Books on Equality, Inclusion and Diversity

The INTO Taskforce on Equality, Inclusion and Diversity has collated a list of books relevant to the area of inclusion and diversity that teachers can use in their class. These have been compiled below under thematic headings. Simply click the expandable heading to view each list.

A Fox Called Herbert

Written by Margaret Sturton

Recommended 3-8, Junior Infants+

Meet Herbert: the rabbit who knows he was born to be a fox. When his mummy isn’t looking, he puts on pointy fox ears, makes himself a bushy tail, and asks his sister to paint him orange, just like a fox. But Mummy doesn’t understand: why can’t he just be a good rabbit?

A Fox Called Herbert is a true celebration of being ourselves and supporting our loved ones. Let this joyful tale inspire you to be who you are and follow your dreams.

If the World Were 100 People

Written by Jackie McCann and illustrated by Aaron Cushley

Picture book

Recommended age group: 6+, 1st Class

There are approximately 8 billion humans living on Earth, but it’s tricky to picture so many people! So instead, this book depicts the whole planet as a village where 100 people live – each person representing around 80 million people in the real world. So what does our global village of 100 people look like? Are they all grown-ups? Are there more males or females? How many have black hair or blue eyes? What languages do they speak? Who can read and write? How many have access to the internet or have enough food to eat? Does everyone have access to electricity or clean water?

Big ideas are broken into bitesize chunks through clever illustration and graphic design. The objective is that by focusing on just 100 people, it is easier to see the things we have in common, and the things that make us different.

Polonius the Pit Pony

Written by Richard O’Neill

Recommended for 4-9, Up to 4th Class

When Polonius the pit pony escapes from the coal mine he’s worked in all his life, he joins a family of Travellers. Although he enjoys the freedom and the fresh air that their lifestyle offers, he wishes he could give something back to the family in return. When the chance arrives for him to do something to help, he rises to the challenge, and uses his intelligence and skills to save the day. Based on true events and retold by a master of the oral tradition, this story bears witness to the Traveller values of independence, initiative, courage and hard work.

Sackville Street Caper

Written by Alan Nolan, illustrated by Shane Cluskey

Children’s fiction

Recommended age: 10-12, 4th Class

Teacher resource: see here.

Driven by his ambition to become a writer, a young Bram believes that he is unable to acquire the necessary experience at his boarding school and runs away to find adventure on the streets of Dublin. He meets Molly Malone, accomplished sneak thief and part time fishmonger. Together they must thwart the evil Count Vladimir who plans to steal the Irish Crown Jewels from Dublin Castle.

Little Bee Charmer of Henrietts Street

Written by Sarah Webb and illustrated by Rachel Corcoran

Recommended age: 10-12, 5th Class

Teacher resources: see here.

The story of the tenement houses on Henrietta Street in Dublin serves as a reminder of the ongoing nature of the societal issue of homelessness. The Kane family, having lost their wife and mother, have to move from a house in a leafy suburb of Dublin in 1911 to a tenement flat in the Henrietta Street of the title. Eliza has to give up her art classes to look after her father who is losing his sight because of cataracts, and her little brother Jonty. She takes on some of the work he can no longer do illuminating manuscripts in the small workshop. Life in the tenements is hard but there is a strong community, and there is also the excitement of the circus coming to town and the opportunity for Eliza and Jonty to earn some money for the operation their father needs. When a tenement crumbles to the ground and lives are lost, the community and the circus family rally round.


Written by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Recommended age: 11+ 5th/6th Class

Graphic novel Teacher resource: see here.

his is a powerful and timely story about one boy’s epic journey across Africa to Europe, a graphic novel for all children with glorious colour artwork throughout. His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe. Ebo’s epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. With every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister.

This book was the winner of the Judges’ Special Award at the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards.

Lily at Lissadell

Written by Judi Curtin, illustration by Rachel Corcoran

Recommended age: 10-12 5th/6th Class

Historical Children’s fiction Teacher resource: see here.

When Lily is a young teenager, the time comes for her and her friends to leave school and find work; some are emigrating to America, some going to work in shops. Lily is going into service in the Big House – Lissadell. A warm and engaging story about friendship, life in the early 20th century and how the political world affects everyone.

Resist (One girls fight back against the Nazis)

Written by Tom Palmer. Illustrated by Clohosy Cole

Recommended age: 10+/Rang a Cúig – Rang a Sé

Written for dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, accessible to all readers Teacher resources: see here.

This book is set in 1943, telling the story of Edda who is 14 and living in Velp in the Netherlands under German occupation. She is risking her life working for the resistance, delivering newsletters and helping US airmen stranded behind German lines.

