15 Multicultural Children’s Books based on famous songs

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Multicultural Children's Books about famous songs
 

Music is my daughter’s biggest passion! Even as a baby she always got super excited when we put music on. As soon as she was able to clap her hands, she’d do so enthusiastically, especially to songs from Bob Marley (which is why the Marley family features heavily on this list…)

These multicultural children’s books based on famous songs will have your little ones singing and dancing in no time!


15 Multicultural Children’s Books based on famous songs


Babies & Toddlers

This Little Light of Mine: A Collection of Joyful Songs
by Tiger Tales

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: This little light of mine

This Little Light of Mine is a colourful collection of favourite songs and poems. The book includes God references on every page and is therefore suitable for Christian families or in Christian settings. Some of the songs featured are: All Things Bright and Beautiful; Lord, Keep Us Safe This Night; The Animals Went in Two by Two; Jesus Loves Me; The Wise Man Built His House; He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands; This Little Light of Mine. ~ Diverse – Babies & Toddlers


Every Little Thing
by Cedella Marley

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: Every little Thing

Based on her father’s song ‘Three Little Birds’, Cedella Marley wrote this upbeat picture book. Every Little Thing reminds children that the sun always comes out after the rain and that mistakes can be forgiven with a hug. With exuberant pictures the book tells the story of one boy who won’t let anything get him down, knowing that “every little thing is gonna be alright.” Includes all the lyrics of the original song plus new verses. ~African – Babies & Toddlers


One Love
by Cedella Marley

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: One Love

Another one of Bob Marley’s most beloved songs adapted by his eldest daughter. One Love follows a little girl as she transforms her neighbourhood for the better. With the upbeat spirit of the original song this heartwarming picture book shows what can be achieved when we all get together with love in our hearts. ~ Diverse – Babies & Toddlers


I Love You Too
by Ziggy Marley

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: I Love You Too

Based on one of Ziggy Marley’s songs, I Love You Too is a sweet ode to parental love. The lyrics were inspired by a conversation with his 3-year-old daughter. Cheerful illustrations show loving family interactions in various settings, from playing in the park to drawing pictures and decorating the Christmas tree together. ~ Diverse – Babies & Toddlers


Preschool

Octopus’s Garden
by Ringo Starr

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: Octopus's Garden

“I’d like to be under the sea / In an octopus’s garden in the shade / He’d let us in, knows where we’ve been / In his octopus’s garden in the shade”. Octopus’s Garden, a classic Beatles song, comes to life in this colourful picture book. Includes a CD with a new music recording and audio reading from Ringo Starr. Your kids will wanna read, sing and listen to this gem over and over again!  ~ Diverse – Preschool


What a Wonderful World
by George David Weiss & Bob Thiele

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: What A Wonderful World

Sung by Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World is one of the most famous songs of all time. This reassuring book paints the picture of a hopeful world, from summery trees to sunny blue skies and positive scenes from around the world. Following a night-day-night cycle, it is also a sweet introduction to the colours of the day.  ~ Diverse – Preschool


What a Wonderful World
by George David Weiss & Bob Thiele

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs

Another one about the famous song, but with a different approach. In bright paintings What A Wonderful World depicts a diverse bunch of children – together with Louis Armstrong – as they perform a puppet show that brings the lyrics of the song to life. ~ Diverse – Preschool


Sunshine on My Shoulders
by John Denver

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: Sunshine on my Shoulders

Sunshine On My Shoulders – the song as well as the book – is an exuberant celebration of friendship, sunshine and the simple joy of being together. A little boy or girl (could be either, and could be based on Denver’s adopted African American son) and his/her dad enjoy a day in the sun together. The sunlit illustrations bring the famous song to life. The musical score is included, and the hardcover edition comes with a CD, too. ~ Diverse – Preschool


Happy!
by Pharrell Williams

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: Happy!

