Children’s Books with Positive Messages about Diversity, Emotions and Purpose

Children’s books are a wonderful way to introduce young minds to positive messages you want them to carry through their lives.

I haven’t met a baby who didn’t love books, especially my little girl. When Cora began to crawl, she would go over to our bookcase and pull all of her books off of her shelf multiple times a day. Though it created a mess, I smiled seeing her look through each book, pointing and jabbering as she flipped the pages.

Baby reading her books
With at least four former librarians in her family, Cora gets her love of books honestly.

We have books of all kinds on her shelf, but we definitely wanted a selection of stories focused on positive messages, like diversity, emotions, culture, kindness and how to be a friend.

Here’s a collection of some of our favorite children’s books. These are not just for babies – these books have messages that will resonate with young children as well.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. As a participate in the Amazon Associate Program, I may earn from qualifying purchases connected with these links. However, all opinions of these products are honest and my own.

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

The Rabbit Listened is a favorite children’s book of mine. It focuses on a little boy and the emotions he feels when his block castle comes tumbling down. Through the rabbit’s character, we learn that sometimes being a good friend doesn’t mean solving your friend’s problem – it means listening to them and letting them feel all of their emotions.

The Rabbit Listened is an endearing story. I think it’s great for toddlers, who often have big emotions they don’t yet understand. Feeling and learning these emotions is part of growing up.

Think Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison

Think Big, Little One shows inspirational women of different backgrounds who influenced culture, science, technology and more. With messages like, “Discover New Things,” “Color Outside the Lines,” and “Shine a Light on Your Culture,” this book encourages young readers to be brave, bold and true to themselves. Vashti Harrison has several books on Amazon and we are excited to pick up more in the future.

The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates

The Big Umbrella is a sweet, welcoming story. The big umbrella grows and grows to have room for all kinds of characters and creatures of every shape and size – it doesn’t discriminate. There’s always room for one more under the big umbrella.

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

I Am Enough is a great story for showing our connection to all things. It finds similarities in its characters and the nature around them – the moon, the trees, the wind – but it also celebrates the beauty of differences – from talents, to cultures, to opinions.

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Be Kind is a book that shows how a small act of kindness and practicing empathy can have a major impact on the world. It reminds me of something my mother told me when I was having a hard time, “To have a friend you must first be a friend.”

You Matter by Christian Robinson

You Matter shows how everything in the universe that is or was, no matter how big or how small, has a purpose. From the ants to the sun, from people near and people far, everything around us is connected and has meaning.

Can You Say Peace? by Karen Katz

This sweet book follows children around the world as they celebrate International Peace Day. It shows little readers diverse people, places and cultures through its illustrations and introduces them to other languages as they learn how to say “peace” around the world (this definitely appeals to my husband Seth, the linguist in the family). It also has a beautiful message of how the people all around the world want the same things – to learn, to explore, to feel safe, to share time with loved ones and to have peace.

If you pick up any of these books for your kid, I hope you enjoy them as much as we have! What are some children’s books in your collection that you love? Maybe some with messages that resonate with you?

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1st Year With Baby: Things You Need to Know that Aren’t Talked About

My first year as a mom was full of learning experiences. I read baby books and thought I had a good grasp of what to expect, preparing my husband and I as best as I could. But, the old adage remains true: You won’t know until you experience it. Here are some things I learned THE HARD WAY. I’d like to save you the trouble.

Where Woman Wanders Founder Photo
  1. Every baby is different, but mine would often refuse to take the bottle for various reasons. As a new mom, it took me a long time to figure out why. Here is what I learned with feeding that will hopefully help you if your good eater suddenly refuses to feed.
    • When our daughter was 3-weeks-old, she suddenly stopped wanting to feed – from the bottle or from me. When bottlefeeding, I would see that she took an ounce and would immediately pull off, cry and arch her back. We were worried that it was reflux, but our pediatrician didn’t seem that concerned. After a couple of weeks of this, I finally called the nurse’s line and received helpful advice. We switched to a sensitive baby formula and I cut dairy out of my diet while breastfeeding because my baby was lactose sensitive.
    • When you become a parent, you will soon learn that these tiny humans have PREFERENCES. Keep all of the baby bottles you received from friends and family at your baby shower, because the standard baby bottle might not suit your baby. You might end up with a graveyard of bottles as you work to determine what your baby likes the most (at least I did), but it will be worth it. My daughter actually preferred these Nuk bottles until I stopped breastfeeding and she decided it was time for Dr. Brown’s bottles at 5 months.
    • If your baby all of the sudden stops finishing a full bottle after a couple of months or downs a few ounces and pulls off and on the bottle, you might need to choose a faster nipple flow. My daughter would usually transition to a higher flow about every 3 months. However, some babies are content with keeping a slow flow for many months.
    • Your baby will likely eat less when they are sick. To get the calories in them, offer smaller, more frequent feeds. If your baby has recently had a cold, seemed to recover and then gives you trouble with the bottle again, you might want your doctor to check for an ear infection. Helping a baby through an illness can be incredibly stressful, especially if you are a parent who fretted over your baby’s weight gain like I did. If you EVER feel concerned, call your doctor. You will not be a bother, you will not sound silly. They are there to help.
  2. As soon as you are home with your baby, get some noise going. Get your baby used to sleeping while you are drying clothes, washing dishes, or having a conversation in the background. This was golden advice from my mom. Our baby could sleep through sounds of lawnmowers, cats knocking glasses off shelves, tornado siren drills, construction in the neighborhood – you name it. While you’re at it, get a sound machine. We loved our Hatch, which acts as a sound machine, night light and time-to-rise.
  3. Something I’ll try with future babies down the road – sleep training from the time they are newborns. Sleep training from early on will be helpful during those oh-so-real sleep regressions.
  4. I received golden advice from a friend when it comes to diaper rashes. When your baby has a diaper rash, you’ll often be recommended to leave them diaperless as long as possible to get air on the rash and dry it out. That’s great advice, but where do you put your bottomless baby in the meantime? When your babe isn’t old enough to move around the house, buy puppy pads and stick your baby on it. It’s easier to clean up accidents as you give the rash time to dry and heal.
  5. I can’t stress this one enough. When help is offered, take the time for yourself. As a new mom, I tried to do as much as I possibly could during those first weeks when my mom and mother-in-law were here to help. They both said they could have helped more, but I was determined to do it all – already feeling the mom guilt if I took what I considered was too much time for myself. But, having an hour to myself in the morning to shower, have breakfast and get ready felt SO good. I also wish I would have taken more naps. You can never have enough naps.

These are just some lessons I learned in my first year as a mom. Every baby is different, but maybe this will spark an idea for you when you experience a rough patch. What is some advice you’ve recieved that you actually found helpful? Did you learn any lessons the hard way with your baby?