Wed July 23 2014 23:22 PM

Topic: Bibliographies

20 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know

Book Image Book Image Book Image Book Image
I Love My Hair!
Halmoni and the
Tar Beach

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has compiled a list of important multicultural books.

Here is a list of the ones available in the Curriculum Library.  These will be especially useful for students in Edu 119, Human Relations.

Multicultural Books–Appropriate or Inappropriate?

Students in the Human Relations class, Edu 119, often ask library staff about finding multicultural books that are either appropriate or inappropriate for classroom use.  You will find many, many multicultural books for children in the Curriculum Library but it is up to each student to decide whether they are appropriate or not, using the criteria your instructor gives you.  Some of the points you may want to consider are:

When was the book written?  Is a contemporary book likely to be more culturally sensitive than one written 20 years ago?

Is the author part of the ethnic group featured in the book?  If that information is not available in the notes or bookflaps, do a Google search to find out more about the author.  If the author is not part of that ethnic group, has he or she done extensive research?  Are there sources listed?

Are the illustrations stereotypical or dated?

Is the language respectful or condescending?    Is negative language necessary for the development of plot or characters?

Are the characters stereotyped or individualized?  Some examples of stereotypes are: the noble savage, the lazy Mexican sleeping under a cactus, the loving black mammy. 

Here are some lists which may help you decide: “Multicultural Books 1925-1985,” “20 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know,” and “Multicultural Picture Books.”  The last one includes comments from reviews.  Print copies of these lists are available in the Curriculum Library.

Titles from: “A Sampler of Books to Invite Careful Listening”

The Curriculum Library owns several books listed in the booklist entitled “A Sampler of Books to Invite Careful Listening.”  They are listed below with the call numbers:

Dyer, Jane.  Animal Crackers; A Delectable Collection of Poems.  CL 808.81 Dye71a 1996

Fleming, Denise. Barnyard Banter.  CLX f PS 3556 L438b 2008

Greenfield, Eloise.  Honey I Love. CL 811 Gre46h 1986

Hoberman, Mary Ann.  One of Each.  CL Pic Hob47o 1997

Mahy, Margaret.  17 Kings and 42 Elephants.  CL Pic Mah95 1987

Riley, Linnea.  Mouse Mess.  CL Pic Ril49m 1997

Other books of poetry may also meet the criteria of  using language in a unique and original way, with an emphasis on word play or figures of speech.  Examples of poems in both Spanish and English are:

Argueta, Jorge.  Sopa de Frijoles: Bean Soup.  CL 811.54 Arg 84s 2009

Alarcon, Francisco.  From the Bellybutton of the Moon and other Summer Poems.  CL 811.54 Ala73r 1998

Alarcon, Francisco.  Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems.  CL 811.54 Ala73l 1997


Top 100 Children’s Novels

Interested in knowing what hundreds of blog readers consider the 100 Best Novels for Children?  Betsy Bird at Fuse#8 Productions is posting the results of a recent nationwide poll.  So far she has posted the results for books 91-100, 86-90,  81-85, and 76-80.  There are lots of readers’ comments,  excerpts from reviews and even some video trailers.  More will be coming soon.  Here are the links:





I hope these lists will inspire you to follow up and read some of the winners.  See if you see your favorites!  I encourage you to comment on the winners.


Fantasy Picture Books

Fantasy Picture Books

Realistic Picture Books

Realistic Picture Books

Leveled Books - 7th Grade

First Book Third Book

Leveled Books - 7th Grade

Leveled Books - 6th Grade

First Book Third Book

Leveled Books - 6th Grade

Leveled Books - 5th Grade

First Book Third Book

Leveled Books - 5th Grade

Leveled Books - 4th Grade

First Book Third Book Second Book

Leveled Books - 4th Grade
These books, levels 25 and 26, are primarily chapter books and nonfiction appropriate for skilled third graders and fourth graders at grade level.