What does Multicultural Children's Books mean to you?
Multicultural Children's Books
I'll start with a confession. I'm one of those old-fashioned white Americans. Dime a dozen.
Other people know better about the subject matter on this page. I'm going to direct you to some of them.
There's a lot of good stuff out there. My hope is that the visitors to this page won't only be people looking to expose their children to books about their own culture. I'm hoping parents will expose their children to books about other cultures as well.
Are you looking for African-American children's books or Spanish children's books? Native American? I have separate pages devoted to those cultures.
I think children are best off knowing about the world around them. They should read about other cultures and other countries.
Multicultural children's books are the way to go.
The Jane Addams Children's Book Awards
The Jane Addams award is given annually to multicultural children's books that "effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence."
By their nature, the Jane Addams Awards honor books from all different cultures. The awards are given for both picture books and chapter books.
Lee & Low Multicultural Children's Books
Lee & Low is the first publisher I've recommended on this site. They've devoted themselves to the publication of multicultural children's books, and many of their books are award winners.
Their website is huge and helpful, a joy to surf. Whatever culture it is you're looking for children's books on, Lee & Low Multicultural Children's Books is an excellent place to start.
International Children's Digital Library
Wow. This is a growing site of free online multicultural children's books. There is no American bias here. The library features books from all different countries and in all different languages as well.
The site is easy to navigate, and you can search for books by region or by language. The books are read online, so you will have to hand over the computer to your child. (I know that's hard for some of you!)
In fact, that's what I like best about the ICDL - Internet Children's Digital Library. You just hand over the controls to your child. Go do something else, and then be pleasantly surprised when your child develops an interest in, say, Belize. Or starts speaking Danish!
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Here's someone whose middle name should be Multicultural Children's Books! But, alas, she already has a middle name.
Cynthia Leitich Smith is a Native American children's book writer with a site that promotes not only her own children's books but tons from other Native American children's book writers.
In fact, Cynthia covers not only Native American children's books but other multicultural children's books categories as well. Here's a great page to start on.
From it you can explore her specialty sections - not only Native American children's books, but Asian-American, multiracial and multicultural children's books as well.
And speaking of Asian-American children's books...
The Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association (APALA) presents awards for text and illustration.
Award-winners for text in Asian-American Children's Books
2011-2012 Orchards (young adult), by Thompson, Holly
2011-2012 The Great Wall of Lucy Wu (youth lit), by Shang, Wendy Wan-Long
2010-2011 Shooting Kabul (young adult), by Senzai, N. H.
2010-2011 Heart of a Samurai (youth lit), by Preus, Margi
2009-2010 Everything Asian, by Woo, Sung.
2008-2009 Roots and Wings, by Ly, Many.
2007-2008 Hiroshima Dreams, by Easton, Kelly.
2006-2007 Nothing but the Truth, by Headley, Justina Chen.
2004-2006 Kira Kira, by Kadohata, Cynthia.
2001-2003 A Step From Heaven, by Na, An.
Award-winners for illustration in Asian-American Children's Books
2011-2012 The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China, by Ed Young
2010-2011 Yasmin's Hammer, written by Ann Malaspina, illustrated by Doug Ghayka
2009-2010 Cora Cooks Pancit, written by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Kristi Valiant
2008-2009 Wabi Sabi, written by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young
2007-2008 Surfer of the Century, written by Ellie Crowe, illustrated by Richard Waldrep
2006-2007 The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea, by Anne Sibley O'Brien
2004-2006 Firekeeper's Son, written by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Julie Downing
2001-2003 Apple Pie 4th of July, written by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
And check out some top Asian-American children's poets.
Multicultural Children's Books - Jane Addams Award - Picture Books
2012 - The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families, written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, illustrated by Susan L. Roth
2011 - Emma's Poem, written by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Claire A. Nivola
2010 - Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter
2009 - Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, written and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola
2008 - The Escape of Oney Judge: Martha Washington’s Slave Finds Freedom, written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
2007 - A Place Where Sunflowers Grow, written by Amy-Lee Tai, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
2006 - Delivering Justice: W. W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights, written by Jim Haskins and illustrated by Benny Andrews
2005 - Sélavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Youme Landowne
2004 - Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, written by Kathleen Krull
2003 - Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam,
written by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Ann Grifalconi
2002 - Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
written by Doreen Rappaport with artwork by Bryan Collier (reviewed on this site)
2001 - The Composition, written by Antonio Skármeta and illustrated by Alfonso Ruano
2000 - Molly Bannaky, written by Alice McGill. Illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet.
Multicultural Children's Books - Jane Addams Award - Chapter Books
2012 - Sylvia & Aki, by Winifred Conkling
2011 - A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park
2010 - Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary, by Elizabeth Partridge
2009 - The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, by Margarita Engle
2008 - We Are One: The Story of Bayard Rustin, by Larry Dane Brimner
2007 - Weedflower, by Cynthia Kadohata
2006 - Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX, the Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America, by Karen Blumenthal
2005 - With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote, by Ann Bausum,
2004 - Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope, written by Beverley Naidoo
2003 - Parvana's Journey, written by Deborah Ellis.
2002 - The Other Side of Truth, written by Beverley Naidoo.
2001 - Esperanza Rising, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan.
2000 - Through My Eyes, written by Ruby Bridges
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.