The author describes Edda’s heroism plus the fear and misery experienced every day by all those trying to live their lives as war rages around them. The book is inspired by a real person and the story of this courageous young girl is even more remarkable when he reveals in the concluding pages that Edda van Heemstra grew up to be Audrey Hepburn, one of the most famous of all the Hollywood stars, though also a long-time ambassador for UNICEF.


While the Storm Rages

Written by Phil Earle

Recommended for- 9-13, 4th Class +

World War 2: Saving animals, The world is on the brink of war. As his dad marches off to fight, Noah makes him a promise, to keep their beloved family dog safe.

When the government advises people to have their pets put down in readiness for the chaos of war, hundreds of thousands of people do as they are told. But not Noah. With his two friends in tow, he goes on the run, to save his dog and as many animals as he can.

No Country

Written by Joe Brady, illustrated by Patrice Aggs

Suitable for 11+ 6th Class

Graphic novel

Bea lives with her dad, big sister and little brother; her mother has already had to flee their country, which is in the midst of a civil war, the forces of the state fighting the rebel Free Kingdom movement, with civilians bearing the brunt, enduring food shortages, power cuts and bomb attacks along with casual brutality from both sides. The family know they’ll have to leave soon, and the book describes the events that trigger their decision to go and live as refugees. The story describes what it’s like to live in a society where trust has collapsed, and where everyone is scared and desperate.


Written by Louie Stowell

Recommended age: 10+ 4th/5th Class

Teacher resource: see here.

This book is the diary of Norse god Loki and documents the trials of being trapped on Earth as a ‘normal’ eleven-year-old boy. After one prank too many, trickster god Loki is banished to live as a “normal” school boy. If he can show moral improvement within one month, then Loki can return to Asgard. If not, he will be sent to a pit of angry snakes. To keep track of his progress, Odin has handed over this magical diary in which Loki is forced to confess the truth.

Fox & Son Tailers

Written by Paddy Donnelly

Recommended for 2+, Junior Infants

Rory’s dad, Fox, is a tailer. The BEST in the business! Animals come from all over to have their tails made by him. Rory helps his dad in the shop and one of his jobs is measuring the customers for the tails – which isn’t always easy!

But Rory is bored of making the same old tails. He has his own amazing ideas …

The Lost Girl King

Written by Catherine Doyle

Recommended age: 9+, 4TH Class

Teacher resource: see here.

Amy and Liam Bell have been packed off to stay at Gran’s house in the wilds of Connemara for the summer. Out for a walk on the first morning of their holiday, they trace the flight of a hawk to a nearby waterfall – only to watch the bird disappear through it. Intrigued, the children follow and soon realise they’ve discovered the entrance to Tir na nOg, the legendary land of eternal youth. But they’ve been tricked.

Almost immediately, Liam is captured by a troop of headless horsemen who take him to Tarlock, the ruling sorcerer of Tir na nOg, who is seeking the bones of a human child for a sinister new spell.

The Last Bear

Written by Hannah Gold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold

Recommended age 9+, 4th Class

Genre: Children’s fiction Teacher resource: see here.

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…

This moving story delivers a key message that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world.

October October

Written by Katya Balen

Suitable for age 9+ 4th Class

Children’s fiction Teacher resource: see here.

Eleven-year-old October – named for the month she was born in – lives in the forest with her dad. She refuses to see her mum who lives far away in London and, in October’s eyes, abandoned her and her dad. Yet October is happy with the way things are – she doesn’t go to school, preferring to live as wild as she can in the woods, learning about nature and doing things the old-fashioned way with Dad. On October’s twelfth birthday, her Dad is horribly injured in an accident and she is forced to leave her wild home in the woods to stay in London with her mum. She finds it difficult to adjust to life in the – the cars, the underground trains and attending school, where the other kids tease her. Worst of all, October hates her mother and refuses all her efforts to build a relationship – all she wants is to go home with Dad.

Gradually, though, as Dad slowly recovers in hospital, October starts to become accustomed to city life, making friends with a boy in her class. Slowly, October lets her mum in to her heart, and life starts to change for the better.

All Are Welcome

Written by Alexandra Penfold

Recommended for 2-5, Junior Infants

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcome. A school where children in patkas, hijabs, baseball caps and yarmulkes play side by side. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions. A school where diversity is a strength.

Warm and inspiring, All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, and they are welcome in their school. Engaging lyrical text and bright, accessible illustrations make this book a must for every child’s bookshelf, classroom and library.

