Raising Bilingual Kids & Little Global Citizens


15+ Multicultural Children’s Books that all kids should read

Multicultural Children's Books List

Last Updated on August 25, 2021 by Bilingual Kidspot

Multicultural books for children

Multicultural children’s books are an important part of every child’s home library. After our very popular list of Diversity books for kids, we have now come up with a list of some of our favourite multicultural books for kids which is sure to be just as popular. Below you will find:

  • Multicultural children’s books for babies to pre-school
  • Multicultural children’s books for early elementary
  • Multicultural children’s books for older elementary

Why kids need multicultural books?

As parents, we wear many hats; we’re a nurse, a chauffeur, a chef, a math teacher, a coach, and a life coach among others. One job that we, as parents, should proudly show our children – more so to be an example to emulate – is be a proponent for the underrepresented.

During the past few years, several incidents have led to stronger advocating better representation in clothing, workplace, and television. Those who are underserved and underprivileged are finding their voices and fighting for their rights to be heard.

We can join the cause by raising children who are aware that the world is not just black and white, but an array of vivid colors, much like the people around them.

There are many ways to do this.

One incredibly easy way is to read them books that show diversity. Go to the library and borrow ones that feature characters of different races. Stock their little libraries at home with books that teach about empathy and understanding and acceptance.

Books are an essential guide as we traverse in this multi-faith and multi-ethnic world we live in to avoid diving in and swimming deep into the sea of stereotypes.

Whether you want to encourage your children to see the world from someone else’s perspective or read stories about someone who look like them, we’ve got you covered as we have compiled a few books that represent different races and books that tell your kids it’s okay to be different!

Multicultural Books for Babies to Preschool

Our favourite multicultural children’s books for ages 0-5yrs

Hats of Faith


Author: Medeia Cohan
Age range: 2 – 5 years
This is a simple yet clear-cut multicultural book for kids that’s a great read for children young and old. The bold and striking illustrations show different individuals of different skin colors wearing headwear pertaining to their own faiths.

This children’s book is especially useful in helping to identify external manifestations of faith in order to eliminate fear of the unknown. This is a good foundation to start teaching mutual understanding that can lead to further research for inquisitive minds.

A great quote in the book that essentially summarizes the whole point of this article: “Learning about each other makes it easy to be more understanding. Being understanding helps us spread love and peace.”


Shades of People

shades of people

Author: Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly
Age range: 2 – 5 years

What’s great about this multicultural children’s book is that it uses photographs of real people. Children are not seeing just illustrations that may or may not resemble a person. They are seeing actual individuals who could be in their class, their neighbor, someone waiting at their pediatrician’s office, or in a restaurant with their families.

This book celebrates diversity and talks about the different shades of humanity and even mentions that within some families, there are also different shades. This is definitely a great multicultural conversation starter with your young ones.


Lola at the Library

Author: Anna McQuinn
Age range: 2 – 5 years

lola at the library multicultural childrens books

This multicultural book for kids is racially representative, yet not riddled with self-affirmation and historical narratives. It’s simply a sweet story about a little girl having a fun day trip to the library with her mother.

If you’re on the hunt for a perfect book to help instill a love of reading and books in your child, you have found it. A beautiful narration that encourages visiting your local library and making the trek a fun one.

The illustrations are soft and lovely, which make you feel all warm and cozy as you turn each page. Lola at the Library is part of a series of books Lola Reads that follow book-loving Lola in her everyday life adventures. What’s more, the books are also available in Spanish.


Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes

Round is a tortilla Multicultural kids book

Author: Roseanne Thong
Age range: 2 – 5 years
An engaging book that teaches children shapes in forms of everyday items and includes the Latino culture. The illustrations are colorful, and the poetic verses integrates math as well as Spanish vocabulary. Overall a great read for young children that show diverse characters.


Multicultural Children’s Books for Early Elementary

Our favourite multicultural books for kids suitable for 4-8yrs.

All Are Welcome Here

All are welcome

Author: Alexandra Penfold
Age range: 4 – 8 years
From the text that rhymes to the incredibly diverse characters shown, this multicultural book for kids is a winner. Both the story and the illustration show our similarities as well as differences in physical appearance, heritage, cultural traditions, and even food. Each page will surely make a child feel safe and included.
“We’re part of a community. Our strength is our diversity. A shelter from adversity. All are welcome here.”


The Story of Chinaman’s Hat

Story of the China Mans Hat

Author: Dean Howell
Age range: 5 – 8
If you’ve ever visited the island O’ahu in Hawaii, you are certainly familiar with the popular Chinaman’s Hat. This multicultural kids book narrates an original legend of how Chinaman’s Hat came to be. It features two different cultures and a creative story that alters the Hawaiian islands forever.


