Thank you to Ronna Mandel (who also blogs at Good Reads with Ronna) for doing a story on me and Multicultural Children’s Book Day for JLife. This is the book list that I created for the article.
10 Multicultural Books To Read With Your Kids
1. It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
Todd Parr’s message of inclusion and acceptance is perfect for preschool and up. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
2. Never Say a Mean Word Again by Jacqueline Jules
Jewish poet Samuel Ha-Grid was the highest royal advisor in Muslim Granada, and this story references his wisdom in conflict resolution. It’s retold here through the eyes of two boys; one Muslim, one Jewish. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
3. The Journey by Francesca Sanna
The refugee experience is detailed in this moving picture book about a family escaping a war-torn country. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
4. Pancho Rabbit and Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh
This allegorical picture book shows the strength of migrant families as they face hardships trying to make a better life for themselves. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
5. Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey From Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Karen Clarkson
A single act of racism with a stone thrown ends with the loss of sight for a young Choctaw mother. Her attitude with dealing with trouble is “saltypie” or carrying on, a legacy she passes on to her children and grandchildren. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
6. Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
On Sunday afternoons, Congo Square offered a taste of freedom for African Americans, both enslaved and free, in New Orleans due to the Code Noir law. In rollicking rhyme, this picture book celebrates the legacy of Jazz that it birthed. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
7. The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco
Based on Polacco’s own life, her year at a new school in a classroom with special needs kids shows them all the limitless future they have. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
8. Paper Wishes by Lois Sephaban
Ten-year-old Manami tries to smuggle her dog into Manzanar, an internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII. When her dog gets taken away, she loses her voice too. Now Manami writes wishes on paper to get her dog back and put her family back together. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
9. Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager
Twelve-year-old Carolina meets her grandfather for the first time at his rundown ranch in the New Mexico desert. She is there with her family because his dementia is getting worse. But she discovers his stories about a magical oasis that bind him to this place also connects her to the Mexican roots she’s never wanted to claim. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
10. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Fans of Percy Jackson will find similarities in this chapter book set during the Middle Ages: humor, a diverse cast of characters (including a Jewish boy) with special powers, and wandering adventures to save the world against all odds. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
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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.
10 thoughts on “10 Multicultural Books For Kids Ages 2-14”
I’ve got to get my hands on Saltypie–have heard this recommended several times, and our library doesn’t have it.
So happy to see Paper Wishes here! 😉
I have to move both The Hour of the Bees & The Inquisitor’s Tale up on my ever-growing, seemingly unending to-read list.
Thank you, Mia & happy birthday!!
I wonder if you asked your librarian to purchase Saltypie if that would have an impact? Thanks so much for the birthday wishes!
I spot a couple favorites and several others that I need to read!
Yay! I hope your kids like them too!
Great list! I’ll try to find these books!
Thanks Erik! I hope you enjoy them too!
Being bi-racial, I have tried to find different ways to explain to my son (who looks nothing like me, mind you) who has Asperger’s, how and why it is just perfectly fine to be different! I think for him it is far more than just a skin deep difference. He is inherently different from his peers, it is one of the things we share and strengthens our mother-son bond. Thank you for this list!
It makes me so happy that it will help your son!!
Great selection of multicultural children’s books for different ages! It’s Okay To Be Different is one of our all-time favourites. Thanks for sharing! #ReadYourWorld
My oldest’s classmate’s mother introduced me to this book when she was in Kindergarten because they were a lesbian couple. My daughter is graduating from high school this year! It’s hard to believe that the book has been around for 13+ years.