Most Nativity scenes in the Western world portray Jesus with white skin and golden-brown hair. But other cultures around the world have their own takes on the Nativity story, depicting Jesus as Asian, Hispanic or African for example.
These beautiful multicultural children’s books about the Nativity story will show children that there is more than just one interpretation of the Christmas story and what the Holy Family looked like.
12 Multicultural Children’s Books about the Nativity Story
Ituku’s Christmas Journey
by Elena Pasquali
A little Inuit boy sets out in his boat in search of the newborn king. Tired after many weeks on sea, he paddles to shore. When he shares a meal of bread and fishes with a man, his wife, and their newborn son, he realizes that he has found the king. Ituku’s Christmas Journey is an enchanting and delightfully illustrated version of the Nativity story. ~ Diverse – Preschool
by Laura Sassi
Mary and Joseph try to lull Jesus to sleep after his birth. But with itchy hay, angels’ joyful hosannas, and three kings bearing noisy gifts, it’s just too loud – until Mama gets everyone to work together. With rhyming text and cute illustrations, Goodnight, Manger offers a unique twist on the Nativity story little ones will love. ~ Diverse – Preschool
Who Built the Stable?
by Ashley Bryan
“Who build the stable / Where the Baby Jesus lay? / Was it built of bricks, / Was it built of clay?” Who Built the Stable?envisions a young boy, a shepherd and carpenter who, out of love and kindness, built the stable where Jesus was born. Inspired by a journey through Africa, the author chose an African setting for this moving nativity poem about kindness, hope and the true spirit of Christmas. ~ African – Preschool
by James Berry
“Your born-day is a happening day,” says Mary to Baby Jesus on his first birthday. “I’ll tell you your own own story./ First-how you began.” Set against a Caribbean background, Celebration Song is a jubilant poem about the Nativity story as well as an intimate portrait of Mary and Jesus as Mother and Child. ~ African – Preschool
Three Wise Women
by Mary Hoffman
A young woman from the west, a mother with her child from the south, and an old woman from the southeast meet on a mystical journey. They each follow the stars to a small stable where they find a man, a woman, and a new baby surrounded by rich presents. The three women bring humble yet meaningful gifts. Three Wise Women is a gentle and beautifully illustrated Nativity story with a touch of girl power. ~ Diverse – Elementary School
The Most Precious Gift
by Marty Crisp
A caravan follows the eastern star in search of the newborn king. Ameer trails sadly behind, wondering what a poor boy like him could possibly give to the king. Not even his beloved dog Ra can comfort him. But in the end Ameer’s gift of the heart outshines all the others. Told from the perspective of a child, The Most Precious Gift is a touching story about the true spirit of Christmas, brought to life by Cooper’s expressive artwork. ~ African – Elementary School
The Little Drummer Boy
by Ezra Jack Keats
A procession travels to Bethlehem, carrying their finest gifts to give to Baby Jesus. Too poor to bring a present fit for a king, a young boy plays a song on his drum instead. Beautifully illustrated with word-for-word text of the popular Christmas song, The Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas classic, complemented by Keats’ vivid artwork. ~ Asian – Preschool
Spirit Child: A Story of the Nativity
by John Bierhorst
Spirit Child is a dramatically retold version of the 400-year-old Aztec Christmas story. Brought to life by Cooney’s vibrant, folk-art style illustrations, this book offers the rare chance to experience the Nativity story as it was first told in the new world. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School
The Night of Las Posadas
by Tomie dePaola
Every year the procession of Las Posadas goes from door to door seeking shelter on Christmas Eve. But this year everything goes wrong: Sister Angie, who is in charge of the celebration, has to stay home with the flu, and Lupe and Roberto, who are to play Mary and Joseph, get caught in a snowstorm. Mysteriously, a man and a woman arrive in time to take their place in the procession and disappear at the end before they can be thanked. The Night of Las Posadas is a magical story of a Christmas miracle, complemented by luminous paintings. ~ Hispanic – Preschool
What a Morning!
by John Langstaff
Featuring a black Holy Family, What a Morning! tells the Nativity story in 5 Five exuberant spirituals, including “Mary Had a Baby,” “My Lord, What a Morning!” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain”. The strong, colourful paintings convey the joy perfectly. Includes simple arrangements for singing, piano and guitar. ~ African – Elementary School
A Child is Born
by Margaret Wise Brown
“Come, little sheep / O look and see / The baby is smiling / On his mother’s knee.” With simple, poetic text and spectacular paintings, A Child is Born offers a fresh perspective on the Nativity story, featuring a black Holy Family and a multiracial cast of other key characters. ~ African – Preschool
A New Day / Un Nuevo Dia
by Don Bolognese
A New Day/ Un Nuevo Dia is a timeless, modern take on the Nativity story, featuring a migrant couple that takes refuge in a garage having found no room at an inn. With mostly somber illustrations contrasted by radiant hues, this bilingual picture book is a realistic modern interpretation of the Nativity story. ~ Hispanic – 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 images*
Wonderful selection of books! I am searching for a durable, safe nativity set that reflects more diversity than the typical sets. Fisher Price, Playmobile, and others have the potential to change their whole set. They produce 1 secondary person in their sets to be a person of color. Any suggestions?
Colours of Us
Thanks for the lovely feedback! There are some diverse nativity sets on this list: https://coloursofus.com/100-multicultural-christmas-decorations-accessoires/
What a lovely collection. Most of these titles are new to me!
Another great list! Our music teacher teaches our students about Posadas, and I think it is great for them to learn about the ways other countries and other folks celebrate a “familiar” holiday. Thanks for sharing these with #diversekidlit!
Kioka (Miss T)
I really like this! I was looking for books to share at my church that have the nativity story with multicultural characters. I knew about Precious Gift and Who built the Stable?, but not the other ones. Thanks for Sharing!