Looking for books with diverse characters that contain similar elements of whimsy and wonder to the Dr. Seuss books you know and love? @teachforthechange has curated a list of playful and educational alternatives to Dr. Seuss that support reading skills through rhyme, repetition and alliteration and introduce messages of tolerance, acceptance and social consciousness.
Repetition and Pattern
Can't get enough of the repetition and pattern in Green Eggs and Ham? You'll love these titles.
1. One Love by Cedella Marlet
2. Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee
A toddler's antics keep his mother busy as she tries to feed him, watch him on the playground, give him a bath and put him to bed. Sounds quite tiring, right! You won't get tired of reading Please, Baby, Please though.
3. So Much! by Trish Cooke
A baby boy is showered with love from his relatives as the clan gathers for a celebration in this exuberant picture book. Plus the title is correct it is So Much! fun.
4. Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
Who doesn't love a good round or two of peekaboo? Enjoy a day filled with fun by reading Peekaboo Morning.
5. Who? by Robie Harris
Who? explores the relationships babies form with the people and things they love the most. The repetitive verse and melodic voice will captivate babies and toddlers and draw them into the sounds and images of the book. Who? wants to place a hold?
Another classic Dr. Seuss title that uses alliteration is Fox in Socks. If you love tongue twisters, make sure to check out these titles.
6. B Is for Baby by Atinuke
Follow along as big brother goes on a journey to bring a basket of bananas all the way to Baba's bungalow in the next village. What big brother doesn't realize is that his very cute, very curious baby sibling has stowed away! Little ones learning about language will love sounding out the words in this playful, vibrantly illustrated story set in West Africa. Physical copies of B Is for Baby are also on order if you wish to place a hold in advance.
7. In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
Spring is here in this cheerful introduction to the seasons. Frogs leap, tadpoles wriggle, geese waddle and minnows scatter. So get on your rainboots and read along with In the Small, Small Pond. Also available as an eAudiobook.
8. Sweetest Kulu by Celine Kalluk
Read about the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little "Kulu," an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants. Place a hold on Sweetest Kulu or check out the eBook version.
We mentioned repetition so why not add in some alternative titles for rhyming instead of always re-reading The Cat in the Hat.
9. I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont
I Like Myself! is about a little girl expresses confidence and joy in her uniqueness, no matter her outward appearance.
10. Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
Despite the differences between people around the world, there are similarities that join us together, such as pain, joy and love. So Whoever You Are pick up this title today!
11. Round Is A Mooncake by Roseanne Thong
As a little girl discovers things round, square and rectangular in her urban neighborhood, she is reminded of her Chinese American culture. We promise it's an adorable story, make sure to read Round Is A Mooncake. Plus, it's also available as an eBook.
12. Red Is A Dragon by Roseanne Thong
13. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist, Scientist is a very curious girl who shows perseverance by asking questions and performing experiments to find things out and understand the world. Also available as an eBook, eAudiobook and Audiobook CD.
14. Under My Hijab by Hena Khan
As a young girl observes that each of six women in her life wears her hijab and hair in a different way, she considers how to express her own style one day. Check out Under My Hijab the next time you're in a branch.
Looking to add a bit more colour, check out these alternatives to Dr. Seuss's Book of Colors.
15. Black Is A Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
Yellow, orange, violet, indigo are rainbow colors. But my color is black, which is not part of the rainbow. From the wheels on a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall's back, Black surrounds our lives. It is a color to simply describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and survive. Black Is A Rainbow Color is also available as an eBook.
16. The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
Seven-year-old Lena and her mother observe the variations in the color of their friends' skin, viewed in terms of foods and things found in nature. Read The Colors of Us.
17. Holi Colors by Rina Singh
Experience Holi with every color of the rainbow! This Hindu celebration known as the festival of colors and the festival of love signifies the end of winter, the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. A time to laugh, play, visit friends and get messy! Little ones will love exploring the colors of Holi through the vibrant photographs and Singh's playful rhymes in Holi Colors. Also available as an eBook.
18. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan
Magnificently capturing the colorful world of Islam for the youngest readers, this breathtaking and informative picture book celebrates Islam's beauty and traditions. From a red prayer rug to a blue hijab, everyday colors are given special meaning as young readers learn about clothing, food and other important elements of Islamic culture, with a young Muslim girl as a guide. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is equally at home in a classroom reading circle as it is being read to a child on a parent's lap.
19. Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson
A few alternative titles to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
20. Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara
Counting up from one stuffed piñata to ten hefty hens—and always counting on each other—kids are encouraged to recognize the value of their community, the joys inherent in healthy eco-friendly activities and the agency they posses to make change. A broad and inspiring vision of diversity is told through stories in words and pictures. And of course, there is a duck to find on every page of Counting on Community.
21. Counting Ovejas by Sarah Weeks
When increasing numbers of sheep in a rainbow of colors appear in a man's bedroom as he tries to fall asleep, he must resort to more and more elaborate means of removing them. Help remove the rainbow sheep in Counting Ovejas.
22. Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
Help count along with numbers from ten to one as a little girls uses counting to go to bed in Ten, Nine, Eight.
23. One Is A Drummer by Roseanne Thong
A young girl numbers her discoveries in the world around her, from one dragon boat to four mahjong players to ten bamboo stalks in One Is A Drummer.
24. How to Two by David Soman
A child's solitary day at the playground turns into a park-wide adventure as he learns how to play with nine new friends in How to Two.
Race, Discrimination and Anti-Racism
Explore the themes of race, discrimination and anti-racism in these alternative titles to The Sneetches.
25. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Two girls, one white and one black, gradually get to know each other as they sit on the fence that divides their town in The Other Side.
26. Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester
Let's Talk About Race introduces the concept of race as only one component in an individual's or nation's "story".
27. All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger
All the Colors We Are explains, in simple terms, the reasons for skin color, how it is determined by heredity and how various environmental factors affect it.
28. I Am Brown by Ashok Banker
I Am Brown. I am beautiful. I am perfect. I designed this computer. I ran this race. I won this prize. I wrote this book. A joyful celebration of the skin you're in—of being brown, of being amazing, of being you.
29. I Am Enough by Grace Byers
Believe In Yourself!
Check out these alternatives to Oh, The Places You'll Go to make you and your kids believe in being your true self.
30. You're Here for A Reason by Nancy Tillman
You're Here for A Reason. If you think you're not always remember that a piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren't here. If not for your smile and your laugh and your heart, this place we call home would be minus a part. Thank goodness you're here! Thank goodness times two! Not only are we loved, but we also matter.
31. Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan
With vibrant illustrations and prose inspired by the Quran, this charming picture book is a heartfelt and universal celebration of a parent's unconditional love. Like the Moon Loves the Sky shares Muslim family traditions and showcases families teaching diversity and religious acceptance. Also available as an eBook.
32. Be You! by Peter Hamilton
33. I Believe I Can by Grace Byers
The Alphabet: an alternative to Dr. Seuss's ABC
34. A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
A Is for Activist is an ABC board book for families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. The alliteration, rhyming and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents' values of community, equality and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books. Also available as an eBook.
35. M is for Melanin by Tiffany Rose
Each letter of the alphabet contains affirming, Black-positive messages, from A is for Afro to F is for Fresh and W is for Worthy. M Is for Melanin teaches children their ABCs while encouraging them to love the skin that they're in.
36. An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing
A is for Ability, B is for Belief, C is for Class. All people have the right to be treated fairly, no matter who they are, what they look like or where they come from. An ABC of Equality introduces complicated concepts surrounding social justice to the youngest of children.
37. A is for Awesome by Eva Chen
Why stick with plain old A, B, C when you can have Amelia (Earhart), Malala, Tina (Turner), Ruth (Bader Ginsburg), all the way to eXtraordinary You—and the Zillion of adventures you will go on? Don't miss out reading this alphabet board book depicting feminist icons in A Is for Awesome: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World.