Multicultural Books for Children: 60+ Book Lists

I was dismayed to discover that the number of multicultural books published hasn’t increased during the last 18 years despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color.

diversity books for kids, multicultural books for kids

This graphic is from Lee and Low publishers.

I have posted a large number of book lists for kids focusing on multicultural books (some my own creations but others that I’ve happily discovered) but I know that my search capability in my blog is not that great. I am organizing them all here in hopes that more people will read multicultural children’s books. Hopefully this will spark an interest that will lead to more books depicting people of color being published.

For all of my book lists, please see List of Lists: All My Book Lists (300+)

Diversity Books for Children: 60+ Book Lists

I’ve broken down my multicultural lists by:

  • Multicultural Book Lists for Kids (a catch-all for those lists that don’t fit the categories below)
  • Civil Rights Movement Books for Kids
  • Asian American Books for Kids with subcategories
  • Korean American Books for Kids
  • Japanese American Books for Kids
  • Chinese American Books for Kids
  • Southeast Asian Books for Kids
  • Native American Books for Kids
  • Hispanic American Books for Kids
  • Arab American Books for Kids
  • LGBTQ Books for Kids

Modern Immigration and the Refugee Experience

50 Must Read Diversity Picture Books

Homelessness in Children’s Books

Special Needs Books for Kids

Chapter Book Series Starring Diverse Girl Characters

Picture Books to Teach Gratitude

Top 10 Diverse Superhero Books

10 Picture Books About Africa to Teach Empathy

Top 1o Favorite Diversity Books For Kids By Kids

Top 10 Multicultural Books for Kids ages 2-14

Books for Kids About Cambodia

Top 10 Multicultural Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

It was surprisingly hard to find board books with diversity and inclusive themes.

Top 10 Best Multicultural Easy Readers

I searched my public library for the best diversity easy readers.

Best Multicultural Chapter Books

These book are from the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society Award, for middle grade readers ages 8 and up.

10 Amazing Multicultural Picture Books About Helping Others

I hope these picture books inspire readers about the power of one … just one person can do amazing things!

Best Multicultural Picture Books

These are the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society picture books.

17 Wonderful Multicultural Picture Books About Food

My favorite way to learn about new cultures is through food. Explore with me as we read (and eat as recipes are linked) around the world!

5 Amazing Diversity Read Alouds

These are some of my very favorite diversity chapter books that I hope can read with your kids too!

Multicultural Adoption Books for Kids

5 Feel-Good Picture Books About Africa

These five books show different perspectives from the story of young Masaii girl who wants to touch the moon to visiting family in Tanzania and The Gambia.

Top 10 Multicultural Dance Picture Books for Kids

May all dancers of color be inspired to reach for their dreams with this book list.

Top 50: Best Multicultural Children’s Books

This was a great list that covered many ethnicities and is categorized by genre.

5 Amazing Diversity Read Alouds

These are some of my very favorite diversity chapter books that I hope can read with your kids too!

Top 10: Best World Religion Children’s Books

We are “homeschooling” world religion since we don’t go to church.

Chapter Books to Support 4th Grade or 5th Grade Immigration Unit

Our elementary school does an immigration unit using these chapter books. I’ve also added a few newly published books as well.

Children’s Africana Book Award

Africa Access was founded in 1989 to help schools, public libraries, and parents improve the quality of their K-12 collections on Africa.

Great Biographies from Author Paula Yoo

I hope this list inspires children, parents and teachers to visit their local libraries and explore the biography bookshelves! I’ve also included many biographies below featuring diverse historical characters.

Multicultural Soccer Books for Kids

View soccer as it’s played around the world through the eyes of these picture books.

Best Multicultural Chapter Books

Best Multicultural YA Books

These are the Young Adult books from the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society.

Best Multicultural YA Books for Teens

I’m new to YA so I was excited to discover this great list.

Top 10: Best World Religion Children’s Books

We are “homeschooling” world religion since we don’t go to church.

