Wow, what a difference a few years can make. The number of multicultural children’s books continues to grow each year and there are some amazing titles that need to be on your read aloud bookshelf.
We even have a day each year when we celebrate all the amazing multicultural children’s books published. It’s called Multicultural Children’s Book Day and there is a website devoted to the day.
What are some of the best multicultural books out there for young children? I’ve collected some of the best of the best for you.
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Before we get to the book lists, let’s take a look at some important questions about multicultural books.
What is a Multicultural Book?
Multicultural books feature characters of various colors or ethnicity. They may share various beliefs or customs of a particular culture.
We also think of multicultural books that are written or illustrated by a person sharing their diversity.
Luckily, we are starting to see more and more diversity in the books published by many publishers and those who write them.
Why Are Multicultural Children’s Books Important?
“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.” by Rudine Sims Bishop
Kids need to see themselves in books. This is often referred to as books being mirrors. AND, kids need to see that the world is full of wonderful people who come from a variety of backgrounds. This is often to as books being windows.
Our shelves should be filled with books where kids can see themselves and the diversity of the world. The book lists below will help you find some great books to share.
Multicultural Books for Babies
One of my top picks:
I adore this series from The Global Fund for Children. Global Babies is one of my favorites. The photographs are amazing and the brief text includes the country that the child is from on each page. There is also Global Baby Girls and Global Baby Boys.
This Multicultural Books for Babies list that is full of photographs of babies from around the world.
Multicultural Books for Toddlers
One of my top picks:
Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke is a story of a Mama who takes baby to a Nigerian market for groceries. There are so many sights to be had. Plus, a little math along the way.
Check out this list of Best Multicultural Books for Toddlers that is full of board books and short read-aloud picture books.
Multicultural Books for Preschoolers
A few of my top picks:
Every classroom should start with this community builder read- aloud. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold newer picture book that weaves the repetitive line, “All are welcome.” throughout the book.
Some things are the same and some things are different when you visit or live in different places.
InSaffron Ice Cream by Rahsin kids learn about the common pleasures of swimming and enjoying ice cream in two different parts of the world- Iran and Brooklyn, NY.
No matter what your race, religion, or background you are welcome at school. I especially love that we just don’t see kids in the school but families too. I’m a huge advocate of making families feel welcome at school.
Our kiddos need to see themselves in books. The Multicultural Books for Preschoolers and More Multicultural Books for Kids book lists will help you pull in more books featuring characters who look like our kids.
How To Choose Multicultural Children’s Books
I share the best of the best as I find them so be sure to follow me on Instagram to see them first. Follow Jodie on Instagram HERE.
You can also follow the hashtags: #ReadYourWorld or #WeNeedDiverseBooks.
Check out these other ideas for finding more books.—>Resources for Finding Multicultural Children’s Books.
Welcome to our 6th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Here’s how to celebrate:
- Link up your diversity book reviews HERE.
- Join us tonight at our 6th annual Twitter Party! Follow @McChildsBookDay to join in on the diverse book discussions, discover new titles and authors and for a chance to win one of our twelve book bundles. Party time is 9 pm to 10 pm EST. RSVP here. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld.
- Get your copy of our diverse kidlit book recommend-packed ebook, Read Your World: A Guide to Multicultural Children’s Books for Parents and Educators. It’s FREE today through January 31st!
- We want to extend a huge THANK YOU to all of the Sponsors, Authors, Publishers, Organizations, Book Reviewers, Book Donators, Parents, Caregivers, Educators and Librarians who devote their time and energy to helping us to achieve our mission of getting multicultural children’s and YA books into the hands of readers. We appreciate you!
Hopefully, these book ideas inspire you to fill your shelves with multicultural titles for kids.