Kindergarten multicultural books or multicultural books for kids in general have continued to gain more spots on publishers’ lists over the years. In fact, there are some publishers solely devoted to creating multicultural and diverse books. We still have a long way to go to include inclusive and diverse books for all children, but I’m liking the direction things are going. Children need to see themselves in books.
Scan your own bookshelves, how many multicultural books can you count?
I’ve created a list of some of our favorite read-aloud titles for kindergarteners. Of course, many titles would work for younger and older students too. This list just scratches the surface. Let’s start reading.
Multicultural Kindergarten Books
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I do realize that this list is heavy with female protagonists. I’m on the lookout for other protagonists, so if you know of any, please leave a comment below.
It’s Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival) in Japan. As the family prepares, the story of Tanabata is shared. At the festival, Keiko and Mama are separated from Oba. They find each other just in time to enjoy the fireworks exploding in the sky. Enjoy The Star Festival by Moni Ritchie Hadley.
From the creators of the amazing book, All Because You Matter, Tami Charles and Bryan Collier now bring us We Are Here. The legacy of many amazing Black people throughout history is celebrated in this beautiful picture book.
I love what Charles says in the author’s note, “We are here. We have always been here-influencing and contributing gifts to the world, for all to see and enjoy.”
Enjoy more books written or illustrated by Black people.—> Books by Black Authors and Illustrators
A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling is a beautiful celebration of food, family, and celebration. I’m totally smitten with the illustrations by Dung Ho. They are fabulous.
Ren’s family has gathered to prepare for Lunar New Year. Ren wants to help make her favorite pineapple cakes. A recipe is included for pineapple cakes which I’ll be making these real soon!
Harvest Days: Giving Thanks Around the World by Kate DePalma and Marina Peluso takes us around the world to see how people celebrate gratitude during the harvest seasons.
As the students prepare for Grandparent’s Day at school, Zura’s a bit nervous. Zura’s nana is from West Africa where her parents followed an old African tradition of marking a child’s face to show which tribal family they belonged to along with marking beauty and confidence. The marks are permanent. Zura doesn’t want anyone to laugh at her loved one at school. But, Nana has a plan and captivates the class with her honesty, positivity, understanding, and guidance. Read Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker and April Harrison.
Finding My Dance by Ria Thundercloud is about the role dance has played in Ria Thundercloud’s life including the ups and downs and staying connected to her home.
For more books written or illustrated by Native Americans, see this list.—> Books by Native Americans
Berry Song by Michelle Goade has gorgeous illustrations (including the endpapers) and poetic text taking us into the forest to berry pick with a grandmother and child and their many Tlingit ancestors. Backmatter includes a note about the author about the land of tléikw and the relationship we have with the land.
Kylie and Mama are getting ready to travel to Taiwan to visit Amah but all the newness takes a little getting used to in Amah Faraway by Margaret Chiu Greanias. But, after a bit of time in a new place, Kylie literally warms up to the new environment and begins to love her experience. I think many children will relate to the feelings Kylie has and how those feelings change with time.
A winter friendship tale told in two languages (Japanese and English) is what you’ll find in Words to Make a Friend by Donna Jo Napoli and Naoko Stoop. Nothing spurs a friendship like playing in the snow and that’s just what two girls do in this story. The illustrations make you feel like you are snug inside a warm coat right alongside these two children. They are absolutely beautiful. And, don’t miss the gorgeous endpapers.
In Amira’s Picture Day by Reem Faruqi we meet Amira. She is very excited to celebrate Eid with her family at the masjid but she realizes that it falls on the same day as picture day at her school. How can you be in two places at once? Well, a last-minute idea provides a solution.
In Salma The Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, Salma and her mom have recently moved to Vancouver and are missing Papa and home. When Salma’s mom is feeling down she decides to cheer her up by making a Syrian dish of foul shami. Salma is determined and willing to overcome challenges to make this special dish. She gathers the ingredients with some creative thinking and asks others to help her with the cooking project. And, in the end, she successfully brings joy to her mother and in the process meets a new community of friends to get to know.
Printable List of Multicultural Books for Kindergarteners
Grab a printable list of the books above. Just click the purple rectangle button below to download your copy.
More Multicultural Books for Children
I’ve created lots of book lists specifically centered on multicultural books and try to include diverse books in all my lists on different themes too. Here are some lists that you may enjoy in addition to the list of books above.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/22) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.
Ten years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.
MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!
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MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!
Authors: Sivan Hong, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Josh Funk , Stephanie M. Wildman, Gwen Jackson, Diana Huang, Afsaneh Moradian, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Eugenia Chu, Jacqueline Jules, Alejandra Domenzain, Gaia Cornwall, Ruth Spiro, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers Books, Kimberly Lee , Tameka Fryer Brown, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Jennie Liu, Heather Murphy Capps, Diane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John Coy, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, Maritza M Mejia, Lois Petren, J.C. Kato and J.C.², CultureGroove, Lindsey Rowe Parker, Red Comet Press, Shifa Saltagi Safadi, Nancy Tupper Ling, Deborah Acio, Asha Hagood, Priya Kumari, Chris Singleton, Padma Venkatraman, Teresa Robeson, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Martha Seif Simpson, Rochelle Melander, Alva Sachs, Moni Ritchie Hadley, Gea Meijering, Frances Díaz Evans, Michael Genhart, Angela H. Dale, Courtney Kelly, Queenbe Monyei, Jamia Wilson, Charnaie Gordon, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Debbie Zapata, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Natasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik
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Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!
📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day
- MCBD 2023 Poster
- Mental Health Support for Stressful Times Classroom Kit
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- Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit
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- Gallery of Our Free Posters
- FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program
📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party
Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!
This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.
We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **
Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!