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50 Multicultural Books Every Child should Read

( National Education Association )



by Ada, Alma

My Name is Maria Isabel

This book tackles an issue familiar to children in multicultural settings. Maria Isabel, a newcomer to the United States, feels hurt when her teacher decides that the class will call her Mary to distinguish her from the other two Marias. But Maria Isabel is proud of her own name and can't get used to the new one.
Call Number:
PZ7 .A1857 My 1993

Culture:
LMA*




by Alarcon, Francisco X

From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems

Este entretenido libro es una colección bilingüe de poemas que refleja la alegría que experimentan unos niños en sus vacaciones a México, cuando visitan a sus tíos, tías y abuelitos. Los recién llegados ansían encontrase con sus parientes, y los parientes, por su parte, desean que los visitantes conozcan y reconozcan su país, sus tradiciones, su cultura, sus comidas, reflejando así las intenciones del autor que escribe libros bilingües sobre la familia, la cultura mexicana-americana y la niñez. Las ilustraciones brillantes y llenas de color y energía captan el calor familiar y la felicidad de los niños durante esas fantásticas vacaciones de verano. Sin duda alguna, los niños de 5 a 8 años disfrutarán este libro y podrán revivir las fantásticas aventuras de los protagonistas.
Call Number:
PS3551 .L22 F76 1998

Culture:
LMA*




by Braine, Susan

Drumbeat…Heartbeat: A Celebration of the Powwow

In this unique series, Native American authors examine their cultural traditions, from Navajo rug weaving in the Southwest to wild rice gathering in northern Minnesota. Each book describes these customs as they are seen through the eyes of the participants and discusses how Native American people maintain their cultural identities in contemporary society.
Call Number:
E98 .P86 B73 1995

Culture:
NA*




by Bridges, Ruby

Through My Eyes

Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a 6-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960. An icon of the Civil Rights movement, Ruby chronicles each dramatic step of this pivotal event in history.
Call Number:
F379 .N59 N435 1999

Culture:
AFAM*




by Bryan, Ashley

What a Wonderful World

What simpler way could there be to express to children the beauty and the harmony in the world around them than through the lyrics of this song by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, made famous by the great Louis Armstrong? And what better visual accompaniment than the bright colorful artwork by award-winning Ashley Bryan depicting children of many backgrounds (and Louis Armstrong himself) performing a puppet show that brings the lyrics to life. Here is a book of brightness, wonder, and hope to be shared by all.
Call Number:
PZ8.3 .W42455 Wh 1995
Publication Date:
1995

Culture:
ME*




by Cheng, Andrea

Grandfather Counts

When her maternal grandfather comes from China, Helen, who is biracial, develops a special bond with him despite their age and language differences.
Call Number:
PZ7 .C41943 Gr 2000

Culture:
CCA*




by Choi, Sook Nyul

Halmoni and the Picnic

When Yunmi's class plans a picnic in Central Park, her Korean grandmother, Halmoni, agrees to chaperone. But Yunmi worries that the other children will make fun of Halmoni's traditional Korean dress and unfamiliar food.
Call Number:
PZ7 .C44626 Hal c1993

Culture:
AAP*




by Cisneros, Sandra

Hairs/Pelitos

This jewel-like vignette from Sandra Cisneros's best-selling The House on Mango Street shows, through simple, intimate portraits, the diversity among us.
Call Number:
PZ73 .C53 1997
Publication Date:
1994

Culture:
LMA*




by Curtis, Christopher Paul

Bud, Not Buddy

It’s 1936, in Flint, Michigan, and when 10-year-old Bud decides to hit the road to find his father, nothing can stop him.
Call Number:
PZ7 .C94137 Bu 1999

Culture:
AFAM*




by Delacre, Lulu

Golden Tales: Myths, Legends, and Folktales from Latin America

This lush collection of 12 traditional Latin American tales brings the history and culture of 13 countries to a vivid new perspective.
Call Number:
GR114 .D45113 1996

Culture:
LMA*




by Dorros, Arthur

Abuela

A girl imagines flying over New York City with her Spanish-speaking grandmother. "Solid multicultural material," said PW, also praising the "vibrantly hued and intricately detailed mixed-media collages."
Call Number:
PZ7 .D7294 Ab 1991

