40 Multicultural Poetry Books for Children

with 9 Comments


Multicultural Poetry Books for Children


“A poem makes a sound when it is finished
like the click of the lid of a perfectly made box”

~ William B. Yeats



April is National Poetry Month! More poignant than prose, poems go straight to the soul. They fuel children’s imagination, promote literacy, and are a great way to express emotions.

Browse this list of multicultural poetry books for children for some inspiration!

40 Multicultural Poetry Books for Children 

Babies & Toddlers

Haiku Baby
by Betsy E. Snyder

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Haiku Baby

“In tickly-toe grass/a buttercup offers up/yellow nose kisses.” Told in traditional Japanese poem form, Haiku Baby celebrates baby’s joy of watching nature: A bird, a fish, a snowflake or a rainbow. Cute pictures and tabs for little hands to turn the pages make this an appealing poetry book for babies and toddlers. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers

The Swing
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: The Swing

“How do you like to go up in a swing / Up in the air so blue?” An adaptation of Stevenson’s poem, The Swing celebrates the joy of swinging: A multicultural bunch of kids swings under cherry blossoms, above plants or on their bellies like superheroes. With magical pictures and poetic text, this beautiful book will have your little one mesmerized. ~ Diverse – Babies & Toddlers



Caribbean Dream 
by Rachel Isadora

Children's Books set in the Caribbean: Caribbean Dream

“Where morning meets light, we rise. Where friends meet friends, we smile.” With expressive watercolour illustrations and lyrical text, Caribbean Dream celebrates the magic and the breeziness of the Caribbean. Happy children run, splash, sing and enjoy themselves on an island in the West Indies. ~ African – Preschool

More books set in the Caribbean: 36 Children’s Books set in the Caribbean

The Sun Is So Quiet
by Nikki Giovanni

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: The Sun is So Quiet

“Quiet . . ./ like a quilt on a feather bed . . ./ and frost on the window . . ./ we write our names knowing . . ./ the sun will melt them off. / But the sun is so quiet . . ./ that we don’t care/ we smile.” With bright illustrations, The Sun Is So Quiet is a collection of quiet and noisy, wintery and sunny poems, describing wonderful childhood memories, from tiptoeing through strawberry fields to licking chocolaty fingers and snuggling under warm covers. ~ African – Preschool

The World Is Awake: A celebration of everyday blessings
by Linsey Davis

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: The World Is Awake

“This is the day the Lord has made./ A butterfly floats through the sun and the shade, / while dragonflies flit past the flowers and trees / and grasshoppers hop in the soft morning breeze.” The World Is Awake is a lyrical, rhyming story that inspires young children to be thankful for all of God’s blessings that surround us in our daily lives. ~ African – Preschool

Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem
by Jorge Argueta

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Salsa

“I am ready with four tomatoes./ They are bongos and kettledrums./ The onion is a maraca./ Cloves of garlic are trumpets,/ and the cilantro is the orchestra conductor/ with his shaggy, green hair.” Two young siblings prepare a traditional salsa, singing and dancing all the while and imagining the ingredients to be parts of an orchestra. With gorgeous Mixtec-inspired illustrations in earthy browns, greens and reds, Salsa is a fun cooking poem for preschoolers. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

Daddy Calls Me Man
by Angela Johnson

Multicultural Children's Books about Fathers: Daddy Calls Me Man

Inspired by his parents’ paintings, a young boy creates four short poems about his family, one of them about his father. Rich oil illustrations from the family’s home studio introduce each of the sweet poems in Daddy Calls Me Man. “Big Shoes” is about the boys’ desire to have big running shoes just like his daddy. ~ African – Preschool

Honey, I Love
by Eloise Greenfield

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Honey, I Love

“I love/ I love a lot of things,/ a whole lot of things/ Like…” From family trips to the country to laughing with a friend and kissing her mother’s arm,  a young girl finds love and joy in the simple things. Honey, I Love is a recent anniversary edition of Greenfield’s classic poem, newly illustrated with warm watercolour illustrations. ~ African – Preschool

The Stuff of Stars
by Marion Dane Bauer

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: The Stuff Of Stars

“In the dark, in the dark, in the deep, deep dark, a speck floated, invisible as thought, weighty as God.” With lyrical text and the most gorgeous illustrations, The Stuff of Stars takes young readers from the void before the Big Bang to the birth of each one of us. In a seamless blend of science and art, this wonderful picture book reveals how we are all the stuff of stars. ~ African – Preschool

