The 30 Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

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Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021


Following our list of The 100 Best Picture Books of 2021, here is our selection of this year’s best multicultural chapter books!

From family stories to adventure stories, from STEAM themed stories to mystery stories, these chapter books cover a wide range of subjects and feature a diverse range of spunky protagonists. Enjoy browsing!

The 30 Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Wind Riders #1: Rescue on Turtle Beach
by Jen Marlin

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Max and Sofia are ordinary kids whose lives are changed when they discover an abandoned sailboat. They’re given the chance to make a real impact when the boat magically brings them them to a different corner of the world to help other kids save their environment. Wind Riders: Rescue on Turtle Beach is the first book in an illustrated chapter book series about Max and Sofia’s adventures tackling real world problems. Each story visits a new location and introduces a human-made problem endangering animals and the environment. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books for Earth Day

Too Small Tola // Too Small Tola and the Three Fine Girls
by Atinuke

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021   

In a trio of droll stories, award-winning author and storyteller Atinuke debuts an endearing and enduring character with plenty to prove. Tola lives in an apartment in the busy city of Lagos, Nigeria, with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmommy, who is very bossy. With delightful illustrations, Too Small Tola is a charming chapter book series with a heroine who is every bit as mighty as she is small. ~ African – Elementary School

From the same author: Anna Hibiscus Chapter Book Collection

Cupcake Fix: A Branches Book (Layla and the Bots #3)
by Vicky Fang

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Blossom Valley is opening a new community center! But they need to generate buzz for the grand opening. Layla and the Bots know how to help: they will build a cupcake machine for the party! But will their invention be a piece of cake… or a recipe for disaster? With colourful illustrations, speech bubbles throughout, and a fun DIY activity, Layla and the Bots is an engaging STEAM early chapter book series young readers will love. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 50+ Multicultural STEAM Books for Children

King & Kayla and the Case of the Gold Ring
by Dori Hillestad Butler

King, Kayla, Mason, and Asia are playing in the snow. Later, Asia discovers her new gold ring is missing. What happened to it? Detective team King and Kayla are on the case! King & Kayla and the Case of the Gold Ring is part of a Geisel Honor Award-winning beginning reader series. With simple language and great humor, this mystery series introduces the important concepts of fact gathering, list making, clues, and analytical thinking. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 250 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Girls

Astrid and Apollo, Tae Kwon Do Champs
by V.T. Bidania

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Astrid and Apollo really want to win their events at the tae kwon do competition. They especially want to make their dad proud―and give him something to put on the family trophy shelf! But when things don’t go according to plan, the twins discover that there’s more than one way to become a winner. Part of an 8-book series, Astrid and Apollo, Tae Kwon Do Champs follows the Hmong American twins on their delightful adventures. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books for Children & Teenagers

Sophie Washington: Lemonade Day
by Tonya Duncan Ellis

Sixth-grader Sophie Washington wants to buy her mother something special for her birthday, but she’s short on cash. Her bestie, Chloe, comes up with the perfect solution. Build their own lemonade stand to raise money at the city-wide Lemonade Day. The girls add friends Carly and Nathan, and Sophie’s little brother, Cole, to their team, and decide to donate some of their earnings to a local animal shelter to help save stray animals. Things are going great, until an accident destroys their supplies. Can they save their business in time for the event? The 12th book in the popular series, Sophie Washington: Lemonade Day is a fun book about friendship, teamwork and entrepeneurship. ~ African – Elementary School, Middle School

More in the series: Sophie Washington Box Set

Ballet Bunnies #4: The Lost Slipper
by Swapna Reddy

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Millie and the Ballet Bunnies are going to see a live performance of Millie’s favorite ballet. When Millie loses her ballet slipper at the theater it’s up to the bunnies to find it before the curtain rises! But where could the missing slipper be? And who is the mysterious dancer that wants to help them….? The 4th book in this full-color chapter book series, Ballet Bunnies: The Lost Slipper features the most darling dancers you will ever meet! ~ Asian – Elementary School

From the same series: The New Class / Let’s Dance / Ballerina Birthday / The Big Audition

The Magnificent Makers #4: The Great Germ Hunt
by Theanne Griffith

NEW Multicultural Children's Books October 2021

When another riddle appears to transport Violet and Pablo back to the Maker Maze-to learn all about bacteria, viruses, and fungi, they find out why their classmate Aria is so nervous about Violet’s sneezing. Aria’s body has more trouble fighting off illnesses than their bodies do. Together they learn all about good and bad germs, and why staying home until you’re 100% recovered is really important. Like the first three books in the Magnificent Makers chapter book series, The Great Germ Hunt is filled with science, adventure, and characters kids will love. Includes two science activities kids can do at home. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 50+ Multicultural STEAM Books for Children

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend
by Dawn Quigley

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently than anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. It always seems like her mom, her kokum (grandma), and her teacher have a lot to learn—about how good Jo Jo is at cleaning up, what makes a good rhyme, and what it means to be friendly. Jo Jo loves her best friend Mimi (who is a cat) but feels she needs to figure out how to make more friends. Because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends anymore… Full of heart and humor, Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend is the first book in a new chapter book series that celebrates a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 100 Native American Children’s Books

