An Australian Government initiative, Harmony Week runs on 20-26 March, celebrating and recognising our diversity, bringing together Australians from all different backgrounds. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. During this week, Harmony Day on March 21 coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

In the lead up to Harmony Week and beyond, and to assist educators and families with helping children understand and empathise with the lives of others around them, we have put together a title selection to explore themes of diversity, inclusion and belonging with kids of all ages.

Discover the stories below in our dedicated ‘Stories for Harmony Week 2023’ playlist, found on your Story Box Library account dashboard. Audiences in Australia and New Zealand audiences can also watch Brothers from a Different Mother for free during March.

Brothers from a Different Mother

Tapir and Pig both love to play, chase butterflies, look for yummy things to eat and wallow in the mud together... so why would their parents say they can't see each other any more?

From master storyteller, Phillip Gwynne, comes this heartfelt story of friendship. Inspired by a trip to the zoo and a new child arriving at his daughter's school, this is an important story that emphasises how children focus more on similarities than differences, and teaches that we should never be afraid of outward appearances that are different to our own.

Read by author Phillip Gwynne himself, and with gorgeous illustrations by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Brothers from a Different Mother is a story that should be watched by all.

Stories for Harmony Week 2023

My Two Blankets

An important story of immigration and belonging to share with Australian children, tenderly told by Irena Kobald and intricately illustrated by Freya Blackwood.

Following her arrival in a new country with its unfamiliar sights and sounds, Cartwheel creates a safe place for her self under an 'old' blanket made out of the memories and thoughts of home. Mariam Issa reads My Two Blankets and she brings to this reading a similar personal experience to that of Cartwheel, the main character.

View special editions of My Two Blankets in Dari (read by Zakia Hassan), Farsi (read by Ensie Anjedani) and Arabic (read by Mohammed Sharabah) and also Meet Belle Alderman and learn about NCACL (National Centre for Australian Children's Literature).

My Shadow is Pink

My Shadow is Pink is a beautifully written rhyming story that touches on the subjects of gender identity, self acceptance, equality and diversity.

Inspired by the author's own little boy, 'Shadow's' main character likes princesses, fairies and things 'not for boys'... he soon learns (through the support of his dad) that everyone has a shadow that they sometimes feel they need to hide.

This is an important book for a new generation of children (and adults alike) which exemplifies the concepts of unconditional love, respect and positive parenting.

Written, illustrated and read by Scott Stuart. 

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name

When Zimdalamashkermishkada starts a new school, he knows he’s got to do something about his long name.

When no amount of shrinking, folding or crumpling works, he simply settles for Zim – but deep down, it doesn’t feel right. It’s not until a new friend sees him for who he truly is that Zimdalamashkermishkada finds the confidence to step boldly into his long name.

A warm and uplifting story that encourages young readers to celebrate their individuality, and shows how no-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in. Written by Sandhya Parappukkaran, illustrated by Michelle Pereira and read by Leah Vandenberg. 

Colour Me

If I was red I'd be as dazzling as the rising sun.

And I'd stride across the snow with fearless foxes.

If I was orange I'd be as wild as the flickering fire.

And I'd dash through the bush with daring dingoes.

We are all different. But together we colour our world amazing.

Using the rainbow as a metaphor for our diversity and uniqueness, First Nations author Ezekiel Kwaymullina joins forces with award-winning illustrator Moira Court in this gorgeous story, Colour Me. 

Luminous screen prints and evocative prose celebrate every individual colour as well as the power of their combination. Read by Ellen van Neerven. 

Wide Big World

Difference is everywhere, just look and see. 

This whole-wide-big-world is wondrous-unique.

A gorgeous story about our diverse and wonderful world from award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke and illustrator Isobel Knowles. Read by Erin Wamala. 

Explore more stories celebrating diversity on Story Box Library.