20 Multicultural Children’s Books about school

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Multicultural Children's Books about school


It’s back to school soon! A perfect time to read some books about school with your children! From first day at preschool to the first school day in a new country, from fun times at school to conflict and bullying – the multicultural children’s books on this list cover a wide range of school related topics for children aged 3 to 13.

20 Multicultural Children’s Books about School


Rosie Goes to Preschool
by Karen Katz

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Rosie goes to preschool

Follow little Rosie as she shows you around her preschool! She introduces her teacher, her reading circle, her music class, her lunch table, and more. With gentle text and Katz’s signature bright illustrations of cute toddlers, Rosie Goes to Preschool is a reassuring picture book that will be a hit with children starting preschool. ~ Diverse – Preschool

It’s Time for Preschool
by Esme Raji Codell

Multicultural Children's Books about school: It's time for preschool

Another one to help ease children’s anxieties about starting preschool! It’s Time For Preschool is a cheerful (slightly wordy) book that introduces children to the world of preschool. They learn about having fun, making friends, playing games, singing, sharing, lunch time, nap time and more. ~ Diverse – Preschool

School’s First Day of School
by Adam Rex

Multicultural Children's Books about school: School's First Day of School

This recent release shows the first day of school from an unusual perspective. It’s the school itself that is going through first-day jitters.Will the children like the school?  Will they be nice? What will they do once they arrive?  School’s First Day of School is a fun back-to-school with charming paint-and-collage illustrations. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Sumi’s First Day of School Ever
by Joung Un Kim

It is Sumi’s first day at school in the U.S. The young Korean girl doesn’t understand English and experiences school as a scary, lonely and even mean place. But with the help of an understanding teacher and a friendly classmate, Sumi soon discovers that school isn’t so scary after all. Sumi’s First Day of School Ever is a thoughtful picture book, beautifully illustrated with soft oil crayon drawings. ~ Asian – Preschool

The Name Jar
by Yangsook Choi

Multicultural Children's Books about school: The Name Jar

Unhei decides she needs an easier-to-pronounce name. She tells her new classmates that she will choose a name later. The other children are fascinated by this no-name girl and try to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. After trying a few of those names, Unhei decides to stick with her real name. The Name Jar is an engaging story about being new at school from a different country and valuing your uniqueness. ~ Asian – Preschool

Rain School
by James Rumford

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Rain School

The children in a rural village in Chad, Africa, are excited. It’s their first day at school! They wonder whether they will get notebooks and pencils, and whether they will learn to read. But when they arrive, there are no classrooms. “We will build our school,” explains the teacher. “This is our first lesson.” Based on the author’s experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer, Rain School gives young children a glimpse into a very different school life. ~ African – Preschool

Ming Goes to School
by Deirdre Sullivan

At preschool Ming meets a diverse bunch of new friends, builds sandcastles, makes snow angels, traces, glitters, and glues. Recently released Ming Goes To School is a very sweet and reassuring book about starting preschool, perfectly complemented by soft, evocative watercolour illustrations. ~ Asian – Preschool

Elementary School

First Day in Grapes
by L King Perez

Multicultural Children's Books about school: First Day in Grapes

Every September Chico starts at a new school. His family moves up and down California picking fruits and vegetables. Not fluent in English, Chico often gets picked on at school but his first day in Grade 3 is different. His teacher is friendly and recognizes his excellent math skills, and his classmates accept him, too. When some older children bully Chico at lunch time he responds in a brave and creative way. Pura Belpré Honour Book First Day in Grapes tells a heartfelt story of inner strength and personal triumph. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

More Pura Belpré Award Winning Books: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2016

Suki’s Kimono
by Chieri Uegaki

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Suki's Kimono

Suki insists on wearing her favourite kimono on her first day back to school. It is a gift from her grandmother and holds special memories of her visit. When her classmates laugh at Suki, she wins them over by telling them about the street festival she attended with her grandmother and even doing an impromptu dance. Suki’s Kimono is a lighthearted story about being who you are, complemented by cheerful watercolour illustrations. ~ Asian – Elementary School

