Check out this list featuring books with diverse characters, inter-cultural friendships, and stories about learning from each other, welcoming others, and respecting differences. Looking for more great multicultural books for kids? Participate in Multicultural Children’s Book Day on social media. Use #readyourworld to contribute your favorite books and book reviews.
Books For Babies
Friday’s Are Special by Chris Barash
Follow along with a little boy as he celebrates Shabbat with his large, diverse, family.
Happy, Happy! by Bar Bat-Shem
Bringing a child into your family includes countless happy moments. This book recounts many of them for the youngest of book lovers.
My Face Book by Star Bright Books
Babies adore looking at faces, and whether they’re smiling or frowning, all expressions are captivating. This book presents a variety of fascinating baby faces alongside some first Hebrew words and phrases.
Sammy Spider’s New Friend by Sylvia Rouss
When an Israeli family moves in next door, little Josh Shapiro and Sammy Spider learn about the mitzvah of welcoming guests.
Books For Early Readers
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards
This award-winning book follows the friendship of young Sophia and her neighbor Mrs. Goldman. When Mrs. Goldman feels a little bit under the weather, Sophia steps in with a special gift to make her feel better.
A Horn for Louis by Eric Kimmel
This story follows young Louis Armstrong as his neighbors help him acquire his very first instrument.
Across the Alley by Richard Michelson
Abe and Willie are secret best friends until Abe's grandfather catches them--will they have the courage to bring their special friendship out in the open?
All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown by Sydney Taylor
The sequel to Sydney Taylor's groundbreaking, All-of-a-Kind Family, this book follows Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, Gertie, and baby Charlie, on adventures through the Lower East Side of New York City.
Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater
When Yetta escapes her cage she finds herself in the big city. On her adventures she makes friends with many other animals and experiences new languages along the way.
Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff
Everyone in Goldie Simcha’s apartment building knows it’s Friday night when they smell her delicious Shabbat cholent. But one Friday night, Goldie doesn’t feel well enough to cook. Her neighbors step up to create a very special Shabbat potluck for the entire building to enjoy together.
Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup by Pamela Mayer
This adorable story follows little Sophie as she visits each of her grandmothers. She finds an ingenious way to use chicken soup to help her family understand they have more in common than they realize.
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty
by Linda Glaser
Emma Lazarus was raised in a wealthy Jewish American family in 1880’s New York City, where she was moved by the plight of immigrants. As a young woman, asked to write a poem to raise money for a pedestal for the proposed Statue of Liberty, she composed “The New Colossus” and so became the voice of the Statue of Liberty.
Gabriel’s Horn by Eric Kimmel
A stranger shows up unexpectedly at Gabriel’s house and he gives him an odd gift -- an old horn. But Gabriel and his family take good care of it.
The Legend of Freedom Hill by Linda Jacobs Altman
In Gold Rush times, two friends work together to earn the money to free the mother of one of the girls from a slave trader.
Maya Prays for Rain by Susan Tarcov
It's the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret and Maya is worried that her neighbors will be caught out in the rain.
Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco
At first glance it doesn't seem like Larnel and Mrs. Katz would have much in common, but the two develop a special friendship while taking care of a stray cat.
One Good Deed by Terri Fields
One good deed brings another good deed, no matter how small. Learn more in this colorful book.
The Only One Club by Jane Naliboff
As the only Jewish child in her class, a young girl not only learns that each person is unique but is able to share this understanding with her classmates.
Passover Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
Learn about the special customs that Jewish people all over the world incorporate into their Passover seders.
Rebecca’s Journey Home by Brynn Olenberg Sugarman
The Stein family welcomes a new family member--an adopted baby girl.
Shanghai Sukkah by Heidi Smith Hyde
When Marcus’s family moves from Europe to China in the 1930s, he doesn’t know any Jewish families like his. But when he makes a new friend, he’s able to build an unusual sukkah just in time for Sukkot.
Snow in Jerusalem by Deborah da Costa
Two boys living in Jerusalem--one Muslim, the other Jewish--are surprised to discover they’ve been looking after the same stray cat.
Tikvah Means Hope by Patricia Polacco
While preparing for the holiday of Sukkot, a flash fire in California leads neighbors to experience a modern miracle involving a little cat.
Yuvi’s Candy Tree by Lesley Simpson
Based on a true story, this book tells of Yuvi’s extraordinary journey from Ethiopia to Israel.
Books For Tweens and Teens
PJ Our Way, our choose-your-own book program for kids ages 9-11, also has some great books with multicultural content. If you have an older reader at home, be sure to check out:
The Storyteller's Beads by Jane Kurtz
Sahay and Rahel are all alone, traveling through strange and dangerous territory in Ethiopia, trying to reach Jerusalem.
Don’t forget to share reviews of your favorite PJ Library books with us on social media.
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January 26, 2017