More science and art books: 50+ Multicultural STEAM Books for Children

My Village: Rhymes from Around the World
by Danielle Wright

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: My Village

My Village includes poems from 22 different countries, ranging from short and descriptive (“Swish your tail, whale / Spout your blowhole, whale”) to rhythmic and sensory (“Zick, zack, / Hour after hour, / Tick, tack, / Shower after shower”). Told in English and native tongue, they are brought to life by cheerful cut paper and textured paint illustrations. ~ Diverse – Preschool

I Am Loved
by Nikki Giovanni

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: I Am Loved

This beautiful collection of poems celebrates the importance to feel loved. With vibrant illustrations by Newbery honoree Ashley Bryan, I Am Loved sends this important message to young, old, parent, child, grandparent, and friend alike: You are loved. One page is mirrored, so young readers can see that they themselves are loved. ~ African – Preschool

More books about love: 12 Multicultural Picture Books about Love

A Pocketful of Poems
by Nikki Grimes

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: A Pocket Full Of Poems

Lively little Tiana loves words! “Look! Here’s a fresh/ green growing word./ SPRING. I plant it/ like a seed.”  A Handful of Poems is a playful homage to words. Two poems (one free verse, one haiku) on each double-page are set on fun, unusual collages of hand-sculpted letters on cut paper and found objects like denim cuts or pumpkin seeds. ~ African – Preschool





A Stick Is An Excellent Thing
by Marilyn Singer

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: A Stick Is An Excellent Thing

“School is done./  It’s a sunny day./ Goodbye, TV!/ Let’s go out and play!” A Stick Is An Excellent Thing is a poetic celebration of outdoor games children all over the world love. A diverse bunch of kids spends a summer day playing games outside, from hide-and-seek and hopscotch to making mud soup and using a stick as a magic wand. ~ Diverse – Preschool

black is brown is tan
by Arnold Adoff

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: black is brown is tan

“Black is brown is tan / is girl is boy / is nose is face / is all the colors of the race.” The first published picture book about a multiracial family, story poem Black is Brown is Tan follows two young siblings and their parents’ daily loving interactions.  This is an updated version of the 1973 classic. ~ African – Preschool

Find more picture books about multiracial families here: 70+ Picture Books about Mixed Race Families

Once Around the Sun
by Bobby Katz

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Once Around the Sun
“January – / when sleds flurry downhill / again and again. / September – /when yellow pencils / in brand-new eraser hats / bravely wait on perfect points.” With energetic illustrations and a dozen fresh poems, Once Around the Sun takes young readers through every month of the year, capturing the distinct clues and fun of every season. ~ African – Preschool

My Mexico
by Tony Johnston

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: My Mexico

“Little Gourds / drying on the vine / shaking like maracas / tlaka, tlaka, tlaka / keeping time to the whine / of wind / in Oaxaca.” In rhythmic poems and engaging pastel illustrations, bilingual My Mexico captures the warmth and idyllic feel of Mexican villages with their colourful houses, the scent of roses and chillies, and the sounds of corn shaking quietly in the wind. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

More books set in Mexico: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico

My People
by Langston Hughes

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: My People

“The night is beautiful,/ So the faces of my people./ The stars are beautiful, So the eyes of my people./ Beautiful, also, is the sun./ Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.” My People is a stunning photographic interpretation of Langston Hughes’ short but soulful tribute to his people. Acclaimed photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. paired the beloved poem with expressive sepia photographs of black people of all ages. ~ African – Preschool





Elementary School

by Juan Felipe Herrera

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: Imagine

In lyrical text, Juan Felipe Herrera describes how he grew up sleeping outside, moving with his family several times, and teaching himself English to becoming the United States Poet Laureate and reading his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. If he could do all of that . . . what could you do? Imagine is a poem of endless possibility that will speak to children everywhere. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Hip Hop Speaks to Children
by Nikki Giovanni

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Hip Hop Speaks to Children

This unusual poetry book is a New York Times bestseller and is included in The Booklist Tope 10 Art Books for Youth. Hip Hop Speaks to Children celebrates poetry with a beat in 50 well-known poems and songs, from Langston Hughes’ “The Negro Speaks Of Rivers” to Kanye West’s “Hey Mama”. The accompanying CD contains over 30 performances, either by the artists themselves or uniquely interpreted by other artists. Children will love this cool poetry book and will be encouraged to create their own hip hop poetry. ~ African – Elementary School

For a more in-depth review go to Multicultural Book of the Month #4

Confetti: Poems for Children
by Pat Mora

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Confetti

“I say yo soy libre / I am free / free, free, /free as confetti.” With a fun mix of English and Spanish, the poems in Confetti! celebrate the Southwest, children’s imagination and their connection with nature. The beautiful bright illustrations complement the poems perfectly. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Around the World in Eighty Poems
by James Berry

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Around the World in Eighty Poems