This Is the Way We Go to School: A Book About Children Around the World
by Edith Baer

Multicultural Children's Books about school: This is the way we go to school

“One by one or two by two / come along, it’s fun to do!” With fun rhyming text and colourful illustrations, This is the Way We Go to School explores the different ways children get to school around the world. Some children walk to school, others ride a bus. Children go by ferry in New York, vaporetto in Italy, trolley car in San Francisco, and helicopter in the Alaskan Tundra. Includes a world map. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

It’s Back To School We Go!: First Day Stories from Around The World
by Ellen Jackson

Multicultural Children's Books about school: It's Back To School We Go!

It’s Back to School We Go! tells 11 first-day-of-school stories from around the world. Elementary School children from Kenya, Kazakhstan, China, Canada and other countries describe their first day of school, and introduce their customs, foods, and family life. Includes a world map and a list of web resources. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Nasreen’s Secret School
by Jeanette Winter

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Nasreen's Secret School

Since her parents were taken by the Taliban, little Nasreen has not spoken a word. In a desperate attempt to draw her out of her shell of sadness, her grandmother sends her to a secret school for girls. Through reading Nasreen slowly finds her way back into life. Nasreen’s Secret School is a powerful true story from Afghanistan. ~ Asian – Elementary School

More books celebrating books and reading: 15 Multicultural Children’s Books celebrating books & reading

Katie Woo Loves School
by Fran Manushkin

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Katie Woo Loves School

For Katie Woo, school is just one big adventure after another. Her teacher, Miss Winkle, makes every day special, from taking the class on fun field trips to giving them exciting special projects. Katie Woo Loves School is a compilation of four early chapter books from the Katie Woo series: Make-Believe Class // Katie Finds a Job // Who Needs Glasses? // Moo, Katie Woo!  ~ Asian – Elementary School

Running The Road To ABC
by Denize Lauture

“Up and Down / Every Day / Morning Moon / Evening Star / Morning Star / Evening Moon / They run and run and run on the / Road to ABC.” Six Haitian children are running to school at daybreak, over the hills, through the fields, across the city square. With poetic text and bright folk-art style illustrations, Running the Road to ABC captures the joy and energy of children who are eager to get to school. ~ African – Elementary School

I’m New Here
by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Multicultural Children's Books about school: I'm New Here

Jin from Korea, Maria from Guatemala, and Fatima from Somalia are all new at their American elementary school. Each of them struggles to speak and write in English. With determination and the encouragement from peers and teachers, the three children feel more and more at home, whilst staying connected to their roots and cultures. I’m New Here shows how school communities can help immigrant children feel at home. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

More books about immigration: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Lailah’s Lunchbox
by Reem Faruq

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Lailah's Lunch Box

Lailah’s Lunchbox tells the story of a young girl who is excited to fast for the first time. But Lailah is worried that her classmates won’t understand why she won’t be eating lunch with them. With help from the school librarian and her teacher, Lailah overcomes her fears and makes new friends who respect her beliefs. ~ Asian – Elementary School

More books about Ramadan: 21 Children’s Books about Ramadan and Eid

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation
by Duncan Tonatiuh

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Separate Is Never Equal

Separate Is Never Equal tells the powerful story of Hispanic American Sylvia Mendez who was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school in 1944. With the help of the Hispanic community her parents filed and won a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success led to the end of segregated education in California.  ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

More books about inspiring women & girls: 26 Multicultural Picture Books about Inspiring Women & Girls

Our School Garden!
by Rick Swann

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Our School Garden!

