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Topic: Cultural Diversity

Best Children’s Books about Cultural Diversity 

On this booklist we have picked some of the best books for primary schools to help promote cultural diversity. Books can act as both windows through which to see the world and mirrors for readers to see themselves reflected in the pages. The books on this list are selected to help children to see different cultures represented in the stories they read.

You can see our full range of Diverse and Inclusive booklists here.

Picturebook

The book is a part of the British Values series which explores tricky subjects such as democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance through fun illustrated stories. Each book includes teacher notes for discussing the theme of the story.

Li cannot wait for Chinese New Year to come around. There’s a lot to be done before Li’s family can enjoy the celebrations though: the house must be swept out to brush away any bad luck, there are lanterns to light and decorations to put up, and Li still has to decide which animal of the Chinese zodiac he is going to be in the school assembly. Join Li and his family flying kites and watching fireworks as they welcome in the Chinese New Year. Mantra Lingua’s Celebration Series of dual language books explores the way people from different cultures celebrate festivals around the world. Packed with recipes, facts, and activities, these beautifully illustrated books offer an invaluable insight into other cultures and traditions. In the classroom, these titles can be used to introduce students to religious festivals and ceremonies that they may not be familiar with. At home, the Celebration Series is perfect for teaching young children about family celebrations.

Picturebook

Siba and Saba are always losing something. Sandals, slippers, sweaters – you name it, they lose it. When the two sisters fall asleep each night, they dream about the things they have lost that day. That is, until one night when their dreams begin to reveal something entirely unexpected…

With playful illustrations and a lullaby-like rhythm, this heart-warming story set in Uganda is truly one to be treasured.

Winner of the prestigious ‘Best Emerging Illustrator Award’ from Booktrust, Levi Pinfold has created a wonderfully moving story of a young boy dogged by the attentions of his imaginary friend ‘Django’ who keeps getting him into trouble. Finally, the young boy has to banish his friend, but he misses him terribly. When his father gives Jean a banjo, he rediscovers the infectious enthusiasm for music that was the Django’s special gift to him.

Picturebook

When Gregory wakes up on his first day in Tobago with his grandparents, his heart sinks. The food is strange, the sun too hot, his cousin Lennox is on another wave length, and there are none of the televisions, video games and other high-tech gadgets that a cool city-boy takes for granted. How Gregory adjusts to the strange culture, and learns to enjoy the lifestyle of the Caribbean is enchantingly told and illustrated by award-winning author Caroline Binch.

Poetry

This exciting anthology of poems celebrates festivals all over the world. From Chinese New Year to Carnival, from Thanksgiving to Holi, and from Purnima to Diwali. with explanations of the festivals at the back of the book, and with colourful and atmospheric illustrations by Shirin Adl.

Chapter book

Jamal loves playing football, which isn’t easy if your goalie only has one leg and you keep having to dodge landmines to get your ball back. Jamal’s stubborn little sister Bibi is even better at football than Jamal. But girls playing football is against the law in Afganistan. When it is discovered that Jamal’s mother has been secretly running a school, the family must leave their home immediately and begin a long and dangerous journey to Australia. The children survive separation from their parents, hunger, and violent smugglers only to find that Australia isn’t as welcoming as they had thought but, even though they face an uncertain future, Jamal, Bibi and their parents know that as long as they are together, that is all that matters.

Picturebook

“Let me tell you a secret – if you have a heart song, anything is possible. Even magic!”

Kaya is looking for her heart song – the song that happy hearts sing. Her search takes her on a journey deep into the jungle where a broken down carousel waits for a very special song to make it turn again.

Graphic Novel

Azzi and her parents are in danger. They have to leave their home and escape to another country on a frightening journey by car and boat. In the new country they must learn to speak a new language, find a new home and Azzi must start a new school. With a kind helper at the school, Azzi begins to learn English and understand that she is not the only one who has had to flee her home. She makes a new friend, and with courage and resourcefulness, begins to adapt to her new life. But Grandma has been left behind and Azzi misses her more than anything. Will Azzi ever see her grandma again? Drawing on her own experience of working among refugee families, renowned author and illustrator Sarah Garland tells, with tenderness and humour, an exciting adventure story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Endorsed by Amnesty International.

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