Children's reading lists

7 books that celebrate difference

These books celebrate differences through lively and aspirational characters and will inspire readers, while also helping to shape little minds.

Elmer by David McKee | Andersen

Elmer isn’t a normal elephant - he’s not ‘elephant colour’. Instead, he’s blue and pink and red and yellow and ermm…. different! Elmer may be unlike his friends but he shows that it’s ok to be unique, because after all - it really doesn’t matter what you look like. This classic tale from 1989 remains wildy relevant in contemporary times, and little ones will fall head-over-heels for Elmer’s fun and kaleidoscopic appearance. 

Frog and the Stranger by Max Velthuijs | Andersen

It’s not every day a strange new visitor comes to live at the edge of the wood.  The other animals aren’t too sure about their new neighbour, Rat. But friendly by nature Frog decides to make friends with the new arrival to find out what kind of rat Rat really is. Frog soon realises the animals were far too quick to judge kind-hearted Rat. This is a gentle story about difference, acceptance and reaching out to new and unexpected friends.

Seal Surfer by Michael Foreman | Andersen

Michael is a keen surfer who just loves to hit the waves. One day, he and his grandfather stumble upon a baby seal on the beach, and a special friendship develops between the unlikely acquatic duo. The pair grow up together, free on the open ocean. That is, until one day, Michael gets into trouble on the rough seas – but his flippered friend comes to the rescue and saves the day. This sentimental tale chooses not to dwell on the fact that Michael has a disability and is a wheelchair-user, instead focusing on all of the fantastic things he can do. Seal Surfer shows that almost anything is possible if you just put your mind to it. 

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