ColorPop Essentials: The Parent’s Ultimate Guide to Representative Children’s Books

Today we announce the closure of ColorPop Books. Before we go, we’re sharing our favorite books for the kid in your life who is curious. Creative. A big dreamer. A thinker. Unique. Inventive. An explorer. A sibling. A friend. However they describe themselves, there’s one thing that teachers, parents, and kids can all agree on, it’s that seeing yourself in the books you read can open your eyes – and reading about people different than you can open your mind. 

Even though ColorPop isn’t selling book bundles anymore, we wanted to leave you with this ultimate list of representative, inclusive books to reference anytime you need it. We hope the titles we’ve curated will help your kid understand: Who they are is just what the world needs.

You can also access a free digital resource here. 


Books About: Beauty

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, by Joanna Ho

When a young Taiwanese girl notices that her eyes are different from the big, round eyes of her friends, she wishes she looked more like them… until she realizes that her eyes have the same beauty as her mother’s, Amah’s, and Mei Mei’s. Eyes that Kiss in the Corners is a beautifully illustrated, award-winning book about cultural heritage and celebrating what makes you special.

The Proudest Blue, by Ibtihaj Muhummad

Faizeh is so excited for the first day of school, and even more excited for her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab – a hijab so blue, it reminds Faizeh of the ocean. But not everyone sees the hijab as beautiful, and when confronted with bullies, Faizeh and Asiya will need to find new ways to be strong. A New York Times bestseller, The Proudest Blue is a captivating book about sibling relationships that encourages young readers to stand up for who they are.

Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry

Zuri loves her hair, because it’s just as untameable as she is! When she needs Daddy to give her an extra-special hairstyle for an extra-special occasion, he’s got a lot to learn… but Daddy loves Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her – and her hair – happy. A New York Times bestseller and tie-in to Academy Award-winning short film “Hair Love,” Hair Love is a lively book about family and the special bond between a father and daughter.

Books About: Black Joy

I Am Perfectly Designed, by Karamo Brown

Take a walk with a father and his song through their city and discover all the ways in which they are perfectly designed for one another. This tender children’s book celebrates modern families and shows young readers the power of loving themselves, exactly as they are.

Change Sings, by Amanda Gorman

"I can hear change humming

In its loudest, proudest song.

I don't fear change coming,

And so I sing along."

Follow along with a cast of inspiring characters on a musical journey to discover the power of community and self-conviction. This picture book, written by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman and illustrated by #1 New York Times bestseller Loren Long, will inspire your child to believe in the power of community – and in the strength of their own voice.

Me & Mama, by Eboni Njoku

Come join a mother and child as they spend a quiet, rainy day enjoying each other’s company. This award-winning children’s book tenderly depicts the special bond between a mother and daughter, and the joy of sharing ourselves with the ones who love us.

Books About: Girls In STEM

Counting On Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, by Dow Phumiruk

All her life, Katherine Johnson has loved to count: that’s what makes her such a great mathematician for NASA! When Apollo 13 finishes its historic landing on the moon and needs to be guided home, Katherine calls on her love of math to get the job done. Counting On Katherine teaches young readers the true story of a groundbreaking Black scientist who follows her passion to change the course of history.

Shark Lady, by Jess Keating

Everyone else seems to think that sharks are ugly and scary – but not Eugenie Clark. Eugenie sets out on a lifelong mission to help people understand that sharks should be admired and cared for, just like all living things. This award-winning bestseller teaches readers aged 4-8 about the true story of a female scientist who found the determination to see beyond others’ prejudice and discover new truths.

Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty

Ada’s got a lot of questions, and that means inventing new ways to find the answers. Inspired by real-life scientists Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist teaches young readers how to think their way through problems and persevere. 

Books About: Indigenous Perspectives

We Are Water Protectors, by Carole Lindstrom

When a black snake attacks the Earth and begins to poison the water, one brave Ojibwe girl rallies her people to take a stand. Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, this 2021 Caldecott Medalist Winner and New York Times Bestseller is a bold and lyrical illustrated book that teaches young readers the power of cultural heritage, community, and standing up for what you believe in.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, by Traci Sorell

Follow along from Spring through Winter as modern members of the Cherokee nation express otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah), or gratitude, through celebrations and their experiences. We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga includes a glossary and complete Cherokee syllabary, and is a beautiful book that introduces young readers to themes of cultural heritage, gratitude, and family.