Sky Watcher #5 (Jada Jones)
by Kelly Starling Lyons

Jada is excited to do a school project about her hero Dr. Mae Jemison, a former NASA astronaut and the first Black woman to travel to outer space. She even gets to pretend to be her for the presentation in front of her teacher, parents, and friends! But when Jada’s research reminds her how accomplished her hero truly is, she suddenly feels like she’s made a mistake. How can she portray someone who seems to have everything together when she feels like she’s falling apart? Jada Jones: Sky Watcher is the fifth book of this celebrated series perfect for STEM fans. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 50+ Multicultural STEAM Books for Children

Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots: A Graphix Chapters Book
by Marcia Thornton Jones & Debbie Dadey

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

The third graders at Bailey Elementary are so hard to handle that all of their teachers have quit. But their new teacher, Mrs. Jeepers, is different — to say the least. She’s just moved from Transylvania into a spooky old house in Bailey City. She wears a mysterious brooch that glows as green as her eyes. Could Mrs. Jeepers be a vampire? Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots is the first-ever graphic novel adaptation of Scholastic’s classic chapter book series. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers

Stella Díaz Dreams Big
by Angela Dominguez

Stella is happy as a clam in fourth grade. She’s the president of the Sea Musketeers conservation club, she starts taking swim lessons, and she joins a new art club at school. But as her schedule fills up, school gets harder, too. Suddenly the tides have turned, and she is way too busy! Stella will be in an ocean of trouble if she can’t keep her head above water. But with her trusty Sea Musketeers by her side, she hopes to make her big dreams come true! Based on the author’s experiences growing up Mexican American, Stella Díaz Dreams Big is a relatable story with an infectiously charming character. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Related: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico

Give It a Try, Yasmin!
by Saadia Faruqi

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Give It A Try, Yasmin! is a fun collection of four new stories about Yasmin, a spirited second grader who tackles every challenge with her head and her heart! Whether she’s helping to solve a recycling problem at school, trying to avoid a science fair fiasco, searching for a favorite lost book, or gathering her courage to join in the fun, Yasmin is always willing to give it a try! The escapades of Yasmin along with her multi-generational Pakistani-American family will delight and inspire early readers. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 15 Children’s Books set in Pakistan

The Questioneers Chapter Book Collection
by Andrea Beaty

Three cheers for The Questioneers! The Questioneers Chapter Book Collection celebrates STEM, the power of perseverance, and standing up for what you believe. This 4-book boxed set includes Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters, Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants, Iggy Peck and the Mysterious Mansion, and Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Also available: The Questioneers Picture Book Collection The Questioneers Big Project Book Collection

Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business
by Bree Galbraith

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Wednesday Wilson is an entrepreneur. She hasn’t started any businesses yet, but together with her best friend, Charlie (Wednesday’s future Vice President of Operations), and her little brother, Mister, she has made a list of potential businesses. But before they get to move forward on one, there’s an unfortunate incident in class involving a bearded dragon named Morten and a piece of kale . . . With a diverse cast of characters, Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business hits the spot for beginning readers. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 250 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Girls

To the Rescue: Geeger the Robot 
by Jarrett Lerner

Geeger’s best friend, Tillie, is having a bad day and he wants to cheer her up. But sharing snacks and jokes aren’t working. How will Geeger make Tillie smile again? For fans of the Bots books comes the adventures of Geeger the Robot whose best friend needs his help in the third story in a fun chapter book series that’s perfect for emerging readers! ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship

She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor
by Meg Medina

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in the history of the United States, but her road there wasn’t easy. She overcame many challenges along the way, including a diagnosis of diabetes at age seven. But she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dream and inspiring children all over the world to work hard and believe in themselves. She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor is an engaging chapter book biography that includes a list of ways that readers can follow in Sonia Sotomayor’s footsteps and make a difference. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Related: 55 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models

The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race
by Max Brallier

With his zombie-controlling powers growing stronger, Jack Sullivan and his buddies are road-tripping toward the mysterious Tower, where they must once and for all stop Rezzoch the Ancient, Destructor of Worlds, from descending upon our dimension. But their journey is sidetracked when they are swept up by the Mallusk, an enormous centipede monster carrying the world’s largest shopping mall on its back. Told in a mixture of text and black-and-white illustration, The lst Kids on Earth is the perfect series for any kid who’s ever dreamed of starring in their own comic book or video game. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers

Wishypoofs and Hiccups: Zoey and Sassafras #9
by Asia Citro

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Oh dear . . . when Pip shows up with a new look that’s just as much of a surprise to him as to Zoey and Sassafras, the trio knows something strange is happening in the forest. They retrace Pip’s steps only to see another magical friend change right before their eyes! It’s up to the team to figure out what is happening and how to change the magical animals back before things get any more serious . . . Each story in the delightful Zoey and Sassafras series features a new magical animal with a problem that must be solved using science. ~ African – Elementary School