“New city, new school. / What’s that? A school garden!” Michael feels lonely at his new school – until he discovers the school garden! “Taste a leaf, you ask?/Mmm, nice and tangy hot./So many ways to learn./Always work to do.” With richly textured mixed-media illustrations in earthy tones, Our School Garden follows Michael and his class as they enjoy planting, growing and eating their own food. ~ African – Elementary School

More books about gardening: 21 Multicultural Children’s Books: Growing Your Own Food

Middle School

President of the Whole Sixth Grade
by Sherri Winston

Multicultural Children's Books about school: President Of The Whole Sixth Grade

In this sequel to President of the Whole Fifth Grade, Brianna Justice is faced with the difficult task of raising money for a class trip to Washington D.C. She is up against fundraising failures, self-doubt, a classmate trying to run her out of office, and the fear of losing her two best friends. President of the Whole Sixth Grade is a fast-paced contemporary book that realistically captures the ups and downs of friendships in middle school. ~ African – Middle School

Save Me a Seat
by Gita Varadarajan

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Save Me A Seat

Ravi, who recently arrived from India, and Joe, whose best friend just moved away, both attend Fifth Grade at the same school. They each struggle in their own way to acclimatize to the new situation. Both being targeted by Dillon Samreen, the school’s biggest bully, Ravi and Joe try to take control of their lives together. Recently released Save Me A Seat is a heartfelt middle grade novel about fitting in and staying true to yourself. ~ Asian – Middle School

More middle grade novels: 21 Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

Multicultural Children's Books about school: The Absolutely True Diary

Aspiring cartoonist Junior leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school. Illustrated with poignant cartoon-style drawings,The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian is a touching and funny middle grade novel about the contemporary adolescence of a Native American boy. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Planet Middle School
by Nikki Grimes

Multicultural Children's Books about school: Planet Middle School

Joylin’s world seems to have turned upside down. After twelve years of just being who she is – playing sports with the boys and wearing jeans – suddenly her clothes seem all wrong, and all the boys and girls around her start acting weird. In short poems Planet Middle School captures the confusing world of Middle School. ~ African – Middle 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*


14 Responses

  1. Carolina
    | Reply

    Thank you for the different lists of books. We make weekly trips to our public library, and can only find a very small portion of the books in your lists. Do most parents buy the books online or at the local bookstores? Is there such thing as book swap groups? I just can’t imagine having to buy even some of the books at retail price.

    • Colours of Us

      Yes, unfortunately there isn’t a great choice of multicultural children’s books at most libraries. Maybe you could suggest some of the titles to your local library? Otherwise you can buy the books through my Amazon links (just click on the book titles). You usually have the option of buying the books used on Amazon, too.

  2. Cheryl Carpinello
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous list with the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  3. Naila Moon
    | Reply

    I reviewed Separate Is Not Equal on my blog. Great book.
    You have a wonderful list here and I appreciate you posting it on the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  4. Beth @ Pages and Margins
    | Reply

    What a wonderful list! I love that you’ve divided them up by age group. I particularly loved “Save Me a Seat.” Thanks for sharing!

    • Colours of Us

      My pleasure! “Save Me a Seat” is one of favourites on this list, too.

  5. diedre
    | Reply

    I love that you compile collections of books by theme. Thank you so much!

    • Colours of Us

      My pleasure! Glad you find my lists useful.

  6. Can’t believe it’s almost time for back to school! The schools in my neighborhood are about as diverse as they can be, with dozens of different languages spoken, and it’s great to have this diversity reflected in literature. Thanks for sharing these!

    • Colours of Us

      My pleasure! Glad you find my list useful.

  7. berta rosa berriz
    | Reply

    Wonderful List! I would like to add Running the Road to ABC by Denizé Lauture and illustrated by Reynold Ruffins. A Corretta Scott Kingg Award winner. published by Simon and Schuster. A story set in Haiti of six children who rise at dawn, cross the landscape eager to get to the schoolhouse.

    • Colours of Us

      Thanks for the tip! It’s gorgeous! I added it to the list.

  8. Kathleen Burkinshaw
    | Reply

    A fantastic list!

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