I was probably five when I had my first playdate. I was a shy kid, so it was a big deal that I met a girl at the swimming pool, made faces at her underwater, and invited her to come over for lunch the next day.
I don’t remember what my new friend looked like, but her name was Rebecca. I prepared for her arrival by arranging my stuffed animals and choosing a special peanut butter soup to make from my Sesame Street cookbook. That was the last playdate I’d have for years, and I never did make any recipes from the cookbook.
You see, once my new friend Rebecca arrived at our house and met my older sister Kimberly, she refused to speak. She didn’t want to play, and she sat by the window until my mom was able to phone her mother to pick her up. I don’t fault Rebecca. I’m certain she didn’t know any better, and perhaps she was just shocked. But my little five-year-old heart broke. That was the day I learned that not everyone understands that God created each person uniquely.
You see, Kimberly contracted spinal meningitis at 5 weeks old. She survived, but it left her with a laundry list of diagnosis–like epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and dwarfism. At seven, her wheelchair tray was outfitted with buttons covered in differently textured materials–a way for her to see the levers as she operated the devices on her wheelchair.
Rather than leaving our children to form their own conclusions about the value of others, we can help our own kids understand God’s care for each human, and his special design of every single person in his own image.
God’s Creation is Diverse
God delights in variety and in beauty. Look around at the world he’s created. An apple tree feeds those who eat from it, but God gave us oranges, lemons, mangoes, and peaches as well. Not only that, he filled the world with elms, maples, and beautiful magnolias.
The Lord has formed each one of us just the way he wants for his very own purposes. That includes the hue of our skin, the texture and color of our hair, and even our physical limitations.
Isaiah 45:7-9, ESV, says:
I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the Lord, who does all these things.
“Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it.
“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?
We know, too, that our God is sovereign over the events of our lives. Lamentations 3:37-38, ESV, says:
Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Because our God is a good and just and kind God, we can trust him with our circumstances. We can praise him for how he created us, how he created our children, and even for the events that make us who we are–scars, differing abilities, and all.
We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and his creation is good.
God’s Design for His Church
I’ve been reading Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison (Waterbrook, 2019). On page 23, Morrison cites Acts 13:47 and points out: “The Greek term used for Gentiles, ethnos, also means a foreign, non-Jewish people group. It is, of course, the word from which we derive ethnic and ethnicity.”
Think about that for a moment. Our God, who loves diversity and color in his creation, created ethnic diversity–ethnic people groups–on purpose. Our ethnicity is not a mistake or an afterthought. We humans can celebrate the diversity with which the Lord created us.
Yet, as Christians, we are one Church under our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are one united people group. We love each other.
Ephesians 4:1-6 says:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism,one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Praise God for his amazing creation of his people–we are physically and ethnically diverse on purpose. We are one people under God as the Church on purpose.
Physical and Ethnic Diversity Books for Kids
We can teach our children of God’s creation. He has carefully formed each of us in the womb and shapes the events of our lives. The Lord has created each human in his image, and we are to love one another.
I’ve put together a list of excellent books that will help your children learn about and celebrate physical and ethnic diversity.
Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to BirthDifferent Like Me (Our Daily Bread for Kids Presents)God Made Me AND You: Celebrating God’s Design for Ethnic DiversityGod’s Very Good Idea: A True Story of God’s Delightfully Different FamilyGod’s Very Good Idea – Coloring and Activity Book (Tales That Tell the Truth)One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike than DifferentWhen God Made YouColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave UsGraceFull: Growing a Heart That Cares for Our NeighborsThoughtFull: Discovering the Unique Gifts in Each of Us
- Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth by Danika Cooley <–me! (Christian Focus 4 Kids, 2016) ~ Filled with science and Scripture, Wonderfully Made is a celebration of the time your child spends being formed by God in the womb. My children always loved hearing the story of their early development and birth, and I know yours will as well! Representation is important for our kids, and the illustrations in Wonderfully Made portray several different families. With a message that your child was carefully planned and formed by God, Wonderfully Made reinforces the message for 5-11 year-olds that God’s creation is purposeful, intentional, and good.