Also available: Zoey and Sassafras Boxed Set: Books 1-6

J.D. and the Great Barber Battle 
by J. Dillard

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Just before the start of third grade J.D.’s mom has given him the worst home haircut. When the steady stream of insults from his peers becomes too much, J.D. takes matters into his own hands and discovers that he’s a genius with the clippers. His work brings him enough business to open a barbershop from his bedroom. But when Henry Jr., the owner of the only official local barbershop, realizes he’s losing clients to J.D., he tries to shut him down for good. J.D. and the Great Barber Battle is the first book in a hilarious new chapter book series, perfect for reluctant readers. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys

Camila the Baking Star
by Alicia Salazar

Camila and her papa enter a baking competition on TV. As they start their challenge, Camila is determined to take complete control of their challenge, strawberry-iced cake pops. But without teamwork, their dessert is a mess! Is it too late to become baking stars? Camila The Baking Star is one of four books in the charming Camila the Star chapter book series featuring an endearing protagonist and her Mexican American family. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Related: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey
by Erin Entrada Kelly

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

8-year-old Marisol Rainey’s mother was born in the Philippines. Marisol’s father works and lives part-time on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Marisol has a big imagination and likes to name inanimate objects, like the tree in her backyard she calls Peppina . . . but she’s way too scared to climb it. With black-and artwork and an  irresistible protagonist, Maybe, Maybe Marisol Rainey celebrates the joys of friendship, and the triumph of overcoming your fears. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 40 Filipino American Books for Children & Teenagers

The Scientific Life of Azaleah Lane
by Nikki Shannon Smith

Third-grader Azaleah Lane has been chosen STEM lab monitor for the week, but on her first day Harry the lab guinea pig gets out of his cage and escapes, and Azaleah has to figure out a strategy to locate where in the room he is hiding and catch him; but she also has another problem–how to get Terrance to listen to Rose, Jamal, and herself and work with the group on their Rube Goldberg machine project. The Scientific Life of Azaleah Lane is part of a fun series about the adventures of a spunky Black girl. ~ African – Elementary School

Also available: The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane / The Scrumptious Life of Azaleah Lane / The Dramatic Life of Azaleah Lane

Knight of the Cape (Definitely Dominguita)
by Terry Catasús Jennings

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

All Dominguita wants to do is read. Especially the books in Spanish that Abuela gave to her just before she moved from Cuba to America. One of her favorites, Don Quixote, tells of a brave knight errant who tries to do good deeds. Dominguita decides that she, too, will become a knight and do good deeds around her community, creating a grand adventure for her to share with her abuela. And when the class bully tells Dominguita that girls can’t be knights, Dom is determined to prove him wrong. With a team of new friends, can Dominguita learn how to be the hero of her own story? Definitely Dominguita is thefirst book in a new chapter book series featuring a young Cuban American girl. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Related: 36 Children’s Books set in the Caribbean

Mia Mayhem Rides the Waves
by Kara West

Meet Mia Macarooney, an ordinary eight-year-old who finds out that she is a superhero! In Mia Mayhem Rides The Waves, the eleventh adventure of the chapter book series, Mia goes on a super surfing family vacation. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Mia Mayhem chapter books are perfect for emerging readers. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys

Home Sweet Forever Home (The Invincible Girls Club)
by Rachele Alpine

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Lauren is a huge dog lover and is over-the-moon excited when she gets to go to the local shelter to read to the dogs. While there, she learns that the older dogs are often not adopted, so she and her friends set out to find them homes. Together, Lauren, Ruby, Myka, and Emelyn create a brilliant event, where attendees can eat delicious cupcakes while meeting adoptable dogs. But on the big day, it seems like everything goes upside down. Can the girls save the event and make sure their four-legged friends get a chance at their fur-ever home? Home Sweet Forever Home is the first installment of the relatable and empowering The Invincible Girls Club chapter book series—featuring backmatter with profiles on real-life animal activists! ~ Diverse – Elementary School

From the same series: Art with Heart / Back to Nature

Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister?
by Chitra Soundar

With three generations under one roof, Sona Sharma’s house is very busy. When Amma tells Sona that she is going to have a baby, Sona isn’t so sure if she wants to share her room or her things with a new baby, not to mention the attention of Amma, Appa, Thatha, and Paatti. But when she learns there will be a baby-naming ceremony, she’s determined to find the best name for her new brother or sister—one as nice as her own, a Hindi word for “gold.” Set in India, Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister? is a sweet tale of warming up to change. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books for Children & Teenagers

The Secret Explorers and the Plant Poachers
by SJ King

Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2021

Meet the Secret Explorers — a band of brainiac kids from all around the world. Everyone in this diverse group of young experts has a specialty, from the dinosaurs to volcanoes. Each action-packed story follows a character who gets chosen for a conservation-themed “secret exploration.” The Secret Explorers and the Plant Poachers follows biology expert Leah and history buff Gustavo on a mission to a forest in North Carolina where they work together with a botanist to protect the endangered Venus flytrap from being stolen by poachers. Includes fun facts, diagrams, quizzes, mission notes and a glossary. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

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