Around the World in Eighty Poems takes young readers on a captivating trip through the world of poetry. From Greenland to Kenya, from Chile to Nicaragua, the collection includes poems from 50 different countries, some lighthearted, some more serious. A wonderful multicultural poetry book for children that celebrates the richness of our world’s cultures! ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World
by Susan Hood

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: Shaking Things Up

This stunning new release introduces 14 trailblazing girls and young women who changed history. From 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, who helped end segregation, to 21-year-old Maya Lin, who had to defend her right to create a war memorial, all of these girls and young women were persistent in the face of great challenges. With fresh poems and beautiful artwork, Shaking Things Up is sure to inspire young girls and boys alike. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

More books about trailblazing women: 30 Diverse Children’s Anthologies About Trailblazing Women

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Hiawatha

“By the shores of Gitche Gumee,/ By the shining Big-Sea-Water/ Stood the wigwam of Nokomis/ Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.” With the most gorgeous, well-researched and detailed drawings, Hiawatha presents the part of Longfellow’s classic poem that deals with Hiawatha’s boyhood and how his grandmother taught him about the natural world. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

More Native American books: 32 Native American Children’s Books

Visiting Langston
by Willie Perdomo

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Visiting Langston

“Today I am going to wear/ My favourite pink blouse / I’m going with my daddy / To visit Langston’s house.” Visiting Langston is a tribute to Langston Hughes, African American poet and central figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Told as a poem from a little girl, this multicultural poetry book is stunningly illustrated with muted, dramatic mixed-media collages. ~ African – Elementary School

Ode to an Onion: Pablo Neruda and his Muse
by Alexandria Giardino

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: Ode To An Onion

Pablo’s friend Maltide takes the moody poet around her garden to gather food for their lunch. Where Pablo sees tension, darkness and sadness, Matilde sees love, light and hope. Inspired by Pablo’Neruda’s famous poem, Ode to an Onion is a poetic ode to friendship, a humble vegetable and unexpected beauty. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School


From the Bellybutton of the Moon
by Francisco X. Alarcón

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: From the Bellybutton of the Moon

“I face south / “blue” I cry / same color – / the sea, the sky.” Renowned poet Francisco X. Alarcón’s takes young readers on a trip to his childhood home in Mexico to learn about his grandma’s stories, his aunt’s tasty breakfasts , and the keys to the universe. Part of the ‘Magical Cycle of the Seasons’ series, From the Bellybutton of the Moon is a joyful collection of 22 bilingual summer poems . ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

From the same series: Laughing Tomatoes // Angels Ride Bikes // Iguanas in the Snow

I Am Enough
by Grace Byers

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: I Am Enough

“We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.” I Am Enough is a lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another. Every Black girl should have this simple yet powerful book by Empire actor and activist Grace Byers! ~ African – Elementary School

Bronzeville Boys & Girls
by Gwendolyn Brooks

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Bronzeville Girls & Boys

“I have a secret place to go. / Not anyone may know. / And sometimes when the wind is rough. / I cannot get there fast enough.” In 34 timeless poems, Bronzeville explores the dreams and experiences of different children in an urban neighbourhood in Chicago. Faith Ringgold’s expressive, colourful illustrations complement the poems beautifully. ~ African – Elementary School

More by and about Faith Ringgold: Author Spotlight: Faith Ringgold

A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks
by Alice Faye Duncan

New Black History Children's Books 2019: A Song For Gwendolyn Brooks

“Sing a song for Gwendolyn Brooks. / Sing it loud – a Chicago blues.” Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Gwendolyn Brooks’ passion was reading and writing. She ultimately published 20 books of poetry, two autobiographies, and one novel, and became the first Black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks celebrates the life and work of this witty poet whose poems captured the urban Black experience and the role of women in society. ~ African – Elementary School

I, Too, Am America
by Langston Hughes

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: I Too Am America

“I, too, sing America. / I am the darker brother. / They send me to eat in the kitchen / When company comes, / But I laugh, / And eat well, / And grow strong.” Winner of the Coretta Scott King illustrator award, I, too, Am America is a beautiful and inspirational picture book of Langston Hughes’s celebrated poem about equality. ~ African – Elementary School

by Yuyi Morales

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: Dreamers

This instant NY Times bestseller is another firm favourite of 2018! In lyrical text and with the most beautiful illustrations, Dreamers tells Yuyi Morales’ own immigration story. She left almost everything behind in Mexico and came to the US with her infant son in 1994. What she brought with her though were her strength, her passion, her hopes and dreams…and her stories. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

More books about immigration: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