25 Diversity Authors and Illustrators for Kids Spotlighted


Civil Rights Movement Books for Kids

My kids study the The Civil Rights Movement in the United States in 4th grade and I’m pleased to see a handful of important and often, award-winning, picture books, chapter books and Young Adult books published each year.

Black History Month with Carole Boston Weatherford

Civil Rights Movement Through Art and Books for Kids

HARLEM: Found Ways art exhibit and Children’s Books Reflecting Harlem

Civil Rights Movement Books for 4th Grade

Top 10: Best Children’s Books On Civil Rights Movement

This list covers picture books, chapter books and young adult.

Top 10: Best African-American Picture Books (ages 4-12)

If you read these picture books in order, it gives an overview of the African-American experience historically starting from slavery to the present day.

Ruby Bridges and Picture Book As Fast as Words Could Fly

Meeting Ruby Bridges was a thrill for me and further reinforced how important it is for kids to learn about the Civil Rights Movement.

Young Booker T. Washington: Fifty Cents and a Dream.

An advanced picture book that paints a portrait of Booker T. Washington as a determined young boy.

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr with Three Books 

If you just want a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement for young children, try these three books: two picture books and a chapter book.

2010 Africana Awards for Best Children’s Literature


5th Grade Social Studies And How to Make It Interesting

I have a section in this post about the Civil Rights Movement.

Black History Month Books for Kids and Teens

5th Grade Slavery Unit Books


Asian American Books for Kids

One of the most exciting things for me about blogging was discovering Asian American books for kids. This genre was just starting to emerge a few years ago when I started blogging. Growing up, I read extensively but I never found books that were like me — an Asian American 2nd and 3rd generation girl living in the suburbs. I’m thrilled to find that this is no longer the case.


Recognizing Children’s Books for AAPI Heritage Month (a huge list)

3 Amazing Wordless Picture Books

I love these wordless picture books by Asian and Asian American authors/illustrators so much that I made videos of them on my Instagram.

Top 10: Best Asian American Books by CoolAsianKids

CoolAsianKids made a wonderful list of their favorite Asian American KidLit.

Asian in America (Amy Chua, new Asian KidLit, dumpling recipe!)

These recently published books show the new diversity of Asian American KidLit as well as the high quality of this genre.

APALA Awards for Best Asian American Children’s Books 2013

The Asian Pacific American Libraries Association has announced their 2013 literature award winners.

Exploring Vietnam: Culture and KitLit

I created a series of posts a while back that I called Teach Me Tuesday. I wanted to explore a country using children’s books as well as different elements of their culture from art to food to artisans. This was the first post I did of this series on Vietnam (and my best one!).  The Teach Me Tuesday series is here.

Sri Lanka with Kids Books, Recipe and Design

A friend from Sri Lanka gave me a recipe that he loved as a child and this sparked this post. Finding the books is always the toughest part for me.

Exploring Laos with Books for Kids, Culture and Art

The more I learned about Laos, the more I want to go to this mysterious, beautiful and tragic country.

Bangladesh: Culture, Alpanas, Children’s Books, Recipe and More!



Korean American Books for Kids

I’m half Chinese and Japanese and I married a Korean. My first multicultural book lists were on these three ethnicities as a way to show my children their heritage. The Korean American culture is so strong in America that this first post went viral.

15 Great Korean Folk Tales

Top 10: Korean American Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

This is the first post of mine ever to go viral.

Discovering Korea for Kids with Kids’ Books, Art and Food

I wanted to learn more about my husband’s family history so this is a very personal journey of discovery.

Korean-American Picture Book Teaches Multicultural Lesson

I don’t often do individual book reviews but finding this great Asian American book at the library made me want to post on it.


Japanese American Books for Kids

Japanese Internment Books for Kids

Learning About Japan Picture Books for Kids

For your young ninja, books to learn about Japan.

Connecting Science and Art: Hokusai’s The Great Wave

It’s amazing how a single piece of art can have a ripple effect, inspiring others all around the world and for many generations.

In Memory of Hiroshima Bombing Books and Crane Origami for Kids

Top 10: Japanese American Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

WWII Internment seems to dominate Japanese American books for kids. I agree that it is an important lesson in history — my own mother was forced to relocate but I also hunger for books that explore other facets of being Japanese American.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite!