Drum Dream Girl

Drum Dream Girl - Multicultural Children's Books List

Author: Margarita Engle
Age range: 4 – 8 years
Inspired by a true story, this wonderful book is set in Cuba about a little multi-racial girl’s adversity against societal norms and her determination to succeed in a patriarchal field. The beautiful prose is captivating, and the illustration is appealing. Such a wonderful book to empower young girls to keep on dreaming and attain the unattainable.


Thank You, Omu!

Thank You Omu

Author: Oge Mora
Age range: 4 – 7 years

This is an enchanting and delightful narration about kindness, generosity, and gratitude. The author’s Nigerian roots are reflected in the evocative illustration and the wonderfully written story resembled folklore. A heartwarming story that makes you realize that all it takes is a small gesture such as sharing a pot of stew to strengthen a community and spread the sense of belonging.


Yasmin in Charge

Yasmin In Charge - Diversity Book for Kids

Author: Saadia Faruqi
Age range: 5 – 8 years
Yasmin in Charge is another of our favourite multicultural children’s books. This easy-to-read chapter book is a collection of four stories about a Pakistani girl Yasmin and how she takes charge and creatively problem solves. She is quick-thinking and clever. Her adventures favorably exhibit Pakistani culture with Urdu vocabulary and traditional dishes riddled throughout each chapter.


Fish for Jimmy

Author: Katie Yamasaki
Age range: 6 – 9 years

Fish for Jimmy

This is a tale that takes readers back into the dark time period in America’s history when those of Japanese descent were sent to internment camps. In addition to the historical context, readers are inspired by Jimmy’s brother Taro who reminds us of love, courage, and what family is about despite tribulations. While a motivational story with vibrant illustrations, this children’s book serves as a reminder for readers to not allow history from repeating itself.


Multicultural Children’s Books for Older Elementary

A list of multicultural children’s books for older children aged 9-12 years

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Emmanuel's Dream - Multicultural Book for Kids

Author: Laurie Ann Thompson
Age range: 4 – 8 years
This inspiring multicultural kids book is a true story that not only features a Ghanaian character, but also one with a disability, who shows the world that anyone can do anything.

Powerful and uplifting story about courage and perseverance. A must-read indeed for any child.



Ghost - Multicultural Children's Book

Author: Jason Reynolds
Age range: 10 and up

Another inspirational tale and deeply moving. Beautifully written with the dialogue and characters being relatable. Authentic and captivating with a great plot and character development. Truly an enjoyable book for older children.

“You can’t run away from who you are, but what you can do is run toward who you want to be.”


Esperanza Rising

Esperenza Rising

Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan
Age range: 8+
This is one of our favourite multicultural children’s books for older kids. It is a story about immigration, culture shock, hard work, patience, and hope. Esperanza deals with the loss of her father, the struggles of fleeing her home country Mexico and having to live a different life culturally and socioeconomically.

With Spanish words so seamlessly woven and based on true events in her grandmother’s life, the author crafts a tale that explores eye-opening subjects about Mexico, the Great Depression and the plight of Mexican-American laborers, child labor and labor strikes, and profound discrimination.


Africa Is My Home, A Child of the Amistad

Africa Is My Home

Author: Monica Edinger
Age range: 10 +
Told from the perspective of 9-year-old Magulu, this book is enthralling as it is heartbreaking. With beautiful illustrations on each page to help with visualization, this book sensitively chronicles enslavement and American slave trade, homesickness, and other hardships Magulu encounters as she was taken away from her home.

Informative, descriptive, yet still child-appropriate, this multicultural children’s book is a must-read when touching upon the difficult topic of slavery.


The Skin I’m In

The Skin I'm In

Author: Sharon Flake
Age range: 12+
This book is about a girl who is being bullied for her dark skin, but she finds her voice. It is a realistic and relatable story about bullying, pain, self-esteem, fitting in, standing up for yourself, and self-love.
“To look in the mirror and like what you see, even when it doesn’t look like your idea of beauty.”


All kids deserve multicultural books

Books can certainly shape our world even from a very young age. By encouraging children to read multicultural books, and books that highlight diversity, young readers are enlightened of the truths regarding lives they don’t live.

Stories that showcase diversity, inclusion, and empathy can indeed affect and change people’s minds, which in essence is a great tool to combat fear and bigotry.

We hope you love these multicultural books for children, please let us know your favorites in the comments! Make sure to check out our multicultural activities for kids post too.

Multicultural Children's Books 15+

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