This is a really great multicultural/diversity/inclusion book list for kids: 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society Award. I haven’t read them all so I’ll use book jacket blurbs with age range to make this list more helpful for parents and teachers looking for books for kids.
I am splitting this list into three parts. Today I will cover Notable Books for a Global Society — picture books. For the next Kid Lit Blog Hop, I’ll post the middle-grade books and finally, young adult on the following one.
Best Multicultural Picture Books for Kids
Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells his personal perspective of sharing his grandfather with the world and those special moments he very occasionally had alone with him. It’s not easy living up to what people expect as a grandson of Gandhi. Arun’s story personalizes how his grandfather gently guided not just him, but a nation in turmoil, with his non-violent message, but also how truly difficult it is to achieve, even for Mahatma! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pittman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, This Day In June welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Frank Morrison
I’d never heard of Melba Doretta and I’m always happy to discover a strong female role model for my girls. Melba was the first female American jazz trombonist, musical arranger, and composer to play in big bands during the 1940s and 1960s, along with more famous icons like Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, and Count Basie. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Qin Leng
Hana is just a beginner at violin but she signed up for the talent show anyway. Her older brothers laugh in derision. But Hana feels a connection to music because her grandfather in Japan — Ojichan — was a professional violinist and taught her that the sounds the violin makes can mimic nature. Hana is nervous the night of her performance; will her brothers turn out to be right? I’d gift this picture book to any child learning to play an instrument, particularly the violin! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & her family’s fight for desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
I grew up one town over from Westminister, California, and yet I never heard of Mendez v. Westminster, the desegregation case in California that preceded Brown v. Board. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California. This is an important story that is largely unknown despite the fact that California has a long history of racist laws. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamel Akib
If it weren’t for Muhammad Yunus (whom I had never heard of previous to this book), there would be no One Hen or Heifer International. The road to creating a banking microloan program was not easy, but Muhammad Yunus’ story shows how one person can make a difference in the world. I know it inspired my son with his powerful story! [picture book, ages 6 and up]
I have blog post with Paula Yoo’s favorite diversity biography picture books here.
Migrant by José Manuel Mateo, illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro
A Mexican boy tells of his journey to the U.S. with his family. They must face many dangers to cross the border, only to experience the uncertainty felt by all illegal immigrants. The narrative is accompanied by one long, beautifully vivid illustration reminiscent of pre-Hispanic codices, packaged as an accordion-style foldout frieze. [picture book, ages 8 and up]
p.s. Related posts:
17 Wonderful Multicultural Picture Books About Food
10 Amazing Multicultural Picture Books About Helping Others
Top 10 Multicultural Picture Books on Bullying
10 Multicultural Picture Books to Sing from Jbrary
Top 10: Multicultural Dance Picture Books
Picture Books Featuring Chinese Words
I’m Thrilled to be on Nerdacity Podcast for Multicultural Children’s Book Day
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
12 thoughts on “Best Multicultural Picture Books and Kid Lit Blog Hop”
Great selection. Loved Ghandi and Hana Hashimoto. Haven’t read Migrant or Melba. Thanks for the suggestions.
The Melba book is such a happy one!
Popping over from the link up. LOVE this list of books!
Thanks so much Erin!
Thanks for a great selection, Mia!
Thanks so much Catherine!
Great list of books you’ve put together Mia! A few people have recommended “Little Melba and Her Big Trombone” – that one looks so good. Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop!
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone is such an upbeat fun picture book biography! I love it and I’m glad that she’s finally getting some attention.
All of these books look great. Your reviews make me want to read them all.
Thanks so much Tiffiny! I hope you are able to locate a few of these at your library! If not, just request and perhaps they will add them to their buy list!
I did see your wonderful list a few days ago but it’s taken a while to sit down and really Blog Hop! This is a glorious feast of books!
Thanks so much Marjorie!