About Multicultural Children's Book Day
Multicultural Children’s Book Day is an event founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom from children’s reading and play advocates. They started this national event in 2014 to celebrate diversity in children’s books. The event sparked the interests of the authors, bloggers, teachers, educators, parents, and a lot more people and they received overwhelming support from people all around the world.
Their mission is to share the multicultural diversity of literature to children from all over the world and reach out to them through reading. These books aim to educate children regarding race, culture, religion, and language written in a way that kids will find exciting to read because of the colorful illustrations and easy to understand stories.
Award-winning multicultural children's books
There’s a vast selection of multicultural children’s books that would make your kids glued to their seats and take them to different places. A lot of these books received honorary awards from different award-giving bodies because of their demonstration of diversity and human values. These children’s books not only remind the kids of the importance of cultural diversity, but they also show them how to interact with people of different races, cultures, and religions.
Let’s check out some award-winning books for children that will take them to different parts of the world and embrace multicultural diversity.
1. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
An acclaimed and multi-awarded author, Jacqueline Woodson, is an American writer of books for children and teens. This book was her autobiography written in a poetic way. She narrates her years of growing up as an African-American teen in 1960s and how she struggled to find her place in the world full of judgment and criticisms. It reflects all her struggles and how she found her rightful place while walking on the path of how she has now become.
This book is an emotional and compelling story of a young girl beautifully packaged in lyrical verses. You will discover her transformation from each poem and how she discovered her voice through writing even if she, herself, had difficulties reading as a child.
2. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
This book is a collection of 40 short biographies of successful African American women of history in different fields of expertise - entertainment, science, arts, culture, politics, and sports. These powerful women will be your kids’ role model in their day to day lives. Their stories are depicted in colorful illustrations that will let the kids enjoy while guiding them from their innocence into becoming better persons when they grow up.
3. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
This multi-awarded book was inspired by the author’s personal life struggles as a refugee of the Vietnam War. In order to veer away from her family’s anger, she translated her experiences and character into Hà's story. A moving story of a young girl caught between her childhood dreams and the Vietnam War that befell Saigon.
Hà and her family were forced to flee from Saigon to the United States on board a navy ship. After a few months of stay at a refugee camp, they transferred to Alabama. There, Hà tried to be brave from being confronted by bullies and struggling to learn English. She was able to get by with the help of her family and some good friends and neighbors.
4. Brainwashed: Crime Travelers Spy School Mystery & International Adventure Series Book 1 by Paul Aertker
The first part of the Crime Travelers series for middle and upper grades, a book set in Paris that features international adventures of spy kids from all around the world.
It all started when thirteen-year-old Lucas Benes discovered the plot of the brainwashed group when he found an abandoned baby in a shopping cart. Lucas, together with a group of international teenage spies, called New Resistance and tried to stop the Good Company’s ceremony of brainwashing the kids. These young agents are multicultural and multitalented which adds to the diversity. If you love The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you’ll surely love this book as it’s packed with exciting adventures and full of humor, wit, and excitement.
5. Wild Berries by Julie Flett
This is a book written in both English and Cree dialect and tells the story of a young boy named Clarence and his grandmother. Clarence accompanies his grandmother into the summer forest to pick blueberries. Along the way, they met some forest animals like the spider, the fox, and some birds.
This book is written in very simple descriptions and also translated in Cree with a word pronunciation guide and a recipe for wild blueberry jam.
6. Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
This bestseller book tells the story of a young African-American girl living in modern-day America. Jade attends the best private school in Portland, Oregon, whose students are predominantly white kids. She doesn’t have many friends in school because of her race.
Many teens struggle with identity acceptance, especially black teens. This book will revive their spirit into believing in themselves and finding the courage to reach for their dreams.
Best multicultural children's book for preschool and kindergarten
“Train up a child the way he should be; and when he’s old enough, he will not depart from it”. A proverb that you often hear from older folks and it’s also applicable to reading. Aside from parents’ advice, children can also be disciplined and can learn values through reading at an early stage.
Let’s check some of the books below:
7. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino
Morris is a little boy who has a very wide imagination. He loves to imagine about beautiful things and great adventures, but most of all, he loves the tangerine dress in their dress-up center in school. Morris’ classmates always make fun of him because of his different personality. They don’t like to play with him because they tell him that dresses are only for girls.
He didn’t go to school one day and stayed at home. He read and dreamed of a wonderful adventure in space. When he returned to school with his tangerine dress and his wonderful paintings, his classmates accepted him and his imaginations. They played with him and embraced his unique personality, tangerine dress and all.
8. Rainbow Stew by Catheryn Falwell
A story of three African-American children who went to their grandfather’s farm. It was a rainy day so the kids are sad, but their grandpa doesn’t want them to be disappointed, so he took them to the farm with their raincoats on. The kids are very happy while picking different colors and varieties of vegetables just like the rainbow colors.
9. The Story I'll Tell by Nancy Tupper Ling
A very touching story of adoption and parental love that will surely touch the hearts of every family. It pictures a family bonded not by blood, but by a genuine love for a kid who doesn’t know where he came from and his parents telling his journey in an imaginative way until he came upon their loving arms.
10. Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk
Juna and his best friend, Hector, love going to the park for fun adventures and collecting things which Juna puts in her kimchi jar. Then one day, Hector suddenly moved to a different place and left Juna with no playmate. So Juna explored different places in search of her best friend in a story told in a magical and powerful imagination.
11. A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu
This book tells the story of Mei Mei, a little girl who tries to join in her grandfather’s tai chi exercise in the garden. While Mei Mei is being taught by her grandfather with tai chi moves, she also wanted to teach her grandpa yoga exercises she learned in school. A very good story for all ages that portrays a lively and warm relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren and learning new things together.
12. It’s Okay to Be Different (Todd Parr Classics)
An amazing book that every child should read, Todd Parr’s book is a must at home. The book teaches children values in a positive and wonderful way. It speaks about accepting each person’s differences without biases, thus making it one of the most revered children books of today.
These books are great as a starting point to expose your child to the multi-diversity we have in our society. It will help to plant the seed of awareness and appreciation of different cultures and develop an open mindset.