Culture:
LMA*




by Erdrich, Louise

Birchbark House, The

For as long as Omakayas can remember, she and her family have lived on the land her people call the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. Although the chimookoman, white people, encroach more and more on their land, life continues much as it always has. Every summer the family builds a new birchbark house; every fall they go to ricing camp to harvest and feast; they move to the cedar log house before the first snows arrive, and celebrate the end of the long, cold winters at maple-sugaring camp. In between, Omakayas fights with her annoying little brother Pinch, plays with the adorable baby, Neewo, and tries to be grown-up like her beautiful older sister, Angeline. But the satisfying rhythms of their lives are shattered when a visitor comes to their lodge one winter night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever.
Call Number:
PZ7 .E72554 Bi 1999

Culture:
NA*




by Hamilton, Virginia

People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, The

"The well-known author retells 24 black American folk tales in sure storytelling voice: animal tales, supernatural tales, fanciful and cautionary tales, and slave tales of freedom. All are beautifully readable. With the added attraction of 40 wonderfully expressive paintings by the Dillons, this collection should be snapped up."
Call Number:
PZ8.1 .H154 Pe 1985
Publication Date:
1985

Culture:
AFAM*




by Harjo, Joy

Good Luck Cat, The

Some cats are good luck. You pet them and good things happen. Woogie is one of those cats. But as Woogie gets into one mishap after another, everyone starts to worry. Can a good luck cat's good luck run out? The first children's book from an acclaimed poet whose honors include the American Book Award and the William Carlos Williams Award Celebrates the special relationship between a young girl and her cat A modern Native American story from a member of the Muskogee-Creek tribe
Call Number:
PZ7 .H2229 Go 2000

Culture:
NA*




by King, Casey; Linda Barrett Osborne

Oh, Freedom! Kids Talk About Civil Rights…

A personal look at the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s in a provocative and engrossing book that is filled with passionate stories and important information. Choosing from 500 interviews that fourth graders from Washington, D.C., conducted with their parents, grandparents, neighbors, and friends, the authors compiled a historical account of how ordinary people made a difference during the civil rights movement. With a forward by Rosa Parks,Oh, Freedom!also includes interviews with a few legendary participants, including James Farmer (organizer of the Freedom Rides) and Walter Fauntroy (chairman of the March on Washington). Besides the dozens of archival photographs of important moments during the movement, readers will see photographic portraits of the kids and adults who took part in the interviews.
Call Number:
E185.61 .K523 1997

Culture:
ME*




by Lester, Julius

John Henry

Nothing can stop John Henry-no boulder, no mountain, and definitely no steam drill.nbsp; Newbery Honor winner Julius Lester writes with such power that this African-American folk hero becomes as awesome as a natural phenomenon.nbsp; Jerry Pinkney received a Caldecott Honor for his exuberant, glowing watercolor paintings of the hero.nbsp; The book, celebrating its tenth year in print, was also a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, a Parents magazine Best Book, and an ALA Notable Book, among other honors.
Call Number:
PZ8.1 .L4343 Jo 1994
Publication Date:
1994

Culture:
AFAM*




by Lomas Garza, Carmen

Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia

In this colorful book, Mexican American author and artist Carmen Lomas Garza shares her warm memories of growing up in the traditional Hispanic community of Kingsville, Texas. Vivid descriptions in Spanish and English accompany the artist's beautiful depictions of family scenes, reflecting the roots of her artistic inspiration.
Call Number:
E184 .S75 L66 1990

Culture:
LMA*




by McKissack, Pat

Mirandy and Brother Wind

Illus. in full color."Mirandy is sure she'll win the cake walk if she can catch Brother Wind for her partner, but he eludes all the tricks her friends advise. This gets a high score for plot, pace, and characterization. Mirandy sparkles with energy and determination. Multi-hued watercolors fill the pages with patterned ferment. A treat to pass on to new generations."
Call Number:
PZ7 .M478693 Mi 198

Culture:
AFAM*




by Mochizuki, Ken

Baseball Saved Us

Despondent over the harsh conditions of a World War II internment camp, a young Japanese-American boy and his father build a baseball diamond and form a league so that the internees will have something to look forward to--even if only for nine innings.
Call Number:
PZ7 .M71284 Bas 1993

Culture:
JA*




by Myers, Christopher

Wings

Are you brave enough to be your true self? Ikarus Jackson is. But it isn't always easy. The people in his neighborhood point at his wings. The kids at school laugh. The teachers call him a distraction. One girl identifies with him, but she is too shy to speak up. Finally, when his classmates' taunts send Ikarus drifting into the sky, the girl sets out in search of him, and so begins her own journey of self-discovery -- leaving both of them transformed.
Call Number:
PZ7 .M9825

