Monday, January 27, 2014

Kid Picks: Celebrating Multicultural Children's Book Day

The Magic Poof, ABC Kids, and City I Love - 3 of Our Favorite Multicultural Children's Books

Did you know today is Multicultural Children's Book Day? I love that Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book (two of my favorite blogs for kid lit suggestions) put their creative minds together to raise awareness about the lack of diversity in children's books and to highlight wonderful multicultural kid lit! 

Census data shows that 37% of the US population consists of people of color, but only 10% of children’s books published have diverse content. Mia and Valarie are leading the charge to change that, and so many other bloggers, like me, are joining in!

As a mother who has traveled extensively and met wonderful people from so many different cultures and who is raising children that have very multicultural/multiethnic backgrounds, finding children's books that highlight and/or celebrate the diversity of the world is very important to me. 

In honor of this fabulous day, I decided to highlight three of our families favorite multicultural children's books. I asked each of the boys to pick their favorite book. Their choices were no surprise. 

Caterpillar (2.5) selected The Magic Poof by Stephen Hodges, which we've highlighted on our blog a few times before. This fun book is all about Ange-Marie and her amazing hair (or poof)! It is a playful story with engaging illustrations that celebrates Ange-Marie's unique hair. I love that my sons are both drawn to an African-American female lead character, which is extremely rare in the world of kid lit. I also love that this book encourages children to celebrate whatever makes them unique. 

When we initially got this book this summer, Caterpillar was immediately drawn to it. I know many elementary school-aged children that love The Magic Poof, but my little tot loves it too! (Click this sentence to read our initial review of the book). 

Wild Thing (4) quickly selected ABC Kids by Simon Basher, a fun alphabet book featuring creative alliteration on every page. Plus, each page features a child and the diversity among them impressive (and rare in similar books I've seen). 

Fun illustrations of children of so many different ethnicities makes this book a big winner. We have probably checked this book out from the library at least 10 times now! (I think it's time for Mommy to finally buy it). Of children's book genres, alphabet books rank at the top of our list with ABC Kids at the top of the top!

Bonus share - while on the subject of alphabet books, I also have to recommend Kids Like Me...Learn ABCs by Laura Roney. This is another book we highlighted through our Weekly Library Series last year, a true gem of a book - rare and beautiful. Children photographed in the book have Down's syndrome. Plus, the book includes upper case and lower case letters and sign language for each letter. 

Now for my "official pick:" City I Love by Lee Bennett Hopkins, a poetry book for children that highlights eighteen different cities: New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Venice, Mexico City and many more -- absolutely multicultural and absolutely fabulous! This book serves as a great jumping off point to truly explore the multicultural beauty of the world, and then to discuss with your children which cities they love. 

We love discovering new books that celebrate multiculturalism and diversity, so if you've got a favorite we should know about, please share it! Leave me a note in the comments with a book or link to a post or pop over and share it with The Good Long Road on Facebook. I'll also pin books/posts to my Around the World with Kids Pinboard


  1. Thanks for the great list, I'm always looking for good multicultural books for us to read to our kids.

  2. Great list! Thanks for sharing AND being a part of MCCBD!

  3. Nice list! I have yet to read City I Love, thanks for sharing!
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks

  4. We are so thrilled to have you join us Jennifer for Multicultural Children's Book Day! Thank you so much for your wonderful book recommendations!

  5. I always enjoy your book recommendations. You have a knack for finding such gems! Thanks for sharing this list at Booknificent Thursday this week!