Inside: Celebrate diversity and culture with this vast collection of multicultural books for children! Includes 60+ book lists, from toddlers through big kids.
I was dismayed to discover that the number of multicultural books for children that have been published hasn’t increased during the last 18 years. All this is despite census data showing 37% of the US population consists of people of color.
This graphic is from Lee and Low publishers.
I have posted a large number of book lists focusing on multicultural books for children (some my own creations but others that I’ve happily discovered).
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. Moreover, if you are an essay writer who needs materials to write something on multi-culture topics, this list will be a great source.
If you want to deepen your kid’s absorption of multicultural reading, then custom bookmarks and stickers would be a great choice as memory keepers and reminders. You can customize them aligned with any highlighted themes, events, and ideas in the books. Create more fun while reading. Furthermore, if you are a bookstore owner, go with some customized bookmarks and stickers with your store logo as promotional gifts, which is a great support to multiculturalism as well.
For all of my book lists, please see List of Lists: All My Book Lists (300+)
Multicultural 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
Multicultural Book Lists for Kids
Africa Access was founded in 1989 to help schools, public libraries, and parents improve the quality of their K-12 collections on Africa.
It was surprisingly hard to find board books with diversity and inclusive themes.
I searched my public library for the best diversity easy readers.
These books are from the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society Award, for middle grade readers ages 8 and up.
I hope these picture books inspire readers about the power of one … just one person can do amazing things!
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!
These are some of my very favorite diversity chapter books that I hope can read with your kids too!
These five books show different perspectives from the story of a young Masaii girl who wants to touch the moon to visiting family in Tanzania and The Gambia.
May all dancers of color be inspired to reach for their dreams with this book list.
This covers many ethnicities and is categorized by genre.
We are “homeschooling” world religion.
Our elementary school does an immigration unit using these chapter books. I’ve also added a few newly published books as well.
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.
View soccer as it’s played around the world through the eyes of these picture books.
These are the Young Adult books from the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society.
I’m new to YA so I was excited to discover this great list.
Civil Rights Movement Books for Kids
My kids study 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.
This list covers picture books, chapter books, and young adult.
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.
Meeting Ruby Bridges was a thrill for me and further reinforced how important it is for kids to learn about the Civil Rights Movement.
An advanced picture book that paints a portrait of Booker T. Washington as a determined young boy.
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.
I have a section in this post about the Civil Rights Movement.
Black History Month Books for Kids and Teens
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)
I love these wordless picture books by Asian and Asian American authors/illustrators so much that I made videos of them on my Instagram.
CoolAsianKids made a wonderful list of their favorite Asian American KidLit.
These recently published books show the new diversity of Asian American KidLit as well as the high quality of this genre.
The Asian Pacific American Libraries Association has announced their 2013 literature award winners.
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.
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.
The more I learned about Laos, the more I want to go to this mysterious, beautiful and tragic country.
Korean American Books for Kids
I’m half Chinese and Japanese and I married a Korean. My first lists of multicultural books for children 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.
I wanted to learn more about my husband’s family history so this is a very personal journey of discovery.
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
For your young ninja, books to learn about Japan.
It’s amazing how a single piece of art can have a ripple effect, inspiring others all around the world and for many generations.
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.
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.
This was my response to a reader request.
I explore my own Japanese history in this post.
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 diversity of Chinese American books for kids from philosophy, culture and contemporary times.
I wanted to show the breadth and depth of Chinese American books for kids. These were our favorites.
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!
Fourth of July from a Chinese American immigrant’s perspective via picture books. Yep, this is what I blog about!
I’m a huge fan of Grace Lin. I consider her the Amy Tan of children’s literature.
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’s favorite books growing up!
Lisa Yee portrays the dilemmas of modern day Asian American kids caught between assimilation and Tiger parents.
A Chinese 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.
Sheela Chari’s debut mystery chapter book is award winning!
Native American Books For Kids
My first list was criticized by Debbie Reese, the preeminent 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!
Do kids think that Native Americans are only the past? This list will hopefully change that!
What to read when preparing for a visit to Plimoth Plantation.
This is the list I made.
Debbie Reese’s list for middle-grade chapter books.
Debbie Reese’s list for picture books.
Debbie Reese’s list of YA books is very popular.
I am a huge fan of Joseph Bruchac, a happy discovery from chatting with my librarian when creating my list.
The author of this advanced picture book lives one town over!
Hispanic American Books for Kids
My guest author Derek Taylor Kent comes up with his list for best bilingual Spanish picture books for kids.
I’m noticing some great Hispanic American KidLit lately across all children’s book genres!
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
This is my collection of the best picture books I’ve read so far about the Arab world.
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.
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.
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
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More lists and reviews of diverse, inclusive, and multicultural books for children from KidLit bloggers here on my Pinterest board:
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.