Multicultural Books

Bridges, Ruby Through My Eyes

Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

Bruchac, Joseph The Warriors

An Iroquois boy known on the reservation for his talent at the sacred game of lacrosse moves to Washington, D.C., with his mother and grows frustrated with the misleading statements about Native Americans that his new lacrosse coach makes.

Choi, Sook Nyul Year of Impossible Goodbyes

A young Korean girl survives the oppressive Japanese and Russian occupation of North Korea during the 1940s, to later escape to freedom in South Korea.

Curtis, Christopher Paul Bud, Not Buddy

Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father–the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.

Creech, Sharon Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

With the help of her wise old grandmother, twelve-year-old Rosie manages to work out some problems in her relationship with her best friend, Bailey, the boy next door. (Italian American)

Curtis, Christopher Paul The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963

The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African-American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

Cushman, Karen Rodzina

A twelve-year-old Polish American girl is boarded onto an orphan train in Chicago with fears about traveling to the West and a life of unpaid slavery.

Ellis, Deborah The Breadwinner

Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women’s freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father’s arrest.

Erdrich, Louise The Birchbark House

Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.

Farmer, Nancy A Girl Named Disaster

While journeying to Zimbabwe, eleven-year-old Nhamo struggles to escape drowning and starvation and in so doing comes close to the luminous world of the African spirits.

Filipovic, Zlata Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s life in Sarajevo

The diary of a thirteen-year-old girl living in Sarajevo, begun just before her eleventh birthday when there was still peace in her homeland.

Hamilton, Virginia The Planet Of Junior Brown

“Newbery honor book”. Already a leader in New York’s underground world of homeless children, Buddy Clark takes on the responsibility of protecting the overweight, emotionally disturbed friend with whom he has been playing hooky from eighth grade all semester.

Jiang, Ji Li Red Scarf Girl

The author tells about the happy life she led in China up until she was twelve-years-old when her family became a target of the Cultural Revolution, and discusses the choice she had to make between denouncing her father and breaking with her family, or refusing to speak against him and losing her future in the Communist Party.

Kadohata, Cynthia Kira-Kira

Chronicles the close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the despair when one sister becomes terminally ill.

Levine, Gail Carson Dave At Night

When orphaned Dave is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys where he is treated cruelly, he sneaks out at night and is welcomed into the music- and culture-filled world of the Harlem Renaissance.

Lord, Bette Bao In The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

In 1947, a Chinese child comes to Brooklyn where she becomes Americanized at school, in her apartment building, and by her love for baseball.

McCaughrean, Geraldine The Kite Rider

In thirteenth-century China, after trying to save his widowed mother from a horrendous second marriage, twelve-year-old Haoyou has life-changing adventures when he takes to the sky as a circus kite rider and ends up meeting the great Mongol ruler Kublai Khan.

Namioka, Lensey Ties That Bind, Ties That Break

Ailin’s life takes a different turn when she defies the traditions of upper class Chinese society by refusing to have her feet bound.

Park, Linda Sue A Single Shard

Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge near a potters’ village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

Park, Linda Sue When My Name Was Keoko

With national pride and occasional fear, a brother and sister face the increasingly oppressive occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II, which threatens to suppress Korean culture entirely.

Ryan, Pam Munoz Esperanza Rising

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

Slaisbury, Graham Under The Blood-Red Sun

Tomikazu Nakaji’s biggest concerns are baseball, homework, and a local bully, until life with his Japanese family in Hawaii changes drastically after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Staples, Suzanne Fisher Shabanu: Daughter Of The Wind

Eleven-year old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, and must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father’s wishes.

Taylor, Mildred D. Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry

An African-American family living in Mississippi during the Depression of the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination which its children do not understand.

Taylor, Theodore The Cay

Philip, an adolescent white boy who is blinded in a torpedo attack at sea during World War II, acquires a new type of vision, courage, and love when he is stranded on a tiny Caribbean island with Timothy, a kind, elderly black man.

Uchida, Yoshiko A Jar Of Dreams

Eleven-year-old Rinko grows up in a closely-knit Japanese American family in California during the Depression, a time of great prejudice.

Whelan, Gloria Homeless Bird

Thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage and must either suffer a destiny dictated by India’s customs or find the courage to oppose tradition.

Yee, Lisa Millicent Min, Girl Genius

In a series of journal entries, eleven-year-old child prodigy Millicent Min records her struggles to learn to play volleyball, tutor her enemy, deal with her grandmother’s departure, and make friends over the course of a tumultuous summer. (Chinese American)

Yumoto, Kazumi The Friends

Curious about death, three sixth-grade boys decide to spy on an old man waiting for him to die, but they end up becoming his friends. (Japan)