10 Books to Read to Your Kids This Summer

I love reading books with my kids.

And I especially appreciate books with themes like diversity, adoption, compassion, and inclusion—topics I want us to discuss on a regular basis in our home.

Here are 10 beautiful books for you to add to your Amazon or library pile that create great opportunities for ongoing questions and discussion.

In no particular order—

1. You’re Here for a Reason (Nancy Tillman)

What It’s About: Not only are you loved, but you matter. In this tender, timeless read-along, Tillman

reminds us through gentle words and beautiful illustrations that—

“You’re here for a reason. If you think you’re not
I would just say that perhaps you forgot …
A piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren’t here.”

Questions to ask your kids: Do you believe you matter? Why do you think God put you in our family?

2. The Story of My Open Adoption: A Storybook for Children Adopted at Birth (Donna Keith)

What It’s About: Leap into a warm-hearted tale about a little squirrel who was adopted at birth! Join

Sammy as Mom and Dad Rabbit bring him to meet his first family. Sammy’s story opens the door for kids to talk honestly about their experiences and feelings.

“Deep in the woods, under a tree,
lived the rabbits—
a lighthearted family of three.
Little Sammy was different
but loved all the same.
His parents were proud to give him their name.”

Questions to ask your kids: Do you know the difference between an open and closed adoption? Who do you know that was adopted?

3. Image Bearer (Ellie Sanazaro)

What It’s About:

This 24-page, hardcover, illustrated book aims to show how EVERY child is wonderfully made in the image of God. Each page introduces you to topics including autism, Down syndrome, mobility devices, feeding tubes, communication devices, facial differences, and more. Read our full book review here.

“God had a plan for you
long before birth,
so don’t ever doubt
if your life contains worth.”

Questions to ask your kids: Do you think God made every person in His image? Why do you think God called His creation of man and woman “very good”?

4. The Day You Begin (Jacqueline Woodson)

What It’s About: There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where

you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first few steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

“There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.”

Questions to ask your kids: Do you ever feel that other kids have advantages you don’t? What’s different about you? What’s special? What are your strengths?

5. The Skin You Live In (Michael Tyler)

What It’s About: With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an

important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony (such as friendship, acceptance, and diversity) are promoted in simple, straightforward prose—

“Hey, look at your skin …
The wonderful skin you live in!”

Questions to ask your kids: Do you believe any skin color is better or worse than another skin color? (Why or why not?) Do you like the color of your skin?

6. Sulwe (Regan McMahon)

What It’s About: Sulwe is a little girl who observes that she’s treated differently and left out because her skin, “the color of midnight,” is darker than that of her family members and classmates. She prays for lighter skin, starting with, “Dear Lord, why do I look like midnight when my mother looks like dawn?” Her mother explains, “Brightness is not in your skin … Brightness is just who you are.”

“Sulwe was born the color of midnight.
She looked nothing like her family.
Not even a little, not even at all.”

Questions to ask your kids: Where would you go if you could fly? Have you ever seen anyone treated differently because of the color of their skin? Why is this not okay?

7. Have I Ever Told You? (Shani King)

What It’s About: This little book holds the message of dignity that every child needs to hear: You are loved. You matter. You make me smile. 

“Have I told you that there is no one more special to me than you? That, for me, you are the most special child in the world, and that I love you now and will love you forever? Have I ever told you that?

Questions to ask your kids: Do you know how much I love you? What helps you know that I love you? Is there ever a time you don’t feel loved?

8. I Love You All the Same (Donna Keith)

What It’s About: The book is a great resource for adoptive families who want to assure their children that whether biological or adopted, each of them is incredibly loved.

“A Polar, Brown, and Panda bear as cute as cubs can be
Were placed by God together to complete a family.
They each were very different from the moment that they came.
But Mama Bear and Papa Bear still love them all the same.”

Questions to ask your kids: Do people have to look the same or have the same hobbies or interests to be a family? What makes a family?

9. The Marvelous Mustard Seed (Amy-Jill Levine)

What It’s About: Discover the surprising potential of one small seed in this book. Based on Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed, this inspiring children’s book shows young readers that one tiny seed—just like one small child—carries a world of potential.

“Have I told you that there is no one more special to me than you? That, for me, you are the most special child in the world, and that I love you now and will love you forever? Have I ever told you that?

Questions to ask your kids: Do you think God could do something big with your life? How is your life like the marvelous mustard seed?

10. God’s Very Good Idea (Trillia J. Newbell)

What It’s About: God’s very good idea is to have lots of different people enjoying loving Him and loving each other. This stunningly illustrated journey from the garden of Eden to God’s heavenly throne room shows how everyone can be part of God’s very good idea through the Gospel.

“God’s idea was to make PEOPLE … lots of people … lots of different people … who would all enjoy loving Him and all enjoy loving each other.”

Questions to ask your kids: Why do you think God created people who are different instead of all the same? How do you think God wants the people He created to treat each other?


Jami Kaeb from The Forgotten Initiative, a foster care ministry of Lifesong, created a helpful series of picture books designed specifically to give children a hope-saturated perspective on the people they interact with while they are in foster care. Each of the 3 books in the series has this message: You are worthy. You are loved. And we are all here to help you.