The 15 Best Multicultural Picture Books For Kids

This is a round-up of 15 of the best Multicultural Picture Books for Kids.

One of the best ways to help raise empathetic, change-maker kids is to expose them to the world outside their little bubble. Our family loves using books to experience new cultures, countries, and customs. When kids are small, stories are the best way to help them understand ideas and relate to others, but humans of all ages respond to characters better than facts. That’s why, this month, I’ve curated a list of wonderful books to encourage multicultural awareness in your kids!

These books truly span the globe, from Mexico to India to Korea. Our family especially enjoys the books with English and Spanish words, like The Adventures of Mr. Macaw and Guillo, el Armadillo. Whether your family are native Spanish speakers or complete beginners, these stories are delightful ways to stretch your language muscles. 

Beyond language development, these books also teach the holidays and customs of other cultures. Kids will learn the significance of the Diwali holiday in Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali, and find out about India’s Festival of Lights. When you read The Yuckiest Lunch Box, it’s a great opportunity to talk about the role of food in family traditions around the world. This one is especially great for picky eaters, and may spark some curiosity in dishes from around the globe!

Diversity in literature doesn’t just mean books from other countries. Great multicultural titles also introduce readers to characters with disabilities. Different Like Me tells the story of three friends with different disabilities who discover, through a magical mirror, that they’re wonderful just the way they are. 

These titles are a wonderful start to family dialogue! Read together, then take time as a family to share what you learned, or what questions you still have. You could even start a book club with friends! I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as we have!

Asian Adventures A-Z: ABC through ASIA

multicultural picture books for kids

Can you name the Asian cities, food, holidays and others from A-Z?

Join us for a captivating journey through Asia! Each page highlights traditions and cultures of Asia’s beautiful countries. Traveling through cities and capitals, you will learn about a variety of foods, traditions, fashions and cultures across the continent.

The Adventures of Mr. Macaw

THE ADVENTURES OF MR. MACAW is a story full of imagination, magic, and wonder. It has colorful illustrations, featuring both English and Spanish on every page. This book strengthens reading skills with its bilingual format and is ideal for helping 4-8 year olds with foreign language comprehension. Parents and educators love it.

THE ADVENTURES OF MR. MACAW, LAS AVENTURAS DEL SR. MACAW: Featuring 38 pages of vibrant, beautiful illustrations, this 10″ x 11″ storybook shares the adventurous story two boys and their grandpa’s magical kite.

CLASSIC STORY FEEL: This tale, told in English and Spanish, captures a child’s interest, page after page, as it takes their imagination on a magical journey. Follow the adventure as Mr. Macaw gets swept away in a tropical storm in Mexico. The boys soon discover all is not lost and get to see the big heart of abuelito’s old village.

FEATURES: Families get to see Latinx characters featured in the book. With English and Spanish text side-by-side, this easy-to-follow bilingual story is an excellent resource for strengthening reading skills. With its unique format, this storybook for children is ideal for helping early readers with foreign language comprehension.

FAMILY STORYTIME: Reading bilingual stories together is a great way to bond with your child while also fostering communication, teaching them about diversity, understanding, and a lifelong love for reading.

Being Calm: Flutterpie's Yoga Adventures and Mindful Mantras (The Being Series)

Squeaky needs help when she’s bullied, so Flutterpie helps her out! Using yoga, she learns to stay calm and be more assertive.

That bully isn’t going to make Squeaky feel badly ever again! Can the butterflies convince the bully to join them?

Kindness, friendship, and Joy flow out of this book and into children as they read it and absorb the positive messages.

Being Calm will be a lifelong companion for helping your kids deal with difficult situations and handle their emotions diligently.

Different Like Me

Legend says there is a magical mirror that tells you what you are supposed to be. Three children with different disabilities head out on a quest to find this mirror. Once they arrive they realize the mirror only shows a reflection of who they already are. Their disabilities are what they have but it does not limit who they can be!

Where Do Mermaids Go on Vacation?

The mermaid friends are all together and ready to have lots of fun! Will they sing, dance, or build sandcastles? Or maybe collect sea glass and shells?

These magical creatures are ready for their own vacation. The mermaids have come together to enjoy all the fun and beautiful things the ocean has to offer. But with the whole sea at their fingertips, where will they go and what will they do?

With pirate ships, treasure chests, and underwater castles all on their list, they can’t wait for their own vacation to begin. Will the mermaids have even more fun, than they already do?

What will the mermaids see? And where will they go?

Where Do Mermaids Go On Vacation is a fun adventure sure to delight any child. If you or your child like mermaids, guessing games, and rhyming adventures, then you will love Kim Ann’s latest book in the Go On Vacation series.

Libby the Loving and Kind: Learning to Care for Animals

Empower your children to be determined, focused, and caring with this beautifully illustrated and inclusive book about caring for animals and the character we build along the way.

Filled with useful methods to practice self-control and self-mastery, Libby the Loving and Kind: Learning to Care for Animals seeks to elevate emotional intelligence through a charming story of an orphaned girl and an orphaned calf. This story enriches children by helping them to gain skills to overcome life’s challenges to care for their pets and practice deeds of loving kindness.