Culture:
AFAM*




by Myers, Walter Dean

Now Is Your Time: The African-American Struggle…

History has made me an African American. It is an Africa that I have come from, and an America that I have helped to create.Since they were first brought as captives to Virginia, the people who would become African Americans have struggled for freedom. Thousands fought for the rights of all Americans during the Revolutionary War, and for their own rights during the Civil War. On the battlefield, through education, and through their creative genius, they have worked toward one goal: that the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness be denied no one.Fired by the legacy of men and women like Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, Ida B. Wells, and George Latimer, the struggle continues today. Here is African-American history, told through the stories of the people whose experiences have shaped and continue to shape the America in which we live.
Call Number:
E185 .M96 1991

Culture:
AFAM*




by Nye,. Naomi Shihab

Tree is Older Than You Are, The

This gathering of poems and stories, told in both the original Spanish and translated English, transcends borders as it invites readers into a shared world of ideas, visions and dreams. Sixty-four great Mexican writers and painters are collected here, including Rosario Castellanos, Alberta Blanco, Octavio Paz, and Julio Galan.
Call Number:
PQ7235 .T74 1998

Culture:
LMA*




by Ortiz, Simon

People Shall Continue, The

Native American poet Simon Ortiz traces the progress of Native Americans from the time of creation to the present.
Call Number:
E77.4 .O77 1988

Culture:
NA*




by Palacio Jaramillo, Nelly

Grandmother's Nursery Rhymes/Las nanas de abuelita

This lovingly gathered bilingual collection includes traditional favorite nursery rhymes, lullabies, and tongue-twisting verse from South America.
Call Number:
PZ74.3 .N34 1996
Publication Date:
1994

Culture:
LMA*




by Pinkney, Sandra L.

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children

The bestselling picture book is now available as a board book! "The beauty of African-American children is celebrated in this joyous picture book. Wonderful, clear, full-color photographs of youngsters illustrate a poetic, vivid text that describes a range of skin and eye colors and hair textures.... An affirmative message for children of all races."
Call Number:
PZ7 .P63348 Sh 2000

Culture:
AFAM*




by Reiser, Lynn

Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret

Margaret and Margarita Margarita Y MargaretMargaret speaks English but not Spanish. Margarita speaks Spanish but not English. Can they still play? Of course they can! Join two robust girls who aren't about to let anything spoil their fun.
Call Number:
PZ73 .R4 1993
Publication Date:
1993

Culture:
LMA*




by Ringgold, Faith

Tar Beach

Illus. in full color. "Ringgold recounts the dream adventure of eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her apartment-building rooftop, the 'tar beach' of the title, looking down on 1939 Harlem. Part autobiographical, part fictional, this allegorical tale sparkles with symbolic and historical references central to African-American culture. The spectacular artwork resonates with color and texture. Children will delight in the universal dream of mastering one's world by flying over it. A practical and stunningly beautiful book."
Call Number:
PZ7 .R4726 Tar 1991

Culture:
AFAM*




by Ryan, Pam Munoz

Esperanza Rising

For the first 12 years of her life, Esperanza Ortega is pampered by servants and sheltered by her doting parents on their ranch in Aguascalientes, Mexico. But a sudden tragedy shatters that world of wealth and privilege. Homeless and destitute, she and her mother emigrate to California to work in the fields and start a new life.
Call Number:
PZ7 .R9553 Es 2001

Culture:
LMA*




by Sandoz, Mari

Horsecatcher, The

Praised for swift action and beauty of language,The Horsecatcheris Mari Sandoz's first novel about the Indians she knew so well. Without ever leaving the world of a Cheyenne tribe in the 1830s, she creates a youthful protagonist many readers will recognize in themselves. Young Elk is expected to be a warrior, but killing even an enemy sickens him. He would rather catch and tame the mustangs that run in herds. Sandoz makes it clear that his determination to be a horsecatcher will require a moral and physical courage equal to that of any warrior. And if he must earn the right to live as he wishes, he must also draw closer to family and community.
Call Number:
PZ7 .S22 Ho

Culture:
NA




by Sheth, Kashmira

Blue Jasmine

When twelve-year-old Seema Trivedi learns that she and her family must move from their small Indian town to Iowa City, she realizes she'll have to say good-bye to the purple-jeweled mango trees and sweet-smelling jasmine, to the monsoon rains and the bustling market. More important, she must leave behind her best friend and cousin, Raju. Everything is different in Iowa City, where Seema feels like an outsider to the language and traditions. As she begins to plant roots in the foreign soil, however, her confidence starts to bloom, and she learns she can build a bridge between two homes. With lyrical language and poignant scenes, Kashmira Sheth unearths the meaning of "home" and "family" in this tender debut novel. Kashmira Sheth's own experiences as a teenager who moved by herself from India to America inspired her to write this novel. She is a microbiologist and lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.
Call Number:
PZ7 .S5543 Bl 2006
Publication Date:
2004

