Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know

A selection of multicultural books and literature resources for children and older readers | 1 min read

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The Cooperative Children's Book Center defines "multicultural" literature as books by and about people of colour and First / Native Nations individuals: African and African Americans, American Indians, Asian / Pacific and Asian Pacific Americans, and Latinos. This listing introduces 50 essential books and a range of authors and illustrators for children. 

Interested in multicultural literature for older readers? Check the 30 Multicultural Books Every Teen Should Know. Some books on that list will be suitable for older children. Other CCBC multicultural literature resources and links. Select the underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and / or the cover image. 

Complete list of CCBC bibliographies.


    Ada, Alma Flor. I Love Saturdays y domingos. Illustrated by Elivia Savadier. Atheneum, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8 Cumpiano, Ina. Quinito's Neighborhood = El Vecindario de Quinito. Illustrated by José Ramírez. Children's Book Press, 2005. 22 pages. Ages 3-5 Flett, Julie. Wild Berries. Translated by Earl N. Cook (Cree words). Simple Read, 2013. 32 pages. Ages 3-6 Hughes, Langston. My People. Photographed by Charles R. Smith, Jr.. Ginny Seo Books / Atheneum, 2009. 32 pages. Age 3 and older Morales, Yuyi. Niño Wrestles the World. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2013. 36 pages. Ages 2-5 Slier, Debby. Cradle Me. Star Bright Books, 2012. 10 pages. Ages birth - 3 Steptoe, John. Baby Says. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1988. 23 pages. Ages 1-3 Thong, Rosanne. Round Is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes. Illustrated by Grace Lin. Chronicle, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 3-5 Williams, Vera B.. More, More, More, Said the Baby: Three Love Stories. Greenwillow, 1990. 32 pages. Ages 9months - 3 years Woodson, Jacqueline. Pecan Pie Baby. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Putnam, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 6 Yum, Hyewon. The Twins' Blanket. Frances Foster Books / Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

Ages 5-7

    Argueta, Jorge. Sopa de frijoles: un poema para cocinar = Bean Soup: A Cooking Poem. Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. Groundwood Books, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8 Atinuke, . Anna Hibiscus. Illustrated by Lauren Tobia. U.S. edition: Kane/Miller, 2010. 112 pages. Ages 4-8 Elya, Susan Middleton. Little Roja Riding Hood. Illustrated by Susan Guevara. Putnam, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 4-8 Greenfield, Eloise. Honey, I Love, and Other Poems. Illustrated by Leo & Dianne Dillon. Harper, 1978.  Harjo, Joy. The Good Luck Cat. Illustrated by Paul Lee. Harcourt, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 7 Look, Lenore. Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding. Illustrated by Yumi Heo. Anne Schwartz / Atheneum, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 3-7 Meshon, Aaron. Take Me Out to the Yakyu. Athenium, 2013. 36 pages. Ages 3-6 Morales, Yuyi. Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. Chronicle, 2003. 28 pages. Ages 4 - 7 Pinkney, Sandra L. Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children. Illustrated by Myles Pinkney. Scholastic, 2000. 28 pages. Ages 3 - 11 Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Jingle Dancer. Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8 Tafolla, Carmen. What Can You Do With a Paleta?. Illustrated by Magaly Morales. Tricycle Press, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 6 Uegacki, Chieri. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin. Illustrated by Qin Leng. Kids Can Press, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 4-8 Waboose, Jan Bourdeau. Morning on the Lake. Illustrated by Karen Reczuch. Kids Can Press, 1998. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

Ages 7-9

    Ada, Alma Flor. My Name Is Maria Isabel. Illustrated by K. Dyble Thompson. Atheneum, 1993. 57 pages. Ages 7-9 Campbell, Nicola I. Shin-chi's Canoe. Illustrated by Kim LaFave. Groundwood Books / House Anansi Press, 2008. 40 pages. Ages 7-10 Cheng, Andrea. The Year of the Book. Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. 160 pages. Ages 7-9 Compestine, Ying Chang. Crouching Tiger. Illustrated by Yan Nascimbene. Candlewick Press, 2011. 40 pages. Ages 4-8 Hamilton, Virginia. The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Knopf, 1985.  Lo, Ginnie. Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic. Illustrated by Beth Lo. Lee and Low, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 7-10 Myers, Christopher. H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination. Egmont, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 5–10 Myers, Christopher. Wings. Scholastic Press, 2000. 40 pages. Ages 5 - 11 Myers, Walter Dean. Looking Like Me. Illustrated by Christopher Myers. Egmont, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 9 Perkins, Mitali. Rickshaw Girl. Illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Charlesbridge, 2007. 91 pages. Ages 8-10 Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach. Crown, 1991. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 11 Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Indian Shoes. Illustrated by Jim Madsen. HarperCollins, 2002. 66 pages. Ages 6 - 9 Tonatiuh, Duncan. Diego Rivera: His World and Ours. Abrams, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

Ages 9-12

    Alexander, Kwame. Crossover. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. 237 pages. Ages 10-13 Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963. Delacorte, 1995. 210 pages. Ages 10 - 14 Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House. Hyperion, 1999. 235 pages. Ages 8 - 12 Grace, Catherine O'Neill and Margaret M. Bruchac, with Plimoth Plantation . 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving. Photographed by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson. National Geographic Society, 2001. 48 pages. Ages 7 - 14 Lai, Thanhha. Inside Out & Back Again. Harper/HarperCollins, 2011. 262 pages. Ages 10-13 Lin, Grace. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Little, Brown, 2009. 278 pages. Ages 8 - 11 Marcantonio, Patricia Santos. Red Ridin' in the Hood and Other Cuentos. Illustrated by Renato Alarcão. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. 185 pages. Ages 8-12 Parker Rhodes, Jewell. Ninth Ward. Little, Brown, 2010. 224 pages. Ages 9 - 13 Resau, Laura. Star in the Forest. Delacorte Press, 2010. 149 pages. Ages 8-11 Sheth, Kashmira. Boys without Names. Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, 2010. 320 pages. Ages 9-13 Tingle, Tim. How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story. Roadrunner Press, 2013. 141 pages. Ages 10-13 Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer. Amistad / HarperCollins, 2010. 218 pages. Ages 8-12

Compiled by Kathleen T. Horning, Carling Febry, Merri T. LIndgren and Megan Schliesman © 2015, 2012, 2010, 2006, 2001 Cooperative Children's Book Center.

This content is republished with permission by the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gabrielle Ahern

Managing Editor, npj Science of Learning Community

I am based in Queensland, Australia, and have an interesting portfolio of skills, experience and qualifications in science research and content creation.