Kite flying is an important ritual in Asia and I’ve rounded up every great kite flying book thanks to a little help from my friends and readers.

Best BiLingual Japanese Books for Kids

This was my response to a reader request.

Japan: Books for Kids on Shogun, Family Crests, Block Prints

I explore my own Japanese history in this post.

Japanese American Post Internment Story: Journey Home (ages 8-12)

These older books explore the Japanese American internment experience during WWII, a shameful chapter in America’s history.


Chinese American Books For Kids

There is such a diveristy of Chinese American books for kids from philosophy, culture and contemporary times.

Chinese New Year Picture Books INSTEAD of Tiki Tiki Tembo

Top 10: Chinese American Children’s Books (ages 2-14)

I wanted to show the breadth and depth of Chinese American books for kids. These were our favorites.


Top 10: Best Chinese New Year Books for Kids

I never had a great Chinese New Year picture book despite always doing a Chinese New Year presentation for my children’s preschool so I was determined to upgrade!

4th of July Picture Books with an Asian Twist

Fourth of July from a Chinese American immigrant’s perspective via picture books. Yep, this is what I blog about!

Grace Lin’s Latest Chapter Book is Her Best Ever!

I’m a huge fan of Grace Lin. I consider her the Amy Tan of children’s literature.

Grace Lin’s Dumpling Days: Delicious as Always!

I love the Pacy series which is based on Grace Lin’s life. This chapter book about her trip to Taiwan actually covers several of Lin’s own summer vacations.

Grace Lin Book Club for Kids

Grace’s favorite books growing up!

Asian American Chapter Book for Girls

Lisa Yee portrays the dilemnas of modern day Asian American kids caught between assimilation and Tiger parents.

Percy Jackson + Chinese Mythology = The Monkey King’s Daughter

A Chiense mythology action adventure series.


Southeast Asian Books for Kids

Southeast Asian culture and books are foreign to me too so I wanted to learn more.

Top 10: Best Southeast Asian American Children’s Books (ages 2-14)

It was sad to find that most of the books on this list were out of print. There are some great ones lately but with such a large population of Southeast Asian Americans, I’m hoping more books in this genre will be published.

4th Grade Skype Author Visit: Sheela Chari of Vanished

Sheela Chari’s debut mystery chapter book is award winning!

Native American Books For Kids

My first list was critized by Debbie Reese, the premient scholar on this topic, for including books that she did not feel accurately depicted the Native Americans. My response was to repost her great lists!

Contemporary Native Americans in KidLit

Do kids think that Native Americans are only the past? This list will hopefully change that!

Plimoth Plantation: Learning About Native Americans

What to read when preparing for a visit to Plimoth Plantation.

Top 10: Native American Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

This is the list I made.

Top 10: Best Native American Middle School Books

Debbie Reese’s list for middle grade chapter books.

Top 10: Best Native American Picture Book

Debbie Reese’s list for picture books.

Top 10: Best Native American Young Adult Books

Debbie Reese’s list of YA books is very popular.

Notable Native American Children’s Author: Joseph Bruchac

I am a huge fan of Joseph Bruchac, a happy discovery from chatting with my librarian when creating my list.

The Navajo Code Talkers of WWII

The author of this advanced picture book lives one town over!

Hispanic American Books for Kids

Best Bilingual Spanish Picture Books

Top 10 Hispanic American Heritage Books for Kids

Top 10 Bilingual Spanish Books for Kids

My guest author Derek Taylor Kent comes up with his list for best bilingual Spanish picture books for kids.

Top 10: Best Latino American Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

I’m noticing some great Hispanic American KidLit lately across all children’s book genres!

The Américas Award

Hispanic American Books for Kids: Link Round Up

I’m doing a round-up of Hispanic books for kids of all ages, from picture books to young adult.


Arab American Books for Kids

18 Wonderful Picture Books about the Arab World

This is my collection of the best picture books I’ve read so far about the Arab world.

