In an earlier post, we discussed the benefits of exposing all young minds to stories written by diverse authors or featuring diverse characters. Children need to see themselves in the pages of a book. When they don’t, they may think their stories or experiences don’t matter.
Children also can benefit by reading “window” books. Window books allow children to see aspects of the world and of other people’s lives that are quite different from their own. By introducing children to these new experiences and perspectives, children learn that their view isn’t the only view on things.
Here are just a few of our favorite mirror and window book recommendations.
“Peekaboo Morning” written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora
A toddler plays a game of peekaboo, finding all sorts of people and things along the way. Isadora’s joyful pastel illustrations capture the familiar and cozy people, toys, and animals, and are sure to delight your baby.
“Pat-a-Cake” by Mary Brigid Barrett, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
A familiar rhyme turns into a tactile exploration of an infant’s world. If you can pat a cake, why not a peach or a pickle?
“Whose Knees Are These?” by Jabari Asim, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
A lovely, playful verse that celebrates a beautiful baby’s sweet little knees.
“I Believe in Me (Wonderful Me)” by Lorie Ann Grover, illustrated by Carolina Búzio
This padded board book is a joyous reminder to little ones that no matter who they are, they can become awesome, loving, and helpful people who can change the world.
“Love Makes a Family” by Sophie Beer
Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple story demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love the family members share.
“Lovely” by Jess Hong
Big, small, fluffy, sleek, black, white, smooth, wrinkly. We are all different, but we are all lovely!
“Lola at the Library” by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
Lola and her mom visit the library every Tuesday. She meets her friends there and they share books. The nice librarian tells stories, and Lola gets to take books home with her. On the way home, they stop for a treat. No wonder Lola loves Tuesdays!
“Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao” by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua
Amy loves to make bao with her family. But, it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keeps coming out all wrong. An idea may give her a second chance.
“We All Belong” by Nathalie and Alex Goss
A beautifully written and illustrated book that recognizes and celebrates the diversity in a group of children. Characters from Black, African, Asian, White, Biracial, Mixed Race, and Indian heritage share feelings on how they are different and how they are the same.
“Birdsong” written and illustrated by Julie Flett
This beautifully written and illustrated story portrays a touching intergenerational friendship built around a shared love of art and gardening. Cree-Métis words defined in a small glossary add a rich layer to the child’s narrative.
“My Papi Has a Motorcycle” by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña
Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, and sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees that her community is rapidly changing.
“Goggles!” by Ezra Jack Keats and Amadou Traore
Peter, a well-loved character featured in a series of classic stories, finds a pair of motorcycle goggles. The “big boys” want to take them, but Peter’s dog, Willy, has other plans. A charming story in an urban setting.
“Pelé” by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vagara, illustrated by Camila Rosa
Using a sock filled with rags for a ball, Pelé honed his soccer skills in a poor neighborhood in Brazil. He went on to become one of the greatest soccer players who ever lived, and later used his voice to help the people who need it most.
“Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story” by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
This winner of the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family. It is as beautiful as it is enlightening.