BAME characters- 8 Best books for young kids

Are you looking for high quality picture books with BAME characters? Not sure where to start? Here are the best picture books with inspiring, thought provoking stories and characters.

Why have I chosen to write a post about BAME characters?

Although most of my blog posts are about tricky themes and topics, from books about bereavement, to self-esteem to self-acceptance, kids need to see themselves in the books that they read. Representation matters! In a recent study, Reflecting Realities, CLPE highlighted the extent of the problem in children’s literature. Whilst there have been a number of initiatives such as Pass the Pen by the Booktrust, more needs to be done.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

What is the book about?

Firstly, The Day you Begin is a wonderful story, all about feeling different. Angelina enters a room and feels, different, in terms of her experiences and her appearance. She hasn’t travelled the world like her class mates and feels like there is more that divides than unites her with others. But once she starts sharing her story, she finds that there is more that unites than divides them. A story that celebrates individuality, diversity and the fact that no one else is quite like you. Despite this whoever you are and wherever you are from we can all find things in common with others. A wonderful story with BAME characters, to share with children.

Rocket Says Look Up, by Nathan Bryon and illustrated by Dapo Adeola\

What is Rocket Says, Look Up about?

If you haven’t read this book with your kids, you must. Why? Firstly, it focuses on diverse characters, a girl who wants to be an astronaut, the value of being present and provides kids with facts about meteors, pretty cool? Secondly, I love that this book also focuses on the relationship between a brother and sister. Finally, it has a really important message about being present and seeing value in the world around you, rather than a screen!

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho

BAME characters: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, follows a little Asian girl, pictured on the cover. It is a book about love and celebrates how her Asian shaped eyes link her with her family, people she loves and a culture she is proud to be part of.

We are water protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

BAME characters: Diverse characters and cultures

Did you know that this story was inspired by the Sioux protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline? This stunning story follows a tribe who want to protect the water and encourage the reader to sign a declaration at the end that they will too. Beautifully illustrated and a recent winner of the Caldecott Medal, it is a wonderful read with an important message.

My Pet Star by Corrinne Averiss and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

My Pet Star is a gorgeous story about care and friendship. When a little girl finds a little star underneath a tree, she nurtures it. A lovely story about how she nurses it back to health. That is of course until it is well enough to return to the sky. Although it is in the sky it still twinkles at her through her window. Therefore, it is a very special story to share with your children, at home or in the classroom.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

BAME characters: Love between a father and his daughter

Wow, this story packs a punch to the heart strings! Zuri is at home with her Dad and needs him to do her hair. Following several disastrous attempts, he makes her feel like a superhero. Also, just in time for Mum to return home. So if you would like to read a sweet story, this one could be for you.

Love by Corrinne Averiss and Kirsti Beautyman

Similarly, this story is about parental love. But this time, between a mother and daughter. Everyone in the family loves each other. But what happens to the string that connects them when Tess goes to school? It gently deals with the theme of separation anxiety. When Tess is worried her mum will not collect her she removes the string that connects them. However, luckily for her the string that connects them can never truly break.

The Proudest Blue, A Story of Hijab and A family written by Olympic Medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali, illustrated by Hatem Aly

BAME characters: Celebrating religious diversity

Finally, this book had to be mentioned on this list. If you would like a more detailed review of The Proudest Blue book make sure to see my other post. But in essence this is a beautiful story about the love between two sisters and the pride and importance of wearing a hijab.

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