27 Books for Kids About the Arab World

Top 10: Middle Eastern American Children’s Books

Middle East Outreach Council Award

How To: Teach Your Children About Islam (and tolerance in the process!)

In the wake of the conflicts in the Middle East, I thought it especially important for kids to learn about Islam and the people of the Middle East which might also teach them tolerance in the process. There is so much negative stereotyping during a war that can color a child’s perspective.

Life in Afghanistan for Girls

Deborah Ellis’s Parvana series shows a realistic view of what life is like in Afghanistan for girls today. It’s heartbreaking but also so important.

The Pharoah’s Secret at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts

Chapter book The Pharoah’s Secret by Marissa Moss discovered in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Did I find Senenmut, Hatshepsut’s love there?!

LBGTQ Books for Kids

10 Groundbreaking LGBTQ Children’s Books

Understanding Transgender with LGBTQ Books for Kids

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

best multicultural books for kids, best multicultural books for children, multicultural picture books, multicultural chapter books, multicultural YAI am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.


Inspiration Laboratories

More diverse, multicultural, and inclusive book lists and book reviews from KidLit bloggers here on my Pinterest board:


  1. As always I love your lists. I too was stunned when I saw these statistics come out. Thanks for doing something incredible about it.
    Valarie recently posted…The A-Z Summer Reading Tree: 26 Ways To Encourage Reading This SummerMy Profile

  2. Great list!

    I would love for you to link up at the Mommy Archive – we’re focusing this week on favourite children’s books , Alice x
    Alice ( recently posted…Empty Your Archive – #12My Profile

  3. Wow, Mia you have been busy! I am really shocked that so many of these books are out of print. Hardly any of these books were available to teachers and children in the large multicultural population of the school in which I recently worked.

    • Hi Barbara,
      I actually just did a round up of my multicultural book lists from the past 3 years of blogging. I have quite a few, apparently [blushes]. Yes, so many of the books are out of print but usually a public library can request it from their network. For a school library, that is tougher. Sometimes teachers (and parents) will check out books from the public library for use in the classroom.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Developing Kids Self Esteem: 4 Surefire WaysMy Profile

  4. This is an amazing resource list! You are an inspiration! Sharing!
    Jennifer Fischer recently posted…{Kid’s Co-Op} Let’s Pretend: 5 Play Activities that Encourage Imaginative PlayMy Profile

  5. This is a tremendous resource! Thank you for sharing at the Culture Swapper!
    Leanna recently posted…World Citizen Wednesdays #34: Global Kids Beat the HeatMy Profile

  6. shelly

    Have you read The Wakame Gathers? It is a family favorite of ours. Love your lists! Thanks.

  7. Don’t buy those stats. Why? Because they are looking at books available from MAJOR publishers (owned by whites, risk-averse, only want to do biz with their own kind, etc) whereas the unique, multicultural, bilingual books you keep reading don’t exist DO exist! They are published by smaller publishing houses like mine.

    A School Library Journal article where librarians are interviewed offers other reasons why this so called news is not really. I wanted to share URL here but not allowed to do so. Here’s title so you can find it yourself: “Librarians Sound Off: Not a Lack of Latino Lit for Kids, but a Lack of Awareness.”

    We are the creators of the 1st bilingual children’s book about why mommies and women serve in our military. “Good Night Captain Mama / Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá”, ISBN: 978-0-9834760-3-0, debuted on the 3 Amazon bestseller lists in July.

    Keep publishing these lists please. They are important!

    Graciela Tiscareno-Sato
    U.S. Air Force veteran

  8. Thank you for the reply. My concern is how this “news” is reported and how the impression is created that the books do not exist. If headline was that the number of books published by white male dominant risk-averse publishing houses has not increased, then it would be accurate. 🙂 See, their idea of a multicultural book is to take a 50 year-old Curious George book and make it available in Spanish. Then, Scholastic distributes it and the good old boys club makes more millions of dollars. Meanwhile, no new actual multicultural literature got added to the mix, because they rarely if ever sign “unknown” ethnic authors, and if they do, NY Times won’t review. Google “An open letter to The New York Times” to read that one in the Huffington Post. 🙂 It’s complicated, so we must stay noisy.


