) in thanking you for the mention of our books. I'd also like to mention another multi-cultural book, Kenya's Word, by Linda Trice and also published by Charlesbridge. ANY kid who sometimes daydreams in school can relate to Kenya's problem.

This is a fantastic list!

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