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25 Favorite Children’s Books About Diversity

Best 25 Children’s Books About DiversitySearching around for a really special gift for multicultural families and teachers working in diverse communities? Check out our new, exclusive collection of 25 of the best multicultural books for grades 1-3 that celebrate diversity and teach children about different cultures. (Note: Additional sets targeted to Pre-K through K, and to grades 3-5, are also available on the Language Lizard site.)

New Set of Multicultural Books Makes a Memorable Gift for Teachers & Families

The books portray children from various backgrounds, including Hispanic, Asian, African American, Middle-Eastern, and Native American. The stories help children embrace their unique heritage, better understand the immigrant experience, and enjoy entertaining folktales from around the world.

With this collection, children in diverse communities will appreciate those around them and build selfesteem as they read books in which their cultures and ethnicities are represented.

All books in this set are in English. If you are looking for bilingual multicultural books, click here or visit our language-specific pages.

Multicultural Stories Include:

  • An inspiring book about an immigrant girl from Korea looking to fit into her new life in America. A “Best Children’s Book of the Year” by Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, this story is very relatable to children of all backgrounds moving to the United States, trying to create a new home.
  • A story about a young girl during the holy month of Ramadan who must choose between covering for her brother and doing the right thing.
  • A child is reminded to be proud of her unique and special hair and, more importantly, proud of who she is. Many children and adults alike will relate to this story of self-acceptance and self-love.
  • A folktale from Thailand that teaches a valuable lesson about being thankful for what you have, and the risks of having much more than you need.
  • A girl who has lost her vision is able to overcome adversity to run in her school’s Field Day race. With the help of her friends, teachers and family, she proves that she is able to do all the same things that somebody with sight can do.
  • A heartwarming story showing the hardships an elderly person faces when adjusting to life in a new country, and how a grandmother and grandchild are able to help their family by sharing parts of their culture.
  • The story of two girls, one Jewish and one Muslim, and their beautiful friendship. Both go to great lengths to care for the other’s well-being, providing valuable lessons to all children who read this book.
  • A story about the discrimination African Americans faced in the workplace teaches children about the simple things that were denied to them, and how many people bravely fought to end these unfair practices.
  • A Penn Belpre Honor Book Award winner, this story about relating to your grandparents, who do not share the same customs or language as you, pertains to many second or third generation children in America.
  • A simple chapter book about a young Latino reporter who will do anything to find out how a worm got into her friend Javier’s burger. She hopes this story will be her big break to becoming a distinguished reporter!
  • The struggles of an immigrant Chinese family to settle into their new life in America are relieved when a stranger helps them connect to their past home in a way they did not know was possible.
  • Winner of a Benjamin Franklin Award, Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and the Children’s Choice Award, this Native American folktale shares the important lesson of believing in yourself and not listening to the negative words of others.
  • A Coretta Scott King Award winning story about the hardships of life as an African American girl in the early 1900’s who wants to attend school, her fight to get there, and the ambitious learner she becomes through hard work and dedication.
  • A story about the daughter of migrant workers who feels as if she cannot find her place anywhere since her family is constantly moving according to the harvest. Eventually, she succeeds in making her mark.
  • A young girl living in West Africa wants to be like the other women in her family and wear a malafa, but her family believes she is too young to wear it. She wants to show them that she is old enough to understand the significance of wearing it and respect the sacred act.
  • A Vietnamese folktale about brothers who lead very different lives, one rich and one poor, and how fate always has a way of making things even in the end.
  • An enlightening story about a young boy trying to escape the shadow of his father because they have the same name. He loves his father dearly, but wants to create his own name so he can have a different legacy.
  • A children’s book that teaches the importance of diversity and how it makes us unique. The children in the book learn that being nice to everyone regardless of what they look like is crucial, and that everyone deserves to be treated with the same respect and dignity.
  • A Caldecott Medal winner, this book shares the touching story of a young man who came to America in search of a new life and adventure, and his eventual return to his home country of Japan. The book then shares his daughter’s and his grandson’s story, coming full circle in the end.
  • A classic Chinese folktale about a duck that is taken by a Lord who wants to keep him as a prized possession.  A kind maid releases the bird and faces punishment, but will her deeds be rewarded?
  • A multicultural book that follows a boy going around the world to learn about different cultures and to meet diverse people. The details and friendly illustrations allow readers to travel around the world in a book.
  • A Cherokee legend about a husband and wife who quarrel, and then make up by a field of sweet strawberries, teaches important lessons about the act of forgiveness and gratitude.
  • Two Jim Crow era young African American girls fight discrimination by creating a shoe store of their own where African Americans can try on shoes in the store, which is something they cannot do in any store operated by a white person. This story teaches important historic lessons while also showing children who persevere in the face of adversity.
  • Ganesha, a young elephant child, loves anything sweet and sugary, but he takes his love too far. A humorous twist on a classic tale (with amazing, colorful illustrations) that introduces Indian culture and Hindu literature.
  • A Caldecott Honor Book that shows a community coming together to help a family in need, and celebrates the joy of working hard to save up for something special.

A few reviews of the books in this collection:

– “A sensitive and inspiring portrait of a family’s triumph in the face of adversity.” – Kirkus Reviews

– “Wonderful watercolor illustrations complete this sensitive, sweet story of learning to love yourself without compromise.” – Chicago Tribune

– “The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked as it is in this direct, lyrical narrative that is able to stir emotions through the sheer simplicity of its telling… [The illustrations] seem to be moments taken from life, intensely personal and at the same time giving voice to and confirming an experience shared by countless others.” – Horn Book, starred review

“Yoon may be new to America, but her feelings as an outsider will be recognizable to all children.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

– “This one stands tall not just for delving into a piece of labor history not previously covered, but for its ability to relate history with heart in resonance.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

– “..a picture book story influenced by Native American folklore. The stylized artwork and the educational addendum perfectly complement this enchanting fairy tale.” – Midwest Book Review

– “Celebrates the natural world simplified, softened, and sunlit. A delectable choice for reading aloud.” – Booklist

– “A tender knockout… it’s rare to find much vitality, spontaneity, and depth of feeling in such a simple, young book.” – Kirkus Reviews

– “… rich with magic, compassion and love. …elegant watercolor and pastel drawings… are exquisite.” – Publishers Weekly

– “When Shirin helps Ali, it changes their relationship and reveals the meaning of Ramadan.” – Booklist

– “A poignant yet realistic story… stunningly illustrated.” – Choices, Cooperative Children’s Book Center