    • Hi Graciela,

      Is this the link?

      Why are 90% of the books reviewed by the New York Times Book Review from white authors? What’s going on behind the scenes to create such an unrepresentative body of reviews for an increasingly diverse nation of consumers? We know you receive almost 1000 books (and select only a couple dozen) each week, but 90% seems like an outrageously skewed percentage. Surely you’re receiving books written by authors from different ethnic groups with that many books coming in? What selection process do you have in place that ultimately limits your reviews to only 10% by non-white authors? Is this intentional? Is this unintentional? Have you given this any thought? Perhaps it’s time.

      Why so few reviews of books written by Latinos? We know there are many thousands such books written each year, in English (many others are written in Spanish.) Are they submitted to the Book Review per your guidelines? If they are (as mine was), are they simply ignored? Considered too niche-y? Does the obvious ethnic name on the cover turn off the staff? Is it disinterest, bias, review process, makeup of the reviewing team, what?

      Yes, I agree! We must stay noisy and help create this market so that it can not be ignored.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Monsters In the Closet Picture Books: The DarkMy Profile

  9. Linda Mitchell

    all of Meg Medina’s books for Latino Kid/YA Lit. Milagros: Girl from Away, Tia Isa Wants a Car, The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.

    all of Kekla Magoon’s books but especially: The Rock and the River, Camo Girl and Fire in the Streets

    Rita Garcia-Willams: PS Eleven

  10. Linda Mitchell

    and more books….this list is from mighty girls…..but see how many women athletes are non-wasp.

  11. Alex

    Hi there, just wanted to say that I love your reading lists! I always discover new and interesting books on them, so please keep up the good work! 🙂

  12. j.j. jones

    Hello i have a children’s book coming out in a couple weeks named flute tudor and thr secret order , The book is about a american boy wizard 400+ pg novel .Thats full of Chinese culture a 12 year old Chinese boy name Mao ziyang is in a fierce competition broom stick race .Flute tudor is taught martial arts by a citizen of China .Flute Tudors has a chinese american buddy and side kick name dr Bruce Cho who is 16 yrs old . Flute is born in the year of the dragon sofr backs are 18.99 and hard backs are 28.99 and ebooks are 8.99 go ti for more info

  13. Nicely done! Hi. I write children’s books in English, Spanish and French. Do you have any suggestions on how to market them?
    Rebecca Krusee recently posted…Life’s SetbacksMy Profile

  14. DC

    Hi! Thank you so much for this list, linked over from Erica at WDWDAD.
    Nitpicky request~ Your links are light blue, and especially as section headings they’re harder to see against a white background and in bright settings. Can that CSS be adjusted for something darker? (It looks GREAT in your comments when your background is black.)

  15. I can’t believe that there has been no change in that many years! Wow! We read a variety of books with children of all ages and races; especially when we’re studying history or geography but I try to encourage the boys to pick anything that interests them and not to limit themselves. Admittedly a lot of the books we read are about animals since I have nature lovers but not all of them are. Pinned to my book boards!
    Mother of 3 recently posted…The Things that Keep Me Up At NightMy Profile

  16. Your book lists are indeed a fantastic resource, Mia, and it’s great to have them collated here. The publishing figures do make depressing reading but I do believe the tide is turning – and there’s one thing for sure: generally books that encompass diversity (maybe because of their extra-tough road to publication, and that’s another point for discussion…) – they are quality books and they have durability.
    Marjorie (MWD) recently posted…Painting with Rainbows – A Michael Foreman Exhibition at Seven StoriesMy Profile

  17. What an amazing resource! I’m pinning this for future reference. Thanks for sharing (and co-hosting!) at #diversekidlit!

