Here is a beginning of a list of books about children and teens from many cultures. Some of these are brand new. Some are classics. Some are my long time favorites and some are new favorites contributed by my fellow writers and illustrators on the New England Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators list serve.See links to the right for other lists of good books on multicultural themes.
Write me with your favorites and we'll make this list grow.
Picture Books and Folktales
ALVAREZ, Julia. illus by Fabian Negrin, The Secret Footprints. Dell Dragonfly, c2000.
A folktale about Dominican ciguapas, mythical creatures who live on the land and in the sea.
BARTONE, Elisa, illus by Ted Lewin, Peppe the Lamplighter. Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard, 1993. Set in
BROWN, Monica, illus by John Parra, My Name is Gabriella* Me llamo Gabriela, the Life of Gabriella Mistral, Luna Rising, 2006.
A picture book biography of the Chilean writer and Nobel Prize winner.
BULION, Leslie. Fatuma’s New Cloth,
BUNTING, Eve. How Many Days to
CHAMBERS, Veronica. Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa, illus by Julie Maren, Dial, 2005.
Biography of Celia and her childhood world that influenced the making of salsa, illustrated in brilliant colors.
CONNOR, Leslie. Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel, illus by Mary Azarian, HM, 2004.
Miss Bridie comes to
CUNNANE, Kelly. For You Are a Kenyan Child, illus by Ana Juan, Atheneum, 2006.
A little boy in search of cows calls out to people in his Kenyan village to the refrain of “Hodi? Anybody home?” and they answer “Karibu! Welcome!”
HEST, Amy. When Jessie Came Across the Sea, illus by P.J. Lynch, Candlewick, 1997.
Jessie immigrates from
LORD, Michelle. A Song for
KURTZ, Jane, illus by Lee Christiansen. Fire on the Mountain. Simon & Schuster, 1994.
A retelling of an Ethiopian folktale.
MICHELSON, Richard. Grandpa’s Gamble, illus by Barry Moser, Marshall Cavendish, 1999.
Story of a Polish grandpa and grandchild that captures “the tough, brazen immigrant culture...” Booklist.
NORMAN Lissette. My Feet Are Laughing, F, S, & G, 2006.
Narrative poems about a girl in NYC whose parents are from the
Film connection: Mad Hot Ballroom, a gorgeous story about competitive ballroom dancers in NYC elementary schools. Many of the kids are Hispanic.
NIVOLA, Claire. Planting the Trees of
PIERNAS-Davenport, Gail. Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas, illus by Marion Eldridge, Albert Whitman, 2007.
Shanté discovers New Year’s traditions of many cultures.
REICH, Susanna. Jose! Born to Dance, illus by Raul Colon, Simon & Schuster, 2005.
Biography of Mexican-American dancer, Jose Limon, a "soaring portrayal of achievement." Booklist.
RUMFORD, James. Silent Music: A Story of
A story of contemporary
SAY, Allen. Grandfather’s Journey, Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
The story of a man living in two cultures, and when he is in one, he yearns for the other.
YASHIMA, Taro. Crow Boy, Viking, 1995.
The classic tale of a Japanese boy who finds his voice in the world with the help of a good teacher.
APPLEGATE, Katherine. Home of the Brave, Feiwel & Friends, 2007.
A young boy from
ALVAREZ, Julia, Before We Were Free, Knopf, 2002.
Growing up in the
LIN, Grace. The Year of the Dog, Little, Brown, 2006.
Pacy, who is Tawainese-American, sorts out her identity in her American school.
PERKINS, Mitali. Rickshaw Girl, illus by Jamie Hogan, Charlesbridge, 2007. Chapter book
"Funny, smart, and chuck full of the sights, sounds, and smells of Bangladesh." Fuse #8 Production
Venkatraman, Padma. Climbing the Stairs, Putnam, 2008. YA
Set in India in the 1940s, this is the story of a young woman's struggle for freedom which plays out against the backdrop of World War II and India's coming independence.
YA novel, a Cambodian American and a native boy are in deep trouble in this adventure story of climbing
Tan, Shaun. The Arrival, Arthur Levine, 2006. A wordless, graphic story told in surreal drawings to capture the unknown and often frightening things of a new place to immigrants.
TESTA, Maria. Something About
A short verse novel about a girl from