“Because I’m happy!” This must be the most cheerful and catchy song of the decade! Pharrell Williams’ super hit has been adapted into this picture book. Vibrant photographs of a diverse bunch of children capture the uplifting spirit of the song perfectly. Happy! will make your kids wanna get up and start singing and dancing immediately! ~ Diverse – Preschool


He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
by Kadir Nelson

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: He's Got The Whole World in his Hands

He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands brings one of America’s best-known spirituals to life. Kadir Nelson’s masterful paintings of a boy and his family as well as of vast landscapes emphasize the connectedness of people and nature. ~ African – Preschool


This Little Light of Mine
by Public Domain

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: This little light of mine

“There is / a light inside of you. / Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” This Little Light of Mine is an African American spiritual dating back to the days of slavery. Expressive illustrations depict a young black boy and warm family interactions. The score is included in the book. ~ African – Preschool


Let it Shine
by Ashley Bryan

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: Let it shine

Two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Ashley Bryan celebrates three famous spirituals: “This Little Light of Mine,” “Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” With colourful cut-paper collages Let it Shine is a joyful interpretation of these beloved songs.  ~ African – Preschool


This Land Is Your Land
by Woody Guthrie

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: This Land is Your Land

Woody Guthrie’s classic ballad is one of the best-loved folk songs in America. With beautiful detailed paintings This Land Is Your Land takes little readers on an unforgettable journey across the country, portraying the diversity of the land and the people who live in it. ~ Diverse – Preschool


A Song for Miles
by Tiffany Russell

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: A Song For Miles

Miles is a curious little boy. When one day he hears his father listening to soul music, he wants to know all about it. His father takes him on a colourful journey through famous songs by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye and other artists. A Song for Miles nurtures a love of music, all the while teaching the importance of having a good character . Available on Kindle only. ~ African – Preschool


Elementary School

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song
by Debbie Levy

Multicultural Children's Books based on famous songs: We Shall Overcome

“Back in slavery times / when enslaved people worked long days / with no pay and no say, / no freedom, no fairness, / no choice and no chance / the people sang.” We Shall Overcome tells the story of this famous song, from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement and President Obama’s inauguration. In free verse and with detailed mixed-media collages, this beautiful book pays tribute to this inspiring anthem for freedom and equality. The book concludes by showing how countries all over the world have adopted the song for their own freedom struggles. ~ African – Elementary School


*You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon USA, CAN or UK by clicking on the book titles or covers*

More multicultural books about music:

18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Jazz

Multicultural Book of the Month: Hip Hop Speaks To Children

Children’s Books about the Harlem Renaissance

26 Multicultural Picture Books about Inspiring Women & Girls


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11 Responses

  1. Stacie @ BeachBoundBooks
    | Reply

    I love the cover of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” It makes me smile every time I look at it. I didn’t realize there were so many children’s books based on these wonderful songs. I will definitely be sharing them with my grandkids. Thanks for linking this post to the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  2. Catherine @ Story Snug
    | Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this post, it brought back memories of songs that I had forgotten about!

    Hopping over from the kid lit blog hop.

  3. Marjorie (MWD)
    | Reply

    I love this list – wonderful to find so many books that just make you smile straight away! Thank you!

  4. Acorn Books
    | Reply

    This is a great list, what could be better than a mix of music and books!? I love the look of the Bob Marley books. We just got a copy of What a Wonderful World, the illustrations by Tim Hopwood are fabulous.
    #diversekidlit

    • Colours of Us
      |

      I agree, music and books are a great mix, especially when they are also multicultural books 🙂

  5. Jane
    | Reply

    Wonderful! I love singable picture books, they just make story time so much fun and really get everyone participating and joining in. Music really is such a universal language – our musical tastes might be different, but we’re all touched by music in our own way!

  6. sarah
    | Reply

    This is such a great list, my son has always loved our books that stem from songs.

  7. michelle
    | Reply

    This just makes me happy. I love music and the thought of a group of multicultural books based on songs we know and love is wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

    • Colours of Us
      |

      I really enjoyed putting together this list, too!

  8. Jo @ Jo Jacks Travel
    | Reply

    Great List – I love Bob Marley, and think my kids would too.

  9. Aysh
    | Reply

    This is great! I am pinning this for future reference.

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