One Leaf Rides the Wind
by Celeste Mannis

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: One Leaf Rides The Wind

“One leaf rides the wind. / Quick as I am, it’s quicker! / Just beyond my grasp.” In 11 haiku poems and with gentle paintings One Leaf Rides the Wind follows a young girl as she enjoys the beauty of a tranquil Japanese garden while having some counting fun. ~ Asian – Elementary School

More Asian & Asian American Children’s Books: 30 Asian & Asian American Children’s Books

A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems
by Paul B. Janeczko

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: A Poke in the I

A poke in the I is a fun collection of 30 concrete poems – visual poems that startle and delight the eye and the mind. A winking man pokes the letter “I” with his umbrella, a poem takes the shape of crows that fly off the page, another one becomes a balloon that is drifting away from outstretched hands. Includes tips and inspiration for writing your own concrete poems. ~ Diverse – Elementary School





My Man Blue
by Nikki Grimes

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: My Man Blue

“His leathery skin’s / Like indigo ink / This rugged dude / Whos some folk think / Looks fierce in clothes / Of midnight black.” In 14 heartfelt poems, My Man Blue follows the friendship that blossoms between Damon and Blue, a boy without a father and a father who has lost his son to the streets. A moving story, perfectly complemented by expressive deep-hued acrylic paintings.  ~ African – Elementary School

My Chinatown:One year in Poems
by Kam Mak

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: My Chinatown

“The fortune-teller sits outside, / huddled in her stool / buried in her coat, /  hat down over her forehead.” Acclaimed My Chinatown is a vivid homage to Chinese culture in the US. With richly detailed paintings the touching poems explore a Chinese boy’s experiences in his first year in Chinatown as he grows to love his new home. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Meet Danitra Brown
by Nikki Grimes

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Meet Danitra Brown

“You oughta meet Danitra Brown / the most splendiferous girl in town. / I oughta know, ’cause she’s my friend.” 13 individual poems blend together in Meet Danitra Brown to tell a story of friendship. The misty oil paintings show two proud, happy girls in a mostly grim urban landscape. ~ African – Elementary School

Poems To Dream Together
by Francisco X. Alarcón

Multicultural Poetry Books for Children: Poems to Dream Together

Poems To Dream Together is a vibrant collection of 17 bilingual poems about the hopes and dreams of individuals and families in California and Mexico. With boldly coloured mixed-media illustrations the poems touch on smaller issues as well as larger life lessons. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy
by Tony Medina

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy presents thirteen fresh glimpses into the everyday life of Black boys, from dressing in their Sunday best to running to catch a bus, and growing up to be teachers. Each of the tanka poems is matched with a different artist, including some recent Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award recipients. ~ African – Elementary School, Middle School

Martin Rising: Requiem For a King
by Andrea Davis Pinkney

New Picture Books about Black History: Martin Rising

This poetic and beautiful book looks at Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s life from an unusual angle. Through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning, Martin Rising provides a deeply emotional account of the final months and assassination of one of the most iconic figures in American History. Perfect for classroom use! ~ African – Elementary School, 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*


Multicultural Disney Toys Multicultural Games & Puzzles Multicultural Barbie Dolls
Multicultural Dolls & Puppets Multicultural Play Figures Multicultural Arts & Crafts

Multicultural Children's Clothes

9 Responses

  1. Patricia Nozell
    | Reply

    Terrific list! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Leah Mastilock
    | Reply

    Thanks for all the great ideas! I love reading poetry to my kids. They enjoy the rhythm and interpreting what poems mean. I think most kids now don’t hear nearly enough poetry so it’s really foreign to them when they need to study it in high school and they don’t enjoy it as much as they could.

  3. Nicholette
    | Reply

    What a cute and different list. You don’t usually see lists of diverse poetry lists. I’m going to have to check out some of these and get for my multiracial children. Thanks!

  4. This list is absolutely perfect!! I’m so excited for poetry month, and can’t wait to share a bunch of these beautiful books with the kids at my library! Poetry is by everyone, about everyone, for everyone!

  5. Marjorie (MWD)
    | Reply

    What a joy to see all these books together – some new to me, others definitely firm favourites. Of the new-to-me ones, The Swing has caught my eye, as I am using a setting of it with my children’s choir at the moment and so it would be the perfect diverse picture book to share with them in our storytime at the end of our sessions… and I love Julie Morstad’s work too!

    Thank you for sharing this with the Diverse Children’s Book linkup.

    • Colours of Us

      Thank you! Glad you found the perfect book for your choir storytime. The Swing is one of my favourites.

  6. I pinned this, and your other list you shared at the link up, so I can reference later!
    Thank you for sharing on Diverse Children’s Book Link Up!

  7. gayle swift
    | Reply

    What an inviting array of diverse titles. I’ve ordered several!

Leave a Reply