Berry Song, by Michaela Goade

When a young girl and her grandmother sing to the land, the land sings back. No matter the season, they always find ways to sing in harmony together, learning from one another and sharing wisdom passed down from both the Earth and all the generations who came before. A Caldecott Honor medalist and indie bestseller, Berry Song is a patient, gorgeous book for readers aged 4-8 about cultural identity, heritage, and intergenerational connection. 

Books About: Feeling Safe and Secure

Ruby’s Worry, by Tom Percival

Ruby feels like a happy, curious kid, until the day a Worry shows up. Her Worry grows, and grows, until it feels like it’s taking over everything… but when Ruby makes a new friend, she discovers that sharing her feelings makes all the difference. A title from the award-winning series Big Bright Feelings, Ruby Finds a Worry is a lively children’s book for readers aged 4-8 that teaches kids about anxiety, emotions, and the power of sharing our experiences.

I Won’t Go With Strangers, by Dagmar Geisler

It’s raining, and Lu is ready to go home. Lots of people she’s met before offer to take her, but Lu knows she’s supposed to wait for a special someone to pick her up. When he finally shows up, his appearance will be a surprise for the reader! This energetic children’s book for grades K-3 teaches children about personal boundaries, following directions, and staying safe at a vulnerable time of day.

Don’t Touch My Hair, by Sharee Miller

It seems like everyone wants to touch Aria’s hair: strangers, mermaids, monkeys, aliens… until Aria has had enough! Don’t Touch My Hair! is a vibrantly illustrated book that teaches readers aged 4-8 how to respect others’ boundaries, express their own, and move through the world with confidence.

Books About: Bringing Up Race

The Talk, by Alicia D. Williams

Jay loves being a kid: playing with his friends, getting love from his grandma, and zipping around in his dad’s cool car. But Jay is also getting older, and that means it’s time for his mom and dad to have a hard conversation with him that is far too familiar for so many Black and Brown Americans. This hopeful children’s book serves as a sensitive introduction for young readers to hard truths that can pave the way for future change.

I Am Golden, by Eva Chen

What do you see when you look in the mirror, Mei? Do you see beauty?

We see eyes that point toward the sun, that give us the warmth and joy of a thousand rays when you smile. We see hair as inky black and smooth as a peaceful night sky. We see skin brushed with gold.

This lyrical manifesto of self-love for Chinese-American beauty introduces young readers aged 4-8 to the immigrant experience, and teaches them to celebrate the history and heritage behind who they are.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, by Monica Brown

Marisol McDonald has red hair and brown skin, likes polka dots and stripes paired together, and dresses as a pirate princess to play soccer. Everyone wants her to make sense, but this Peruvian-Scottish-American girl won’t fit herself into anybody’s box. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match is a heartwarming children’s book about the beauty of standing out and doing things your own way.

Books About: Grief

Saturdays Are For Stella, by Candy Wellins

Saturdays are special for George and Grandma Stella. Then one day, Grandma Stella is gone, and George is ready to be done with Saturdays forever. When a new addition arrives to the family, however, he realizes he has an opportunity to help his traditions with Grandma Stella live on, and grow. This tender children’s book teaches young readers how to process and move through their grief.

One Wave at a Time, by Holly Thompson

In the wake of his father’s death, Kai experiences a lot of emotions: sadness, anger, fear, guilt. At times they’re like waves crashing over him; other times they make a flat sea of nothingness. With the help of his friends and family, Kai learns to take his grief one wave at a time, and begin to heal. One Wave at a Time teaches readers aged 4-8 about the processes of grief and healing.

Still Mine, by Jayne Pillemer

There are so many ways we tell each other “I love you:” the song you sing to me in the morning, the walks we take splashing through puddles, the warm hot chocolate you make to help me feel better. Even when the person we love is gone, their love is with us… just in a different way. This lyrical picture book reassures young readers that love and our memories of the people we love are always in our hearts.

