Books About Joy: A Diverse Reading List

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our much-anticipated Books About Joy: A Diverse Reading List, a list inspired by our blog post, “10 Picture Books That Are Not About Oppression,” which continues to be one of our most-read and shared articles to this day.

This updated and more in-depth list of diverse books reflects the daily lives of children and the joy of play, family and friends, and being themselves.

A disproportionate number of books about BIPOC protagonists focus on their marginalization. Though it is important for children to understand the history and complexity of oppression, racism, and discrimination, children—especially children of color—also deserve to see themselves thrive and to experience the joy of being
part of a loving community.

The booklist explores different types of joy children experience and we want to nurture in them:

The Joy of Play
The Joy of Family and Friends
The Joy of Being Ourselves

As you select a book for your next read aloud/bedtime story, how is this book celebrating joy, happiness, and childhood?

In selecting a book centering joy, consider the richness and dimensions:

how can a child bring themselves joy
how can a child foster joy with their peers and community
how does joy make us and keep us healthy
how does it feel to bring joy to others

You can delve into all the books from the booklist in one place for purchase on our website’s Books About Joy collection. In the digital edition of the booklist, all covers link to the individual book’s webpage.

For an even more extensive list of books about joy or to build out a collection for your school or library, please contact Katie Potter, Senior Literacy Specialist, at for more information.