- Visit my Wonderfully Made book page here and get free resources to go along with your copy!
- Different Like Me by Xochitl Dixon (Our Daily Bread for Kids, 2020) ~ Xochitl Dixon has written a book about God’s special creation of each one of us, which tells the story of a diverse group of kids working toward a common purpose. Together, they discover their many differences–and their many similarities. The book, written in rhyme for 3-7 year-olds, is a charming celebration of how God made each person special. This is a sweet book with a simple message. Every person is “different like me”–and God made each of us just that way on purpose.
- God Made Me AND You: Celebrating God’s Design for Ethnic Diversity by Shai Lynne (New Growth Press, 2018) ~ Shai Lynne is a rapper-become-pastor, and his delightful book teaches kids about “God’s design for diversity in His image-bearers” with a kingdom-centered perspective. Focusing on God’s creation of every nation on earth from just one man (Acts 17:26), Lynne helps kids understand we all have the same origin, and we are all united. God created our diverse world to show off his glory, worth, beauty, and greatness. Jesus died for all people who trust in him, regardless of silly reasons we find to tease each other like disabilities or skin color. I love the solid biblical teaching in this book about God’s sovereign design, and the clear presentation of the gospel.
- God’s Very Good Idea: A True Story of God’s Delightfully Different Family by Trillia Newbell (The Good Book Company, 2020) ~ This is another lovely book about God’s very good idea to make many different people in his own image who all enjoy loving him and each other. Newbell clearly shares the story of the gospel, beginning with Adam and Eve and the Fall–when people ruined God’s very good idea. She shares that our mistreatment of each other is sin, and for our sin we all need forgiveness. We can only love each other with the help of Jesus, who welcomes everyone who asks his forgiveness. Jesus’ people are the Church–a physically and ethnically diverse group who love Jesus and love each other. This is a delightful book.
- God’s Very Good Idea Coloring and Activity Book ~ This is a fun accompaniment to the book that aims to reinforce the central message of God’s good design of every human.
- One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike than Different by Linsey Davis with Beverly Davis (Zonderkidz, 2019) ~ Linsey Davis shares that we are all created with different bodies to do amazing things, and different abilities. The book emphasizes physical differences like hair, height, and skin color, then talks about how we each share a commonality–God lives inside us in our hearts where kindness and love grow. This book doesn’t share the gospel, but is a very sweet treatment of how God made each of us unique.
- When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner (Convergent Books, 2017) ~ I love the illustrations in this book. They are fabulous. There are a lot of positive affirmation going on in the text, like: “You being you is God’s dream coming true.” Normally, I shy away from affirmations that aren’t direct paraphrases of Scripture. I do really like the book, however, as a part of a set. With other books on physical and ethnic diversity that clearly share the gospel and biblical doctrine, this book is just fun. It encourages kids to be peacemakers and to love one another.
- ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Williamson (B&H Publishing Group, 2018) ~ This book specifically addresses ethnic diversity. Through the storytelling of a grandma to a group of kids, Williamson writes about the diversity of colors in nature and the diversity of colors in skin. I love the description she uses when describing skin: chocolate, caramel, or vanilla. The illustrations show a huge variety of shades. The grandma in the book addresses the concept of colorblindness, sharing what a shame it would be to miss the beauty of God’s diverse creation.
- GraceFull: Growing a Heart That Cares for Our Neighbors by Dorena Williamson (B&H Publishing Group, 2019) ~ This volume by Williamson addresses social class, immigration, and homelessness. I reviewed just the pages made available on store sites, and I think it’s a nice part of a set by Williamson that aims to teach compassion and care to our kids.
- ThoughtFull: Discovering the Unique Gifts in Each of Us by Dorena Williamson (B&H Publishing Group, 2018) ~ This book addresses physical diversity and how to care for the differently abled. While I read the entire text of ColorFull, I’ve just reviewed the promotional pages of ThoughtFull. I like Williamson’s writing, though, and I think all three books create a great set.