Books About: Latinx Stories

Alma and How She Got Her Name, by Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has more names than anyone else she knows, and sometimes that can make her feel, well… a little different. But when she asks Daddy to tell her the story of how she got each of her names, she learns that they symbolize the people she comes from – and inspire the story she’ll one day tell herself. This award-winning children’s book teaches young readers to celebrate their heritage.

Julián Is A Mermaid, by Jessica Love

After Julián and his abuela encounter mermaids on the subway, Julián knows he wants to look just like them, with their swirling hair, beautiful jewelry, and dresses that end in fishtails. Though he’s nervous about his abuela’s response, he shows her who he is anyway – and her response shows him that he is loved beyond measure. Julián Is A Mermaid is an exuberant story that proves sharing who you are with someone is a wonderful gift to give.

Growing An Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son, by John Parra

At last, the day is here: Juanito gets to help his papi on the job as a landscape architect! As Juanito spends the day sketching all the beautiful plants he sees and watching his papi take pride in his work, Juanito learns all about what it takes to make beauty a main part of your day. Growing An Artist is a heartwarming book that teaches young readers the value of creativity, passion, and hard work.

Books About: Being Brave

Stacey’s Extraordinary Words, by Stacey Abrams

Stacey loves words, but the idea of competing in a school spelling bee has her scared speechless. It’ll take a lot of courage – and perseverance – for Stacey to stand up and speak. Stacey’s Extraordinary Words, the New York Times bestseller by iconic voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams, is a vibrant children’s book that teaches readers aged 4-8 about what it means to see a challenge through. 

Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s been preparing for it all summer. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. With a courageous boy and a patient father at its center, Jabari Jumps teaches young readers about overcoming your fears, one step at a time.

I Am Enough, by Grace Byers

From Empire actor and activist Grace Byers comes a lyrical, moving children’s book that makes loving yourself and respecting others its focus. In New York Times bestseller I Am Enough, young readers follow along with a diverse cast of kids as they explore their purpose and all the ways in which they are enough.

Books About: LGBTQ Pride

Calvin, by J.R. Ford and Vanessa Ford

Calvin has always been a boy, even if the rest of the world hasn’t always seen him as one. Now, he’s about to tell his family, his teachers, and his classmates who he really is… and in return, he’s about to receive a whole lot of respect and love. Calvin offers a poignant back-to-school message: that everyone deserves to feel safe, welcomed, and respected.

Love, Violet, by Charlotte Sullivan Wild

Violet’s got a crush on Mira, but every time she tries to tell her how she feels, the words just don’t seem to come out right. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, Violet is determined to tell her how she feels! This Stonewall Book Award-winning children’s book is a tender telling of friendship, first love, and finding the courage to share your heart with someone else.

Stella Brings the Family, by Miriam B. Schiffer

Stella’s school is having a Mother’s Day celebration, and Stella isn’t sure what to do. She loves her Papa and her Daddy, who tuck her in at night and take care of her and make her feel loved, she just doesn’t have a mom who’s a part of their team. Luckily, Stella doesn’t have to solve this problem alone. This heartwarming story teaches young readers about the true meaning of family.

Books About: Neurodivergent Experiences

Abdul’s Story, by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Abdul loves telling stories, but writing them down with letters that hold still and move the way they should? That’s a little trickier. When a special visitor comes to his classroom, Abdul learns that everybody makes mistakes – even superheroes! Abdul’s Story helps readers aged 4-8 embrace all the mistakes and imperfections that come with learning something new.

A Day With No Words, by Tiffany Hammond

A Day With No Words follows a mother and son as they go about their day and visit a park, always using a tablet to communicate. This instant New York Times bestselling picture book offers a unique glimpse for readers aged 4-8 into what it can look like for families to use nonverbal communication with one another, and still express love, unconditional support, and joy.

It Was Supposed To Be Sunny, by Samantha Cotterill

Laila has planned her sparkly birthday party perfectly… Then, a rainstorm sends everybody inside, an accident ruins her cake, and her perfect day feels like it’s on the verge of falling apart. But Laila knows that with the help of her mom and a little alone time with her service dog, she can handle whatever life throws at her. It Was Supposed to Be Sunny helps young readers aged 4-8 learn how to navigate unexpected changes in routine and overstimulating social situations.