Antiracist Activism for Teachers and Students/Literature for Youth/Selected Book Titles for Children

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We have included a list of books that we liked however there are a myriad of great multicultural books for children that are written and illustrated to provide a safe and creative space to learn about differences among people. Each one of the ten stories below explores a different culture: Guatemala, Hawaii, Japan, Africa, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, India, China, Haiti, Russia, Brazil, and Austria. It is important that teachers choose books that are pertinent to the group of students they are teaching.

Tricycle:[edit]

This story is set in Guatemala and explores the gap between rich and poor and consciousness. The young girl in the story learns about the responsibility of having so much more than the people around her. Beautifully illustrated in a magic- realist style, the story relies on feeling and intuition to make its point.

Punia and the King of Sharks[edit]

This is a Hawaiian folktale about a fisherman’s enterprising son. Lee Wardlaw takes the reader on a rollicking adventure as Punia cleverly outwits the sharks and becomes the hero of the island village. The illustrations capture the humor of the young boy who courts danger and triumphs over it.

Yoko[edit]

This story is about a girl named Yoko whose favorite food is sushi. Yoko’s mother packs a lunch of seaweed, shrimp, cucumber, rice, tuna, and red bean ice cream to take to school. However, all the other children in Yoko’s class laugh at her unusual food. Yoko’s teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, decides to solve the problem by having an international day so everyone can try a bite of different foods.

When Africa Was Home[edit]

This story is about a boy who has lived in Africa and, after retuning to the United States, the family misses the warmth and friendliness of their life in Africa.

Everybody Cooks Rice[edit]

This story about a girl, Carrie, who searches for her little brother, Anthony, so that they can eat dinner. Carrie samples each family’s dinner in her neighborhood. By the time she tracks down her brother, Carrie has discovered a world of rice dishes in her own backyard.

So Say the Little Monkeys[edit]

This story is based on a tale from the Brazilian rain forest about black mouth monkeys. The monkeys frolic through the Brazilian rainforest, swinging from vine to vine, and, most importantly, climbing the thorny tall trees.

The Empty Pot[edit]

This story is about a boy named Ping from China who loved flowers. The Emperor loved flowers too. When it was time to choose an heir, the Emperor gave a flower seed to the children in the kingdom and ordered them to bring it to him after a year. Ping plants his seed and tends it every day. Pings seed never grows. When spring comes, Ping must go to the Emperor with nothing but an empty pot. Ping’s embarrassing failure turns into a triumph as he is rewarded for his honesty.

How My Parents Learned to Eat[edit]

This is story of a girl who has a Japanese mother and an American father. It explains why some days her family eats with chopsticks and other days with knives and forks. This book will help children learn about making connections across cultures and valuing their own cultural identity.

William Tell[edit]

This story is about William Tell, his son Walter, and the tyrannical rule of the Austrian Emperor.