Barbara Throws A Wobbler

Written by Nadia Shireen

Recommended Age 3-6, Junior/Senior Infants

Barbara is in a very bad mood. She won’t admit it, but she is. She has a problem with a sock, and at lunchtime there’s a strange pea… And even though she’s at the park with her friends, it all just gets a bit much. Suddenly Barbara’s WOBBLER is out of control!

But what if Barbara and her Wobbler can work together, so she can be cheerful again?

Winner of the UKLA Award and shortlisted for the Oscar’s Book Prize and the FCBG Children’s Book Award, Barbara Throws A Wobbler is a brilliantly funny and sensitive way to understand and deal with tantrums.

The Insiders

Written and illustrated by Cath Howe

Recommended age: 9+, 3rd/4th Class

Children’s fiction

Teacher resource: see here.

Callie, Nico, Ted and Zara are really close friends. Ted lives next door to Callie whose mum looks after him and the others after school. However, since an embarrassing incident at school, Ted has become quieter than ever, withdrawing from the group. When they notice a light on in school after hours, Callie, Nico and Zara decide to investigate. Watching from his garden, Ted can’t believe his friends have not included him…


Written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Genre: Non-fiction, graphic novel

Recommended age: 12,  6th Class

This is a coming-of-age story that charts a young girl’s progression from middle school to high school. Smile is based on the author’s true story of family, friends, boys, and dental drama. One night in sixth grade, Raina trips and breaks her two front teeth. What follows involves braces, head gear, surgeries, and many trips dentists and dental specialists which is particularly embarrassing at a time in life when image matters, especially to young people/adolescents in our modern society.

Raina decides to split with her ‘friends’ who make fun of her and try to convince her to change to become more attractive. She replaces them with people who genuinely care about her and share her passion for activities she enjoys such as art.

The Boldness of Betty

Written by Anna Carey and illustrated by Lauren O’Neill

Historical fiction

Recommended age: 11+, 5TH/6TH Class

Teaching resource: see here.

The Boldness of Betty is set in Dublin in 1913 and tells the story of Betty who has reluctantly finished school at the age of 14 and is starting life in the working world. As she makes new friends with other counter girls in Lawlor’s Cake Shop and Tearoom, she quickly starts to learn the ways of working life and how unfair it can be.

The Memory Tree

Written and Illustrated  by Britta Teckentrup

Recommended for younger classes

Fox has lived a long and happy life in the forest, but now he is tired. He lies down in his favourite clearing, and falls asleep for ever. Before long, Fox’s friends begin to gather in the clearing. One by one, they tell stories of the special moments that they shared with Fox. And so, as they share their memories, a tree begins to grow, becoming bigger and stronger with each memory, sheltering and protecting all the animals in the forest, just as Fox did when he was alive.

The Rabbit Listened

Written and Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld

Recommended for younger classes

The Rabbit Listened is a tender meditation on loss. When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs. Whether read in the wake of tragedy or as a primer for comforting others, this is a deeply moving and unforgettable story sure to soothe heartache of all sizes.

The Shark Caller

Written by Zillah Bethell and illustrated by Saara Söderlund

Recommended age: 9-12; 4th Class

Teacher notes: see here.

Set in a rural village on the shores of Papua New Guinea, this book tells the story of Blue Wing, a young girl who moves in with Siringen, a gentle village elder following the death of her parents. Siringen becomes her waspapi, or guardian. Obsessed by his role as a shark caller, Blue Wing pleads with Siringen to teach her this ancient tradition, but he refuses, fearing that the anger in her heart will lead her to misuse the skills.

When an American professor arrives to study coral, Blue Wing is asked to show his daughter, Maple, around the island. Maple is initially rude and hostile, but with patience and compassion, Blue Wing discovers the cause of her unhappiness and, realising they have much in common, the girls form an affectionate, sisterly bond.

The inclusion of Papuan Pidgin English words throughout the book enlivens the narrative.

Tragedy At Sea

Written by  David Long

Recommended age: 8-12. 4th Class +

Story of Titanic, lots of interesting facts, very well illustrated, suitable for dyslexic readers.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Written by Mo Williams

Recommended Ages 3-7, up to Senior Infants

When a bus driver takes a break in this hilarious Caldecott Honor-winning picture book, he gives the reader just one instruction: “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!” But, boy, that pigeon tries every trick in the book to get in that driving seat: he whines, wheedles, fibs and flatters.

Will you let him drive? Told entirely in speech bubbles, this brilliantly original and funny picture book demands audience participation!

