First, Let’s Talk About the Lack
The lack of diverse representation in children’s nature-based books should come as no surprise. If that statement does surprise you, I recommend reading this article from The Atlantic from 2019:
Where Is the Black Blueberries For Sal? (Ashley Fetters)
The article talks about how most children’s book in nature-based landscapes feature either animals or white families. Further, many picture books that do feature black children in nature do so either in an urban landscape or in the wilderness as they escape from slavery.
All children deserve to see themselves represented in picture books. For more on this, I recommend viewing Amber O’neal Johnston’s lecture Mirrors & Windows: When Living Books Are Not Enough (Charlotte Mason Inspired Online Conference, 2020).
There are a great many nature-based children’s books available but only a small amount feature BIPOC families. Bears have better representation in children’s books than BIPOC children! Since creating this website I have been an advocate for regular nature-based experiences for children, combating in Richard Louv’s words Nature-Deficit Disorder. And I truly believe that children seeing themselves represented in nature adventures in picture books at such a young age can attribute to that desire and practice.
Where Do I Look for Diverse Books?
- We Need Diverse Books (@weneeddiversebooks)
- Raising Luminaries
- Here Wee Read (@hereweread)
- The Conscious Kid (@theconsciouskid)
- Books for Diversity (@booksfordiversity)
- Diverse BookFinder (@diversebookfinder)
How Do I Support BIPOC Authors and Illustrators?
- Buy their books!
- Write to publishers asking to see more diverse representation
- Educate yourself more and more
Diverse Nature-Based Picture Books
I am not going to pretend to be an expert on diversity or diverse books as a whole, but I do consider myself a connoisseur of nature-based books. I receive review copies of nature-based books from a range of children’s book publishing companies (large and small) and have noticed a trend in the last year or so to include more non-white children and families in nature landscapes. That said, there still is a major lack of representation in terms of the authors and illustrators. The books I am highlighting are worthy of celebrating, but there is still a long way to go.
Today, I am sharing my list of 40+ favorite nature-based children’s picture books that represent diverse characters. The hope is for more and more books featuring diverse protagonists, back to the original article I shared: the black Blueberries for Sal.
I will continue to add to this list as new books come in.
I have housed my list in two places:
Diverse Nature Based Picture Books – Bookshop
Diverse Nature Based Picture Books –Amazon
You can view a video flip-through of some of these on my YouTube channel.