Kids Books About Clothing
This collection of books is inspired by our annual Read(y) to Wear fundraising event. At its core, it’s a paper fashion show - a beautiful showcase of our community’s creativity and a joyous celebration of all our bookish giving.
Clothes and accessories are such a visible and unique way for people to express themselves. Every time a kid picks up a book, they pick up messages about people and the world around them. Books that affirm and reflect the diversity of young readers can have a transformative impact on how children perceive themselves and others. By normalizing and celebrating all preferences and types of dress, we can nurture the next generation to uplift and love people for exactly who they are and however they choose to dress.
This collection of books features all types of kids and families who dress according to their identities, individual preferences, religious and cultural traditions, and so much more. Each of these fantastic stories will help nurture empathy, and hopefully inspire others to live their most authentic lives.
For a complete list of kids books about clothing, visit our Bookshop page. We included summaries from publishers about some of our favorite books below.
No One Owns the Colors
Author: Gianna Davy | Illustrator: Brenda Rodriguez | Publisher: The Collective Book Studio
No One Owns the Colors is a lively celebration of self-expression and a bolstering invitation to advocate for your special uniqueness.
The unnamed and non-gendered narrator shows us that colors are simply part of our natural world. No bit of the spectrum—from pink and blue to scarlet and chartreuse—is meant to be claimed by any one gender or being or culture. Color is not something that can be right or wrong, or better or worse.
Inspired by school yard experiences of her own children, this melodic, rhythmic text provides the words, and the confidence readers may need if someone says that their color—be it skin, shirt, shoes, or simply the crayon they love most—is wrong.
If you’re looking for a board book with similar themes, we love Bye Bye, Binary by Eric Geron and Charlene Chua.
The Hips on the Drag Queens Go Swish, Swish, Swish
Author: Lil Miss Hot Mess | Illustrator: Olga de Dios Ruiz | Publisher: Running Press Kids
The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish encourages readers to boldly be exactly who they are. Written by a founding member of the nationally recognized Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), this playful picture book offers a quirky twist on a classic nursery rhyme by illustrating all of the ways to "work it". The story plays off "The Wheels on the Bus" as it follows a drag queen who performs her routine in front of an awestruck audience. A fun frenzy of fierceness, this book will appeal to readers of all ages.
Don’t miss Lil Miss Hot Mess’s newest book, If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know it. Lil Miss Hot Mess is one of the founding members of Drag Queen Story Hour and now the author of several fantastic stories kids will love.
Coat of Many Colors
Author: Dolly Parton | Illustrator: Brook Boynton Hughes | Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap
Country music legend Dolly Parton's rural upbringing in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee provides the backdrop for this special picture book. Using lyrics from her classic song "Coat of Many Colors," the book tells the story of a young girl in need of a warm winter coat. When her mother sews her a coat made of rags, the girl is mocked by classmates for being poor. But Parton's trademark positivity carries through to the end as the girl realizes that her coat was made with love "in every stitch." Beautiful illustrations pair with Parton's poetic lyrics in this heartfelt picture book sure to speak to all young readers.
Leo’s Lavender Skirt
Author: Irma Borges | Illustrator: Francesco Fagnani | Publisher: NubeOcho
A reflection about the traditions and divisions between boy and girl's clothing. Why can’t we dress as we like?
Leo loves to wear costumes: pirate, superhero, knight... he also likes to put on a lavender skirt, but the day he decided to go out with it, someone mistakes him for a girl. He gets very angry. Can’t a boy play and put on a skirt? Years ago, girls weren't allowed to wear pants…
This story was first written in Spanish, and is available here.
Author: Karen English | Illustrator: Ebony Glenn | Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Malika is delighted when Nana surprises her with a beautiful new pair of red shoes! And with a click-clack-click and a swish, swish, swish, Malika wears her wonderful new shoes everywhere she goes. But one day, the shoes begin to pinch Malika's toes. And alas, they don't let her forget that her feet have grown! Soon Malika and Nana are off to the Rare Finds Resale Shop, where the shoes can be resold -- so somebody else can enjoy them!
Who will be the next to wear the red shoes? Malika wonders. Then Inna Ziya buys the shoes, and readers follow the shoes all the way across the world to Ghana in Africa, where Amina, another little girl, who has fasted her first time for Ramadan is about to get an amazing gift!
Karen English and Ebony Glenn have crafted a satisfying and heartwarming story about a pair of shoes, two girls, and a connection they share across continents.
Author: Maryann Jacob Macias | Illustrator: Alea Marley | Publisher: Dial Books
Téo loves to dance, whether it's the cumbia with Papí, the bhangra with Amma, or ballet class with Miss Lila. He also loves the way his tutu makes him feel, inside and out. But when it comes time to decide which outfit to wear in the big dance recital--a sparkly tutu or shimmering silver pants--Téo wonders if being his most authentic self on stage will put him too much in the spotlight.
The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh
Author: Supriya Kelkar | Illustrator: Alea Marley | Publisher: Union Square Kids
Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from happy sunny yellow to courageous red. He especially takes care with his patka—his turban—making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, everything just feels gray. Can he find a way to make life bright again?
Mary Wears What She Wants
Author/Illustrator: Keith Negley | Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Once upon a time (but not that long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants.
Until one day, a young girl named Mary had an idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants!
This bold, original picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.
Author: Van G. Garrett | Illustrator: Reggie Brown | Publisher: Union Square Kids
This is a love letter to sneakers. But not just any sneakers. Only the flyest, floatiest, you-est kicks you can get—the ones that let you soar!
This colorful, rhythmic adventure has something to offer anyone who prizes a great pair of shoes and any reader who loves to play with words.
Fred Gets Dressed
Author/Illustrator: Peter Brown | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
The boy loves to be naked. He romps around his house naked and wild and free. Until he romps into his parents' closet and is inspired to get dressed. First he tries on his dad's clothes, but they don't fit well. Then he tries on his mom's clothes, and wow! The boy looks great. He looks through his mom's jewelry and makeup and tries that on, too. When he's discovered by his mother and father, the whole family (including the dog!) get in on the fun, and they all get dressed together.
This charming and humorous story was inspired by bestselling and award-winning author Peter Brown's own childhood, and highlights nontraditional gender roles and self-expression.
Under My Hijab
Author: Hena Khan | Illustrator: Aaliyah Jaleel | Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Grandma wears it clasped under her chin. Aunty pins hers up with a beautiful brooch. Jenna puts it under a sun hat when she hikes. Zara styles hers to match her outfit. As a young girl observes six very different women in her life who each wear the hijab in a unique way, she also dreams of the rich possibilities of her own future, and how she will express her own personality through her hijab. Written in sprightly rhyme and illustrated by a talented newcomer, Under My Hijab honors the diverse lives of contemporary Muslim women and girls, their love for each other, and their pride in their culture and faith.