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50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Read

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This list of must-have multicultural books was originally compiled by the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is reprinted here with their permission.


  • What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, illustrated by Ashley Bryan. Atheneum, 1995. (Multi-ethnic)
  • One Afternoon by Yumi Heo. Scholastic, 1998. (Asian Pacific American)
  • Grandmother's Nursery Rhymes/Las Nanas de Abuelita by Nelly Palacio Jaramillo, illustrated by Elivia. Henry Holt, 1996. (Latino)
  • Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret by Lynn Reiser. Rayo, 1996. (Latino)
  • Baby Says by John Steptoe. Mulberry Books, 1992 (African American)
  • I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Little Brown Young Readers, 2001. (African American)
  • Baby Rattlesnake by Te Ata, illustrated by Mira Reisberg. Children's Book Press, 2006. (American Indian)
  • You Are My Perfect Baby by Johce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Nneka Bennett. HarperFestival, 1999. (African American)
  • Round Is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Grace Lin. Chronicle Books, 2000. (Asian Pacific American)
  • Where Did You Get Your Moccasins? by Bernelda Wheeler, illustrated by Herman Bekkering. Peguis Publishers, 1992. (American Indian)
  • More, More, More, Said the Baby: Three Love Stories by Vera B. Williams. HarperCollins, 1996. (Multi-ethnic)
  • Do You Know What I'll Do? by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. HarperCollins, 2000. (African American)

Ages 5-7

  • Drumbeat... Heartbeat: A Celebration of the Powwow by Susan Braine. Lerner Publishing Group, 1995. (American Indian)
  • Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Ange Zhang. Lee & Low Books , 2003. (Asian Pacific American)
  • Halmoni and the Picnic by Sook Nyul Choi, illustrated by Karen Dugan. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 1993. (Asian Pacific American)
  • Hairs/Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros, illustrated by Terry Ybáñez. Dragonfly Books, 1997. (Latino)
  • Abuela by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Elisa Kleven. Puffin, 1997.(Latino)
  • Honey, I Love and Other Poems by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. HarperCollins, 1986. (African American)
  • The Good Luck Cat by Joy Harjo, illustrated by Paul Lee. Harcourt Children's Books, 2000. (American Indian)
  • Celebrating Families by Rosemarie Hausherr. Scholastic, 1997. (Multi-ethnic)
  • Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Dragonfly Books, 1997. (African American)
  • Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney, photographs by Myles C. Pinkney. Scholastic, 2000. (African American)
  • Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Jake Swamp, illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr. Lee & Low Books, 1997. (American Indian)
  • Morning on the Lake by Jean Bourdeau Waboose, illustrated by Karen Reczuch. Kids Can Press, 1999. (American Indian)

Ages 7-9

  • My Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada. Aladdin, 1995. (Latino)
  • From the Bellybutton of the Moon, and Other Summer Poems/Del Ombligo de la Luna, y Otros Poemas de Verano by Francisco X. Alarcon, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez. Children's Book Press, 2005. (Latino)
  • Golden Tales: Myths, Legends and Folktales from Latin America by Lulu Delacre. Scholastic en Español, 2001. (Latino)
  • The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009. (African American)
  • Maples in the Mist: Poems for Children from the Tang Dynasty by Minfong Ho, illustrated by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng. Lothrop, 1996. (Asian Pacific)
  • John Henry by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Puffin, 1999. (African American)
  • Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee. Lee & Low Books, 1995. (Asian Pacific American)
  • Wings by Christopher Myers. Scholastic, 2000. (African American)
  • The People Shall Continue by Simon Ortiz, illustrated by Sharol Graves. Children's Book Press, 1994. (American Indian)
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold. Dragonfly Books, 1996. (African American)
  • What's the Most Beautiful Thing You Know about Horses? by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by George Littlechild. Children's Book Press, 2003. (American Indian)
  • Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World by Mildred Pitts Walter. Yearling, 1990. (African American)

Ages 9-12

  • Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges. Scholastic, 1999. (African American)
  • Native American Animal Stories by Joseph Bruchac. Fulcrum Publishing, 1992. (American Indian)
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. Laurel Leaf, 2004. (African American)
  • The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Hyperion, 2002. (American Indian)
  • The Journey: Japanese Americans, Racism, and Renewal by Sheila Hamanaka. Scholastic, 1995. (Asian Pacific American)
  • Oh, Freedom! Kids Talk About the Civil Rights Movement With the People Who Made It Happen by Casey King and Linda Barrett Osborne. Knopf, 1999 (Multi-ethnic)
  • Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza. Children's Book Press, 2005. (Latino)
  • Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers. Amistad, 1992. (African American)
  • The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems and Stories from Mexico by Naomi Shihab Nye, with paintings by Mexican artists. Simon & Schuster, 1998. (Latino)
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. Scholastic, 2002. (Latino)
  • Quilted Landscape: Conversations with Young Immigrants by Yale Strom. Simon & Schuster Children' Publishing, 1996. (Multi-ethnic)
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. Puffin, 1997. (African American)
  • The Rainbow People by Lawrence Yep, illustrated by David Wiesner. HarperCollins, 1992. (Asian Pacific American)
  • The Friends by Kazumi Yumoto. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. (Asian Pacific)



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