Teach your kids how to be antiracist and inclusive while also learning how to count.
Earlier this week Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that they were no longer publishing six books by the famous author Dr. Seuss because of their racist depictions. The books in question are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat's Quizzer.
As a parent of biracial children who absolutely love reading (and have been super into Dr. Seuss because of the rhymes and rhythm) I've been making sure that our shelves have books that they can see themselves reflected in, and most certainly not books that would ever make them feel less than because of their appearance or origin. In the process, I've found so many amazing books by BIPOC writers that have turned into favorites in our bedtime routine.
Recently, I also came across this Instagram post by Teacher For The Change, where they took the time to list incredible alternatives to the very well-known favorites by Dr. Seuss. There are six recommendations for every Dr. Seuss book, meaning you can really fill up your bookshelf with diverse, new, fantastic stories. You can see all of the suggested books by Teacher For The Change here. If you'd also like to download their graphics showing the book alternatives, click here.
Here are diverse and thoughtful alternatives to Dr. Seuss books:
Instead of 'Green Eggs and Ham', you can teach repetition and pattern with...
"Who? explores the relationships babies form with the people and things they love the most. The text's repetitive verse and melodic voice will captivate babies and toddlers and draw them into the sounds and images of the book."
"A toddler plays a game of peekaboo, and you're invited to play too. First, there's Mommy to find, with Daddy not far behind. Then Puppy comes peeking around the corner, and a favorite toy train brings the toddler to Grandma and Grandpa. Isadora's brilliant, joyful pastel illustrations capture the familiar and cozy people, toys and animals that will delight babies."
"The rhythm of the words, the smoothness of the text, and the positive message all combine to make a lovely read-aloud."
Instead of 'Dr. Seuss's ABC', you can teach the alphabet with...
"A is for Accessibility, B is for Belief, C is for Class. All people have the right to be treated fairly, no matter who they are, what they look like or where they come from. This bestselling book An ABC of Equality introduces complicated concepts surrounding social justice to the youngest of children. This revised hardback edition comes with an added introduction from the author."
"A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for."
"From a sophisticated bow tie to a warm wool hat, this diverse celebration of what we wear from A to Z invites kids to get creative and embrace their own unique style."
Instead of 'Oh, The Places You'll Go', you can teach them to believe in themselves with...
"We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it."
"In this moving picture book, author Hena Khan shares her wishes for her children: "Inshallah you find wonder in birds as they fly. Inshallah you are loved, like the moon loves the sky." With vibrant illustrations and prose inspired by the Quran, this charming picture book is a heartfelt and universal celebration of a parent's unconditional love."
"Discover a joyful reminder of the ways that every child is unique and special, from the beloved creator of The Dot, Happy Dreamer, and New York Times bestseller, The Word Collector. Here, Reynolds reminds readers to "be your own work of art." To be patient, persistent, and true. Because there is one, and only one, YOU."
Instead of 'Fox in Socks', you can teach them alliteration with...
"A child explores the wonders of the natural world in this rhyming, beautiful bright colored picture storybook about the lives of small animals and insects living around a freshwater pond."
"One morning after breakfast, Baby's big brother is getting ready to take the basket of bananas all the way to Baba's bungalow in the next village. He'll have to go along the bumpy road, past the baobab trees, birds, and butterflies, and all the way over the bridge. But what he doesn't realize is that his very cute, very curious baby sibling has stowed away on his bicycle. Little ones learning about language will love sounding out the words in this playful, vibrantly illustrated story set in West Africa."
"Brown-skinned mama, the color of chocolate milk and pumpkin pie. White-skinned daddy, not the color of milk or snow, but light with pinks and tiny tans. And their two children, the beautiful colors of both.
For an all-American family, full of joy, warmth, and love, this is the way it is for us / this is the way we are"
Instead of 'The Sneetches', you can teach them about race, discrimination or anti-racism with...
"Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby's nine easy steps for building a more equitable world."
"Celebrate the essence of one way we are all special and different from one another—our skin color! This bilingual (English/Spanish) book offers children a simple, scientifically accurate explanation of how our skin color is determined by our ancestors, the sun, and melanin. It's also filled with colorful photographs that capture the beautiful variety of skin tones."
"I am brown. I am beautiful. I am perfect. I designed this computer. I ran this race. I won this prize. I wrote this book. A joyful celebration of the skin you're in―of being brown, of being amazing, of being you."
Instead of 'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish', you can teach them about numbers with...
"What do you do when you can't sleep? Count sheep in Spanish and English, of course! But what happens when those rascally sheep get a little too close for comfort? Well, if you're anything like the sleepy little hero in this clever tale, you might just tire yourself out trying to get rid of them!"
"Take a trip to the Caribbean, where one little island offers many exotic items to count! Here the three hilltop houses are painted in tropical hues, the five market ladies wear shady hats, the nine limbo dancers sway on a sunny beach, and the ten wildly dressed children celebrate carnival time."
"The active story with dragon boats will appeal to boys and girls around the world.
It is always a great challenge to find a story that will appeal broadly and yet have a rich cultural message."
Instead of 'Dr. Seuss's Book of Colors', you can teach them about colors with...
"Hijab is the crown I wear every day.
It is worn many ways,
and it comes in every color.
What color hijab should I choose today?
Yellow, like my doctor's hijab?
Brown, like my teacher's hijab?
Pink, like my mother's hijab?
Help me decide!"
"Through gentle rhymes and colorful photographs of adorable children, Pride Colors is a celebration of the deep unconditional love of a parent or caregiver for a young child. The profound message of this delightful board book is you are free to be whoever you choose to be; you'll always be loved."
"Experience Holi with every color of the rainbow! This Hindu celebration known as the festival of colors and the festival of love signifies the end of winter, the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. A time to laugh, play, visit friends and get messy! Little ones will love exploring the colors of Holi through the vibrant photographs and Singh's playful rhymes in this brilliant concept book."
Instead of 'The Cat in the Hat', you can teach them about rhyming with...
"Inside, outside, upside down: Young readers will discover the many ways to celebrate the joy of loving who you are! With fun, energetic text and dazzlingly colorful illustrations, this lively and engaging book is now in a Spanish bilingual board book edition."
"Following a circle of family and friends through the course of a day from morning until night, this book affirms the importance of all things great and small in our world, from the tiniest shell on the beach, to the warmth of family connections, to the widest sunset sky."
"Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. Their lives may be quite different. But inside, they are all alike"
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