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Written by Carol McCloud illustrated by David Messing

Recommended Age: 3-6, Junior Infants/Senior Infants

This book (32 pages, lots of pictures) encourages positive behaviour by using the concrete concept of an ‘invisible bucket’ that holds your good thoughts and feelings. When you do something kind, you fill someone’s bucket; when you do something mean, you dip into someone’s bucket and remove some good thoughts and feelings. This book focuses on how our social interactions positively or negatively affect others and encourages all to be kind.


Written by RJ Palacio

Recommended Age : 9-1, 4th Class +

Wonder (ages 8 plus) Main character, August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Beginning from Auggie’s point of view and expanding to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others, the perspectives converge to form a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope.

R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness.

Ethics for the Very Young

Written by Erik Kenyon , Diane Terorde-Doyle, et al.

Recommended for

The book aims to help children articulate and develop their own perspectives through dialogue with each other through a series of lesson plans.

The “If” Machine”

Written by Peter Worley

Recommended for

The book presents 30 clear, ready-to-use plans to teach philosophy in the classroom with children aged five to 13.


Philosophy for Young Children: A Practical Guide

Written by Berys Gaut and Morag Gaut

Recommended for Junior Infants +

This book is a concise, practical guide for teachers and contains detailed session plans for 36 philosophical enquiries.



Written by Adam Rex, illustrated by Claire Keane

Recommended for ages 5-8

A great book for curious junior and senior infants who love to ask questions.


Duck, Death and the Tulip


Written by Wolf Erlbruch


Recommended for Junior Infants +


Explains the topic of death in a way that is honest, lightly philosophical and with gentle humour.

Philosophy for Kids

Written by David A White

Recommended for 9+, 4th Class

Philosophy for Kids offers young people the opportunity to become acquainted with the wonders of philosophy. Packed with exciting activities arranged around the topics of values, knowledge, reality, and critical thinking, this book can be used individually or by the whole class. Each activity allows kids to increase their understanding of philosophical concepts and issues and enjoy themselves at the same time.

In addition to learning about a challenging subject, students philosophizing in a classroom setting, as well as the casual reader of Philosophy for Kids, will sharpen their ability to think critically about these and similar questions.


Beag Bideach!

A scríobh le Sadhbh Devlin

Aois/Age: 3 – 7

Tá grá ag Nína dá dheartháir, Jimí ach, uaireannta cuireann sé isteach uirthi. Go háirithe nuair atá sí ag iarraidh a bheith ag spraoi lena cairde, na bábóga. Ba bhreá le Nína bheith bídeach ionas go bhféadfadh sí dul chun cónaithe lena cairde, na bábóg. Nach mbeadh an saol i dteach bábóige, gan Jimí, go hiontach ar fad?!

Bi ag Spraoi Liom! 

A scríobh le Sadhbh Devlin

Aois/Age: 3 – 8

Is cumadóir iontach í Lúna le fadhb mór amháin; tá Mamaí ró-ghnóthach bheith ag spraoi lei ina Measín Ama nua. An féidir le Lúna plean a cheapadh le Mamaí a mhealladh le spraoi lei? Tugann Bí ag Spraoi Liom! meabhrú dúinn am a dhéanamh do na rudaí is tábhachtaí sa saol.

Geansai Ottó 

A scriobh le Sadhbh Devlin

Aois/Age: 3 – 8

Tá stíl ag Ottó agus is breá leis éadaí deasa. Ach ní thuigeann Mamó rud ar bith faoi chúrsaí faisin. Nuair a thagann geansaí gránna eile sa phost uaithi, tá rogha ag Ottó – caithfidh sé rud éigin a dhéanamh…


Only a Tree Knows How to Be a Tree

Written by Mary Murphy

Recommended for ages 3 and over, Junior Infants up

A tree has leaves that turn sunshine into tree food. Amazing!

Mary Murphy brings alive for young children the wonderful variety of our amazing world, and the special nature o each living thing – including YOU!

BOOT small robot, BIG adventure: Book 1

Written by Shane Hegarty

Illustrated by Ben Mantle

Recommended for ages 4+

When toy robot, Boot, wakes up at a scrapyard, it has no idea how it got there and why it isn’t with its owner, Beth. It only has two and a half glitchy memories, but it knows it was loved, which means something important to humans.

Boot soon realises its emotions make it different to other robots, who just function and don’t think. Boot is scared but tries to be brave, which is hard when its screen keeps showing a wobbly, worried face. Luckily Boot meets Noke and Red – other ‘advanced’ robots who have learned to survive in secret.

With new friends by its side, Boot is determined to find Beth and the gang set off on a dangerous adventure. Everything Boot thought it knew about the world is changing, and things aren’t as simple as it remembers.