Join Libby, Farmer Martin, and Little Leo in their adventures to inspire loving kindness to foster a kinder and better world for all.

Sundays with Abuelita

Lovely moments with her Abuelita comfort Teresa while her mom is gone.

In this heartwarming picture memoir, Teresa and her younger sister stay in Mexico with Abuelita making memories out of wonderful moments.

Readers get a tour of Teresa’s quaint village that highlights Mexico’s rich culture and strong family bonds.

Amidst struggles and sadness, there is also love and childhood delight that children around the world recognize and appreciate.

Guillo,el armadillo (Nuestra Fauna) (Spanish Edition)

This is the second book in Nuestra Fauna series written and illustrated by award-winning author and teacher Andrea Olatunji. This series highlights animals that are native to the Americas while teaching important values.

Guillo the armadillo starts his week very excited to go to school but as the days go, he gets frustrated because he cannot meet the daily school challenges. He is either too short, too slow, or just unfit to do these tasks. By the end of the week, he is convinced that school is not for him and that he can’t do anything well. Later on, however, a surprising event reveals his unique talent.

This beautifully illustrated story inspires kids to discover and believe in their talents while teaching them Spanish in a fun and contextualized way. There is an educator’s guide to the book with lesson plans, project ideas, and guiding questions. You can find it at Cuentacuento.com

Let's Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! (Maya & Neel's India Adventure Series, Book 1)

You know about the 12 Days of Christmas. But do you know about the 5 days of Diwali, India’s Festival of Lights?

Go on an adventure with Maya, Neel and their cute little partner, Chintu the squirrel, as they learn all about this famous Indian festival of lights including Dhanteras, Diwali sweets, Rangoli drawings, fireworks and the special sibling bond of Bhai Dooj.

**New Release** Check out the accompanying Diwali 50-Activity Book for hours of fun & learning.

Maya & Neel’s India Adventures 10+ Book Series is written with the mission to RAISE MULTICULTURAL KIDS! We are Indie authors and 1st generation Indian immigrants, who have dedicated the past decade to spreading multiculturalism through our local dance & culture company as well through this book series whose extreme popularity has taken even us by surprise. You can follow our cultural journey on social media at Bollywood Groove and Culture Groove. To all our little and grownup readers: Thank You for supporting our work & mission!

The Yuckiest Lunch Box: A Children's Story about Food, Cultural Differences, and Inclusion

When Nari brings her traditional Korean lunch to her school, she doesn’t expect her classmates’ reaction… “Pee-yoo! It smells like someone farted!”

Feeling embarrassed and rejected, she asks her mother to make her American lunches from now on, only to discover that what makes her different is actually her strength! In this multicultural story of belonging and acceptance, Nari faces cultural differences, and learns to proudly embrace the beauty of her culture.

The Yuckiest Lunch Box” is a fun and unique diversity and inclusion story that shows the importance of looking beyond cultural differences and accepting one another, no matter where we’re from. This empowering and uplifting tale encourages young children to be proud of where they come from, and be curious about their heritage.

Kai The Missionary Sea Turtle | Kai la tortuga marina misionera: Bilingual Children's Book

bilingual (English-Spanish) Christian children’s book to teach children about missions from the perspective Kai the missionary sea turtle.

A book inspired by real life missionaries to inspire children to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone they know.

Children will enjoy reading this story over and over, while playing the jellyfish hide and seek game, learning the colorsgeographyanimal and instrument names in both English and Spanish.

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

Written By: Joanna Ho

 New York Times Bestseller and #1 Indie Bestseller

This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, and is a celebration of diversity.

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.

We Are Water Protectors

Written By: Carole Lindstrom

Winner of the 2021 Caldecott Medal
#1 New York Times Bestseller

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruptiona bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

Water is the first medicine.

It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth

And poison her people’s water, one young water protector

Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

Sulwe

Written By: Lupita Nyong'o

New York Times bestseller!
Featured in its own episode in the Netflix original show Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices!
Recipient of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award
Recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Literary Work

From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

The Name Jar

Written By: Yangsook Choi

The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she?

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.

21 comments on “The 15 Best Multicultural Picture Books For Kids

  1. What a fabulous list of books for kids. I will have to pick some of these up for friends who have small children.

  2. That is a great list of multicultural books. It’s good to introduce them to children early so they can learn about other cultures and other children’s worries etc.

  3. I love books that show diversity! These all look like great options for our next library trip.

  4. My 5 year old grandson likes books now that he knows how to read. These multicultural picture books would be great for him to have. I am getting some of these books for him.

  5. It is great to see such a wide variety of books for kids to read. My daughter loved reading all kinds of books when she was small.

  6. What a wonderful list! My granddaughter loves books. I’ll have to see which ones she doesn’t already have and get some of these for her.

  7. I have four granddaughters. It’s nice that there are these options available to them for their summer reading.

  8. I’ve never heard of these multicultural picture books before. I’ll definitely have to buy a couple of these to give as gifts to some of my friends with kids.

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