“Unfortunately, finding plus-size characters who are kind, genuine, adventurous, brave, clever, or all of the above in the pages of children’s literature is really damn hard,” parent and writer Marie Southard Ospina noted in a 2019 article for Romper.
Below, we’ve rounded up 20 children’s books that feature characters with underrepresented body types. While some of the stories focus on themes of body positivity and diversity, others include characters who simply happen to be plus-size.
This book introduces a variety of characters who have different types of bodies and emphasizes that they’re all “lovely.” (Available here)
“Pies From Nowhere”
“Pies From Nowhere” tells the story of grassroots civil rights activist Georgia Gilmore, who helped provide food and funds to sustain the famed bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama in the mid-1950s. (Available here)
In an article for Romper, writer Marie Southard Ospina recalled audibly gasping when she saw the protagonist’s mother “actually looked kind of like me” — a reminder of “how rare it is to see plus-size characters in children’s books.” (Available here)
“Her Body Can”
“Her Body Can” is full of poetic statements of self-love and body acceptance. (Available here)
This book about a trans girl with autism who wants to express herself features plus-size characters. (Available here)
“Abigail the Whale”
The titular character learns to cope with bullying and body insecurity in this empowering story. (Available here)
“What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us?
This book from the size-inclusive brand Universal Standard imagines “a world where clothing connects instead of divides, where every person has access to clothing that works for them, and we’re all kinder to ourselves, each other, and the planet.” (Available here)
Through a story focusing on a Native American family and a traditional dish, “Fry Bread” highlights both the diversity and unity of different tribes. (Available here)
Author and illustrator Phoebe Wahl has spoken of the way she incorporates body positivity and diversity into her work, like “Backyard Fairies,” which tells the story of a little girl’s search for magic in her backyard. (Available here)
“Amanda’s Big Dream”
After her skating coach makes a comment about her weight, the title character learns to regain her self-confidence. (Available here)
“Brontorina” is about a dinosaur who follows her dreams despite the obstacles her size poses and learns to love herself. (Available here)
“My Great Big Mamma”
A little boy describes what he loves about his plus-size mom in this affectionate story. (Available here)
“Voice Of Freedom”
Civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer is the subject of this book about strength and determination. (Available here)
“The Truth About Old People”
“The Truth About Old People” features grandparents with different body types and tackles stereotypes about seniors. (Available here)
“The Body Book”
“The Body Book” aims to show young children that people come in different shapes and sizes, all of which should be celebrated. (Available here)
As the title suggests, the protagonist of this book is “chunky” — and she loves herself. (Available here)
“Flora And The Flamingo”
A little girl and a graceful flamingo with contrasting bodies learn to dance together in harmony in this story of friendship and differences. (Available here)
“Full Mouse, Empty Mouse”
This book about mice with different body types and relationships with food addresses disordered eating for kids. (Available here)
“Your Body Is Awesome”
“Your Body Is Awesome” encourages kids to appreciate their bodies for all their differences and benefits. (Available here)
This story follows a boy, his dog and his grandfather on a chilly walk through the streets of New York. (Available here)
This story is part of a HuffPost Parents project called “I See Me,” a series for parents and kids on the power of representation. We know how important it is for kids to see people who look like them on the biggest stages, including politics, sports, entertainment and beyond. Throughout February, we’ll explore the importance of representation in teaching kids about difference, acceptance, privilege and standing up for others.
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