Ruby’s Worry

Written by Tom Percival

Recommended for 3-7, up to 1st Class

Ruby loves being Ruby. Until, one day, she finds a worry.

At first, it’s not such a big worry, and that’s all right, but then it starts to grow. It gets bigger and bigger every day and it makes Ruby sad. How can Ruby get rid of it and feel like herself again?

Aaron Slater, Illustrator

Written by Andrea Beaty

Illustrated by David Roberts

Recommended for up to 3rd class

Aaron Slater loves listening to stories and dreams of one day writing them himself. But when it comes to reading, the letters just look like squiggles to him, and it soon becomes clear he struggles more than his peers. When his teacher asks each child in the class to write a story, Aaron can’t get a single word down. He is sure his dream of being a storyteller is out of reach until inspiration strikes, and Aaron finds a way to spin a tale in a way that is uniquely his.


A Bit Lost

Written by Chris Haughton

Recommended for Junior Infants

This book explores a range of feelings from fear, worry and love as a baby owl is reunited with its mother.


Bumble & Snug and the Angry Pirates

Written by Bradley Mark

Recommended for

Bumble and Snug are going on a big adventure to … have a picnic! But when they accidentally get lost, they’re both cross – is their adventure ruined?

Working together to find their way home, Bumble and Snug come across a pirate treasure horde. But taking treasure that isn’t yours is a good way to get into trouble, and sure enough some VERY angry pirates aren’t far behind.

Bumble and Snug are certain they can replace the treasure, and fix things to make everybody happy. But there’s another monstrous obstacle in store – and this one has TENTACLES.

Bumble and Snug and the Angry Pirates is a story about being cross and how to listen, friendship and sandcastles, and one GIANT octopus!

Where the Wild Things Are

Written by Maurice Sendak

Recommended for Junior and Senior Infants

Reminds us not to judge a person on their appearance.

My Princess Boy

Written by Suzanne DeSimone and  Cheryl Kildavos

Recommended for Junior Infants to 1st Class

This is a story about love and acceptance. It is also a call for tolerance and an end to bullying and judgments.


Ten Delicious Teachers

Written by Ross Montgomery

Illustrated by Sarah Warburton

Recommended for Junior Infants to 1st Class

An irreverent and zany counting book that is gently thrilling and written in a deliciously infectious rhyme with witty and whimsical illustrations.Ten very foolish teachers have missed the last bus home. But LOOK – a shortcut through the forest! They’ll be back in time for tea!

Ten Things I Can Do To Help My World

Written and Illustrated by: Melanie Walsh

Recommended for Junior Infants to 1st Class

A simple book for small children where transforming pages reveal ten things that everyone can do to help conserve their world. Many of them, such as turning off the television properly, walking to school and turning off lights when leaving a room, are about conserving energy.

The Vanishing Lake

Written and illustrated by Paddy Donnelly

Recommended for younger classes

A captivating tale that celebrates a young girl’s determination, a granddad’s wisdom, and the fantastical wonders of the natural world. Something mysterious is happening at Lake Loughareema. There are days the lake is beautiful, shimmering, and full. And then there are other days . . . where the lake is completely empty.Meara asks her granddad WHY the water disappears, but every time he blames far-fetched culprits: Narwals! Mermaids! Giants! Unsatisfied with these wild tales, Meara sets out to look under every pebble and search every hillexploring the entire island to uncover the truth for herself. Little does she know the answer is much larger than she realizes, and it might just take stepping back and opening her eyes to the impossible to discover the magic of Lake Loughareema.

The Day the Crayons Quit

Written by Drew Daywalt

Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Recommended for younger classes

A story about a little boy named Duncan and his box of crayons, which one day decide to go on strike because they are not satisfied with how they are used. Duncan tries to find a way to solve this problem, in order to keep his crayons happy and be able to paint again.

Bad Panda

Written by Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

Recommended for up to third class

Everyone thinks that Lin is the cutest panda in the world. So much so that they ship her off to the local zoo, away from her beloved brother, to be ogled at by the masses. But Lin HATES being cute, and now she will do everything in her power to prove that she’s the baddest, meanest, most un-cute animal in the zoo.

I Love My Hair

Written by Natasha Tarpley

Recommended for 2–6-year olds or junior classes

A lovely book describing a girl of colour having her hair brushed and styled by her mother and it talks about and depicts all the different ways she can wear her hair in a very positive way.

This whimsical story has been celebrating the beauty of African-American hair for years.

In this imaginative, evocative story, a girl named Keyana discovers the beauty and magic of her special hair, encouraging black children to be proud of their heritage and enhancing self-confidence.


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