As you may have noticed, the number of diverse characters popping up on picture book pages is (slowly) growing. This is largely in part to amazing organizations like KidLit TV raising awareness. Additionally, this is because of people like you who intentionally choose multicultural books for the children in your lives.
Ultimately, I am working tirelessly to push for “diverse books” to be promoted in the mainstream. Publishing multicultural books is a political statement. Join us in becoming a children’s book activist and read these amazing books highlighting multiracial characters.
Below is a list of new multicultural and multiracial picture books that are must be added to your growing diverse bookshelves in 2018.
The Importance of Multiracial Children’s Literature
Multiracial families are the fastest growing population in the world. As parents and educators, I want you to find the best literature that reflects the wonderful and unique experiences of multiracial children.
Books with mixed race protagonists are representing a narrative where different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures collide. To be sure, the story of my two biracial daughters is not going to be the same as any other mixed child. However, having and exploring a world of books where families do not “match” in books is key.
Must-Read Multicultural Picture Books in 2018
Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham and Charles Waters uses a fictional setup to delve into different experiences of race in a relatable way. As two classmates work together on their fifth-grade poetry project, they don’t know each other… and they’re not sure they want to.
They explore topics such as hair, hobbies, and of course, family dinners. This relatable book gives you the words to address how to seamlessly integrate different cultures, family backgrounds in the classroom, on the playground, or simply anywhere.
I would encourage multiracial families to use this book to have courageous conversations about both the strengths and hardships of a multiracial family. However, this poignant book will help ALL children reflect on friendships, experiences, hardships, as well as unintentional microaggressions.
I love how the book does not end perfectly. Instead, there is an acknowledgment that Irene and Charles aren’t perfect friends. More importantly, however, they listen and keep asking questions. This is one of the MOST important issues as we navigate as a multiracial family.
Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship is published by Carolrhoda Books and was released on January 1st, 2018.
Mixed: A Colorful Story
In the beginning, there were three colors . . .
All special in their own ways, all living in harmony―until one day, a Red says “Reds are the best!” and starts a color kerfuffle. When the colors decide to separate, is there anything that can change their minds?
A Yellow, a Blue, and a never-before-seen color might just save the day in this inspiring book about color, tolerance, and embracing differences. Mixed: A Colorful Storyby Arree Chung is a perfect way to empower multiracial children to embrace their beautiful heritage that makes them unique.
Mixed: A Colorful Story is published by Henry Holt and Co. and will be released on July 3, 2018.
Two Problems for Sophia
In Jim Averbeck’s delightful first book, One Word from Sophia, spunky Sophia learns her manners and is rewarded with her One True Desire, her pet giraffe Noodle.
However, as they say, be careful what you wish for…
In this sequel, Two Problems for Sophia, persuasive and passionate little Sophia quickly learns her new pet comes with two giraffe-sized problems. Noodle’s two gigantic problems are causing a LOT of trouble in Sophia’s family.
Can a little creative experimenting save Noodle? Or will Sophia have to bid him adieu?
Once again, award-winning team Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail give little curly girls the opportunity see themselves reflected in a book that every child will enjoy reading.
Two Problems for Sophia is published by Simon and Schuster and will be released on June 12, 2018.
Pink is for Boys
Pink is for boys . . . and girls . . . and everyone! This beautiful picture book Pink is For Boys by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban helps children (and adults!) rethink gender stereotypes.
This book will empower kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. The illustrations help children recognize the multicolored and vibrant world they live in. Furthermore, this important story alludes to the bigger picture of encouraging children to be tolerant and learn empathy.
Featuring a diverse and multicultural group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages girls and boys to enjoy their unique passions.
From racing cars and playing baseball to loving unicorns and dressing up, this book is a necessary addition to every child’s bookshelf.
Pink is for Boys is published by Running Press Kids and will be released on June 5, 2018.
Luna Loves Library Day
In case you missed this book over the holidays, Luna Loves Library Day is about a beautiful multiracial (African-American and Caucasian) family. Author Joseph Coelho is one of the UK’s greatest up and coming poets to look out for in children’s literature.
Luna’s parents have shared custody. Since her parents live apart, Luna loves library day because it means she gets to spend time with her dad.
Exploring the shelves, they find adventure in every book. Furthermore, this is an inspiring story that shows despite the complexity of divorce, children will always be and feel loved. Charming illustrations from Fiona Lumbers highlight the wonder of libraries.
Luna Loves Library Day is published by PRH UK and was released on November 28th, 2017.
Raising Multiracial Children: A Parent’s Guide
To read more of our family story, Raising Multiracial Children: A Parent’s Guide explains how we raise our daughter to be resilient. Learn how we teach her to face inequality as well as racial bias as we move around the world as an expat family.
Long before we wanted to, we had to have courageous conversations. This was to help her learn how to respond as well as react. This way, she could protect herself physically and emotionally when she encounters a world full of people who will judge her solely on the color of her skin.
How to Get Children to Read More
Fact: Children will read more if they think the book is funny or interesting.
So, let’s give the kids in our lives a reason to read by being intentional with the books on our shelves.
By doing so, we can help them fall in love with life-long learning through the magical world of books. In turn, reading helps to fight uncertainty or even fear when it comes to learning about a different culture, a new food, religious beliefs, etc.
Take out the guesswork and give children the most colorful bookshelves possible. This way we can simultaneously raise global citizens as we raise readers. We invite you to join our multicultural literature discussion with educators, authors, as well as parents who share a wealth of expertise on a daily basis.
If you are reading this and thinking “I need to take an inventory of the books in my home/classroom”, phenomenal. When you finish, I have already created a list of wonderful books for every age just for you. I want to help you make an intentional and culturally responsive library full of diverse books that include biracial/ multiracial characters.
I would like to recommend this book for your post: Human Rights in Children’s Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law
Book by Jonathan Todres and Sarah Higinbotham