Don’t wait to teach your kids about how God designed them purposefully and intentionally. Grab a few of these books and get started learning together!
Teach Kids About Life in the Womb
Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth
Your kids will love learning about life inside the womb with Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth, published by Christian Focus 4 Kids.
Wonderfully Made is a science- and Scripture-filled picture book for kids ages 5-11. The book is told from the perspective of a mother telling her child about his or her development in the womb week-by-week. In fact, Wonderfully Made is written to help parents meet the theological, scientific, and relational purposes of teaching kids about life in the womb.
Learn more about Wonderfully Made over at the book page.
Head over to the Thinking Kids Press store for your free Wonderfully Made posters, Bible memory verse cards, and lapbook!
They’re a great companion to the book Wonderfully Made, and the perfect way to teach your kids about life in the womb!
Autographed from Danika Cooley: Wonderfully Made: God’s story of life from conception to birth
Amazon: Wonderfully Made: God’s story of life from conception to birth
Amazon UK: Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth
Christian Book: Wonderfully Made: God’s story of life from conception to birth
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Alexandra David says
I don’t believe kids are racists unless taught. I know I am not a racist. As a Christian I know that God made everybody in His image and wants us to treat everybody the same. I don’t choose a book because of the race of the author or character. Why should I?
Hi, Alexandra. It was pretty hard to find books that showed kids of different colors and abilities. If God has created us all for his glory and we are made in his image… and we are… then I think representation is important. And I think teaching kids about the Imago Dei concept in theology is vital. This is about teaching proper theology. Not about racism.
I think it is super important to teach kids about diversity and respecting everyone, regardless or age, race or ethnicity.
Sarah Butterfield says
I was familiar with some of these titles, but some of these wonderful books are new to me! What a great thing to teach our kids early that our diversity is a reflection of God himself!
Thanks for this chance to win, Danika!
Good morning, these are some wonderful books! We have a couple, and I also have a couple on my wishlist, then there is some others that made my wishlist. Graceful and God Gave us color looks like good books.
Margaret Hadam says
Thanks for new titles to consider, I haven’t seen some of these before. And thanks for the wonderful giveaway!
Lila Diller says
Growing up, I was never taught about diversity. I was happily white in a mostly white neighborhood. I never even remember seeing black people until I went to college in Florida. I don’t want my kids to grow up that way. I would love to win.
Aryn The Libraryan 📚 says
When God Made You is such an awesome book! I cried reading it.
I would add When God Made Color to this list, too.
Thank you for the suggestion, Aryn!
Mya Murphy says
These titles sound absolutely amazing!! I can’t wait to check them out. I can’t figure out why there’s so much hatred in the world. We are all made from the same Father.
Nelly B says
Thank you for this opportunity and Book suggestionA!
These books sound so amazing and I know the kids in the family would so love them.
Amber R says
I have gotten a few of these books from the library and they were excellent to teach about diversity!
Elizabeth R. says
Thank you for recommending these books. I’ll be looking into getting some of them.
Amy Cowan says
I love the idea of teaching our kids about different ethnic groups and people who are just different from us in general. Our kids can learn a lot from a differing perspective.
Andrea Wilson says
What great book suggestions! I have never seen the “Colorfull” and others….for sure need to add them to my wish list!
This looks like a great list
These look like great resources. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the chance to win this!
Susan Menzmer says
What a great collection of books! I have never heard of any of them!
Carrie K says
Thanks for participating in this great giveaway!
Becky W. says
We have and LOVE Shai Lynne’s Book. Many of the rest of these are now on my Amazon wishlist. Thanks for this post.
Ashley Taurone says
I am so thankful for all the free resources and the fact that you guys even consider doing this giveaway to your readers. I appreciate it.
Cindy B says
Thanks for a great giveaway and for addressing this very timely issue with a biblical perspective.