Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book got together to raise awareness about this day, and I am so glad they did! Look at the pictures in the books on your local library shelves, and you will likely find that there is very little diversity! One of my favorite things about being an American is that people move here from all over the world – and most US citizens can trace their heritage back to at least one country outside of the United States. Just as growing up around the world enriched my life, my children’s lives are enriched by going to a school here in California where their classmates come from all over the world and speak all sorts of different languages. Multicultural children’s books can help my kids understand cultures and traditions that are different from our own; they are also a lot of fun to read! In honor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, I’m sharing a few of our favorite multicultural books here today:
Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman is a favorite of Emma’s – and I love that there are many ways to be a princess. This book is part of a series, and we have enjoyed all of the ones we have read, Amazing Grace being another favorite.
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is an African Tale told by John Steptoe that my mother picked up at a book sale when I was a child. I loved this tale of outward and inward beauty as a child, and was thrilled to find a copy for our library.
Allen Say’s Tree of Cranes captures perfectly the caught between worlds aspect of growing up in a multicultural family – and that that between-worlds space can be a beautiful place. I found this story through Erica’s delightful What Do We Do All Day? blog – one of my favorite sources of picture book recommendations along with Mia’s blog. The book takes place at Christmas time, but I think it’s a great read any time of year.
Whoever You Are, written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Leslie Staub (also available in Spanish), is the best diversity-themed book I’ve seen. Emma loved this book so much when she was two that she learned to recite it from memory. I love the book’s message that, while we may be different from one another in many ways, we are all the same where it really matters: in joy, love, pain, tears, smiles, and hearts.
Here are some great recommendations from other sites, if you are looking to build your library:
- Multicultural children’s book linky at Pragmatic Mom
- Multicultural picture books at Goodreads
- How to choose the best multicultural books from Scholastic
- USBBY Outstanding International Books (OIB) List from United States Board on Books for Young People
- 27 Multicultural Books for Kids from No Time for Flash Cards
- 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Multicultural Children’s Books and Multicultural Folktales from What Do We Do All Day?
- Kids Books You Wanna Check Out from Scooping it up
What are your favorite multicultural books for kids?