Culture:
AAP




by Steptoe, John

Baby Says

A baby and big brother figure out how to get along.
Call Number:
PZ7 .S836 Bab 1988
Publication Date:
1988

Culture:
AFAM*




by Swamp, Jake

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

"Giving Thanks" is a special children's version of the Thanksgiving Address, a message of gratitude that originated with the Native people of upstate New York and Canada and that is still spoken at ceremonial gatherings held by the Iroquois, or Six Nations.
Call Number:
E99 .M8 S83 1995

Culture:
NA*




by Tarpley, Natasha Anastasia

I Love My Hair!

No matter how gently Mama pulls as she combs Keyana's hair, it still hurts.Keyana doesn't feel lucky to have such a head of hair, but Mama tells her she is because she can wear it any way she chooses.
Call Number:
PZ7 .T176 Iaab 1998
Publication Date:
1997

Culture:
AFAM*




by Taylor, Mildred

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

A black family living in the South during the 1930's are faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don't understand
Call Number:
PZ7 .T121723 Ro

Culture:
AFAM*




by Te Ata

Baby Rattlesnake

Baby Rattlesnake throws tantrums to get his rattle before he's reads, but he misuses it and learns a lesson.
Call Number:
E99 .C55 A73 1989

Culture:
NA*




by Thong, Roseanne

Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes

From round rice bowls to square pizza boxes, a little girl's neighbourhood becomes a discovery ground of shapes in this lyrical picture book. The bright, whimsical art illustrates many Chinese objects, and a short glossary explains their cultural significance.
Call Number:
PZ8.3 .T328 Ro 2000

Culture:
CCA*




by Van Camp, Richard

What's the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses?

"I'm a stranger to horses and horses are strangers to me," admits the author/narrator at the beginning of this delightful tale of discovery. Members of the Dogrib nation from Canada, Van Camp's people use dogs instead of horses. Yet Van Camp has always been curious about horses. So he sets off on a playful search for "the most beautiful thing about horses," talking to family, friends, and even artist George Littlechild, who is a Plains Cree and knows something about horses. The answers Van Camp gets range from zany to profound: Horses can run sideways. Horses have secrets. Horses can always find their way home. Littlechild's bold and fanciful paintings perfectly capture Van Camp's playful vision of the world.
Call Number:
PZ7 .V26247 Wh 1998

Culture:
NA*




by Waboose, Jan Bourdeau

Morning on the Lake

In the first of three linked stories, a young boy and his grandfather set out in a birchbark canoe early one spring morning. Together, they discover the peaceful beauty of the lake. In the second story, the sun rises high in the summer sky as they climb a rocky cliff for a bird's-eye view of the land. And, finally, as an autumn night descends, they venture into the woods. Under the patient and gentle guidance of his grandfather, the boy gradually comes to respect the ways of nature and to understand his own place in the world.
Call Number:
PZ7 .W11336 Mor 1998
Publication Date:
1997

Culture:
NA*




by Walter, Mildred Pitts

Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World

Justin's sisters and his mama are always fussing at him. No wonder he's glad to go visit Grandpa's ranch. While he's there he will ride his favorite horse, Black Lightning, see the cowboys at the rodeo, and forget all about "women's work." Mildred Pitts Walter writes with the sure touch of experience. She tells about a very special grandfather and about a boy's struggle to make it in a "man's world" -- even though he is surrounded by women.
Call Number:
PZ7 .W17125 Ju
Publication Date:
1986

Culture:
AFAM*




by Williams, Vera B.

More, More, More, Said the Baby: Three Love Stories

"A book for parents, grandparents, and other significant adults to enjoy with their little ones. This trio of gentle vignettes shows three toddlers gathered up and cuddled by grownups . . . The pages reverberate with bright colors and vigorous forms . . . The rhythmic language begs to be read aloud".
Call Number:
PZ7 .W6685 Mo 1990
Publication Date:
1990

Culture:
ME*




by Yep, Laurence

Rainbow People, The

In a land where animals talk, ghosts marry, and rocks and streams are magical, anything is possible. . . . Newbery Honor Award-winner Laurence Yep has collected and retold 20 folktales originally recounted by Chinese-American immigrants as part of a 1930s WPA project. 1989 Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book for Non-Fiction.
Call Number:
PZ8.1 .Y37 Rai 1992

Culture:
CCA*









Information

Award Description
This list of must-have multicultural books was compiled by the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. List is divided into various age groups at NEA site.

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