  18. I can only imagine how many hours it took you to create these lists, but the teachers/readers of the world are paying a nod of thanks to you. This is a great post! Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks so much Ricki,
      As a mom with Japanese/Chinese/Korean kids, it’s a labor of love. There weren’t ANY books with Asian American characters in them when I grew up so I’m thrilled to support the authors and illustrators that write them now!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…My Blogging Journey at Year 7My Profile

  19. What an amazing round-up thank you! I’ve been looking for diverse books to share with my children and include in our #366booksin366days reading challenge. Also I’ve just finished reading Wonder myself and cannot recommend it enough 🙂 #diversekidlit

    • Hi Kate,
      Yay! I’m so happy that you are looking for more diversity books! The three short stories by R J Palacio that accompany Wonder are amazing too. The Julian story is my favorite. It’s now a hardcover book but you can also buy each story as an eBook which is what we did.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…My Blogging Journey at Year 7My Profile

  20. Here’s the news release about my NEW bilingual (English/Spanish) children’s picture book (“Captain Mama’s Surprise”), just named a finalist in the “Most Inspirational Children’s Book” category for the upcoming ILBA. I’m blessed to be one of the few Latinas who have served as Air Force officers and aviators. I believe it’s time you and your children/students see women of color up in the flight deck flying the jet in children’s literature, just like it happens every day in the real U.S. Air Force! #GenderEquity #aviation and #STEM themes together in one book series? You bet!
    I’m booking school visits (in person and via Skype) for Hispanic Heritage Month, Veterans Day and Women’s History Month too. Please email me at Enjoy the news release and please do share with a teacher or librarian. “Captain Mama’s Surprise” went into national distribution (hardcover and paperback) just a couple of days ago!

    Visit Capitalwirepr dot com – (Title: Latina Veteran Publisher Releases Second Bilingual Aviation Children’s Book)

  21. Stacie

    Thank you so, so incredibly much for this post and your amazing lists. I’m a Korean adoptee and now that I have children myself, I’ve noticed even more than usual how few books there are that have diverse people, let alone anyone of Asian heritage. I’ve been struggling to try and find some that don’t revolve around the Chinese New Year and this is so helpful!!

  22. July 31, 2017

    A children’s book with a dark-skinned main character and role model

    Noting a general lack of dark-skinned main characters and role models in children’s books, one adoptive mother decided to write a book of her own with her daughter as the main character. The e-book ”Siri, Superhjälten och guldringen” topped e-book sales in Sweden for the first five months after its release. And now it’s available in English!

    The story and idea behind the book “Siri, the Superhero and the Gold Ring” originated from author Katarina de Verdier’s own experiences as mother to her Kenya-born adopted daughter Siri. As Siri was growing up, Katarina gained insight into and growing awareness of the fact that the norms of Swedish society do not view everyone equally. Stretching from characters in children’s books to who we see in leading positions in the labour market, a general picture emerges that society is solely made up of majority Swedes. This is why she decided to publish a book in which her own daughter plays the main character.

    “I want to give my daughter a role model in the form of a main character that she can identify with. The book is based on our family’s own experiences, spiced with some added superhero tendencies,” says Katarina.

    The illustrations in the book play an important role and the aim of the pictures is to reflect the reality in which we live and that families can look different.

    “Skin color is not commented on directly in the book, but rather is visible in the illustrations. I want to show the beauty of brown skin and that it is something to be proud of. I also want to show the large, wealthy class of Kenyans who live just like us, eat ice-cream, drive cars and jump on bouncy castles,” says Katarina.

    With no publishing deal in sight, Katarina chose to issue the book herself as an e-book. After topping Sweden’s e-book sales for five months, she decided to publish a printed version. And now the e-book is also available in English. Katarina hopes that the book industry will dare to move outside its own norms in the future.

    “Now I want as many people as possible to read the book and that we together strive to change both the range of books on offer as well as society’s norms. This is what drives me,” says Katarina.

    To read more about the book, go to Amazon.

    The book is published in collaboration with MeR Barnkultur, a non-profit association.

  23. We love books lists! It gives us a great place to get information for choosing books to read before a trip. We travel with the kids and want them to learn about cultures from our destinations because we are a global society AND we are all more alike than we are different. I have created a few books lists on destinations like San Francisco, Spain, etc. – great resources for travelers.

    You can never have too much information!
    The Educational Tourist recently posted…Kids Books Set in SpainMy Profile

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