Multicultural books for preschoolers or multicultural books for kids in general, have recently been getting a lot of attention and rightly so.
Scan your own bookshelves, how many multicultural books can you count? If you were like me, not enough!
Though the choices in multicultural books are growing, publishers still have bigger strides to make. I find that I have to be very intentional in seeking out great multicultural books to fill our shelves.
To make your life easier, I’ve created a list of some of our favorite titles for preschoolers. Let’s start exploring.
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Gracias~Thanks by Pat Mora uses simple English and Spanish text to explain being grateful for things during the day from dawn until dusk. This is a wonderful book to introduce the idea of gratitude journals with kids.
Of all the books on this list, the illustrations in this one rank at the top for me. In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van begins with a Vietnamese fisherman on a boat thinking about his home. Each page zooms in closer to his home where we find his wife in the kitchen all the way to a cricket in a whole in the wall. There is just as much to explore in the illustrations as there is within the words.
Red is a Dragon by Roseanne Thong not only exposes kids to colors but also learning about the Chinese-American culture.
Another book about colors but themed around a Hispanic culture is award winning, Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield. It’s a very rhythmic read and the illustrations are vibrant and engaging.
One of my son’s all-time favorite books is Bee-Bim-Bopby Linda Sue Park. The rhythmic text makes it a perfect read-aloud book. A Korean family busily preps for dinner together. It’s all about food AND family. And, you have to try the recipe included in the book. It’s fantastic!
Rainbow Stew has appeared on Growing Book by Book before. I love it. In fact, I’m featuring it in my new e-book, Read, Create & Share. An African-American family ventures out into the wet garden with grandpa to pick produce for the vegetable stew. It’s great for teaching kids about gardening, healthy eating and color recognition. Plus, there is a recipe included to do some cooking with your preschooler.
All children should see themselves in books. I’m always amazed at the patience African-American little ones need to display when they have their hair done. Kids will truly see themselves in I Love My Hairby Natasha Anastasia Tarpley.
The Color of Us by Karen Katz is the story of a little girl who wants to paint a picture of herself. After a walk through the neighborhood with her mom, she discovers that there are lots of different shades of color in the people that she meets. We are all people, but we are each unique is the overriding theme.
I’m always a softie for books about books. Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter is about a man that travels on his two burros named Alfa and Beto through the Colombian hills bringing books to people in small villages. One warning…there was one page that I felt was out of place and not really needed. While the man is traveling, he encounters a bandit with a gun. The bandit ends up taking a book since the man doesn’t have money. My boys were a bit surprised by the gun and we had to spend a great deal of time talking about it. The book is based on a true story.
Also based on a true story, Armando and the Blue Tarp School by Fine and Josephson is an inspiring and heartwarming story. A man visits Mexico each summer teaching the children that live at the dump on a blue tarp. After a newspaper article is written on the story, someone donates money for a school to built. 30 years later the man is still involved in the school and educating the children in poverty. Authors’ note includes real photographs of David Lynch and his work.
This list doesn’t cover every culture, but it is a start. I’d love to hear what multicultural books you think every preschooler should enjoy.