Multicultural Resources
This site is maintained by
Pam Petty
 The following table provides links to pages that contain bibliographies
of children's literature that reflect various cultures and ethnic groups.
Appalachian Books
African American 
Native American
Asian American
General Multicultural
Links to Multicultural Children's Literature Internet Sites: - The Children's Literature Web Guide - Multicultural Children's Literature - Kay Vandergrift's Children's Literature Homepage  - Multicultural Pavilion - K-5 Cyber Trail:  Multicultural Curriculum Resources - Walk a Mile in my Shoes.  - Children's Multicultural Literature Resource - Hootie Owl's Stories to Grow By:  Folk and Fairy Tales from Around the World - Children's Literature Site - Kay Vandergrift's Sensitive Issues Page - Beyond Good Intentions:  Selecting Good Multicultural Literature - Multicultural Book Reviews - A Webliography of Multicultural Resources - What is an authentic multicultural book?

http://www.ncbe.gwu/miscpubs/jeilms/vol15/crossing.html - Crossing Borders:  Multicultural Literature in the Classroom. - How to choose the best multicultural books. - Celebrating our nation's diversity. - Language policy and public knowledge. - Cultural diversity (great site - link to many others) - Albion's seed - Introduction to Border Culture.
    Multicultural Resources Web Page:  An online guide to multicultural resources sponsored by Golden Gate University Division of Student Affairs.
The Amazing Picture Machine at is a great way to search for photographs and illustrations using a unique search engine.
American Rock:  The Great American Melting Pot
Multicultural Resources for Children.  Welcome to the Internet School Library Media Center (ISLMC) Multicultural Page. The ISLMC is a meta site which brings together resources for teachers, librarians, parents and students.
Crossing Borders:  Multicultural Literature in the Classroom.
How to Choose the best Multicultural Books.
The best place to find books from all over the world.

Other Internet Sites Relating to Multicultural Education:

The Odyssey: World Trek for Service and Education: Goes around the world visiting 10 major non-Western sites. Volunteers document the experiences, lives and perspectives of local people with video, audio, photos and text. Updated often. A virtual, world-learning experience. A must visit site.

From the Odyssey site, this unit will explore what youths' lives are like throughout the world. Students also get a chance to present their ideas on what they think rights/lives should be like, as well as how they might go about improving the quality of life for global youth.

This ongoing project by iEarn allows students to interact with other international students and compare and contrast their cultures. The Teacher's Lounge will show you which countries are already involved in this collaboration.

Middle school students research traditions and holidays of other cultures. They then divide into groups to each take one month of the year, and create a cultural collage, with noted important holidays to their assigned culture. They can elaborate with monthly or daily quotes, etc.

With links to absolutely any country in the world, a fun quiz to show you how much you know (or don't know, as the case may be) about our little planet and cultures, and cultural traits to better understand each other.

Follow along an actual global trek, now traveling from Mali to Cairo, whereby the educators/trekkers will share their  observations about non-Western cultures and peoples as they travel around the world. Critical global concerns are addressed, giving students a chance to think about positive change from their own corners. Text, videos and audio are sent into the site at least twice weekly. You can view the agenda of this 2 year trek by looking at the orientation.  It really is an incredible site, and provides an excellent opportunity for your students (along with 1,ooo,ooo others already joined!) to do some virtual traveling to places they may never see otherwise, and understand each place's historical and cultural context. Students can also do inservice training through this program.
A teacher's guide is available at this site.

By use of email and the internet, teachers are able to create their own global internet project, reaching real-time partners in a learning and discovery project. This site will take you through the do's
and don'ts of creating such a project, with design process, implementation and evaluation.

Children can learn various counting games from around the world:  Japan, Greece, Africa and Colonial America. Further reading activities would enhance these games, while teaching something of the country of their origin.

With this program from the World Bank, secondary school teachers and students can collaborate, via the internet, with international developing countries for research, exchange, teaching and learning programs. Developing countries connect with industrialized nations. Some projects already underway include a Thinkquest program with Ugandan refugees, examining the importance of human rights
and refugees (lesson plans are also available at this project site; see sample projects). Another one from Peru is Literatura de las Americas. South Africa is running both a Global Teenager Project and a Jr. Youth Summit. Check for more projects under school Internet projects. Also worth looking into further are the resources offered for teaching, and global brainstorming sessions.

The following list of lessons is from the Peace Corps pages, Looking at Ourselves and Others.  They are produced to promote global understanding, and they support the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies:

There are numerous projects already in the works here for students to become involved in... take an interest in being active in world affairs, learn of other cultures, or simply meet other youth from other countries.  Some of the projects are: Planet Friendship; Stop Violence; Faces of War; an Urban Student Magazine; Youth Environmental Action-- many many more.

This non-profit, non-governmental organization seeks to open up cultural horizons to youth through an inter-cultural exchange program. The AFS organization started during WWII as the American Field Service; an unarmed group of American volunteers forming a front-line ambulance corps service in France. Since then, the group expanded exponentially, and continue by their exchange program for youth to provide an opportunity for global friendship--and a better understanding of each other's cultures. You may want to share this site with interested students and
their families.

Current Internet Sites Available for African American Multicultural Studies
    The Children's Literature Nook Presents A Teacher's Guide to Afro-American Children's Literature and History in the Classroom
    Tne Internet African American History Challenge:  Profiles of Some Important 19th Century African Americans
     Africa Online:  Kids Only
 Partial List of African American inventors. inventions and patent dates
African American Online Exhibit Homepage:  Profies of significant African American in Science, Medicine and Technology.
The African American Mosaic  A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture.
African American Children's Books:  Bright Lights.
Multiculturalism:  African American Resources.
The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences.
Martin Luther King's "I've Got a Dream" speech.

Short Biography of Nelson Mandela

Read 26 years of Mandela's letters, statements, and speeches
during his imprisonment:

New Year's Message, December 31st, 1998, by Mandela:

The Rise and Fall of Apartheid, by Donald N. Rollin:

History of South Africa and Apartheid:

While Kwanzaa is a relatively new festivity (created in 1966 by Dr. Marenga), it is gaining immense popularity as a way for African Americans to celebrate their history and culture. It starts December 26th, and lasts until January 1st. Each day a lighting ceremony  is followed by greetings (in Swahili) and discussion of one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The resources below will give details, activities and even lesson plans to celebrate and understand this celebration.

Each of the seven symbols of the Kwanzaa celebration represents one of the seven principles
studied, and one is discussed each day after the lighting of one of seven candles.  Find out the symbols, their meaning, the lighting ceremony, and the principles here.

A complete explanation of the celebration, its history, misconceptions, and traditions.

The "Muhindi" means corn, and is one of the seven symbols of Kwanzaa. A simple lesson of observation and discussion, it can be used in concert with any Kwanzaa discussion to better understand its meaning. Appropriate for elementary students.


Your students will enjoy naming a few of their favorite foods, etc. and then submitting them to receive back a Kwanzaa story instantly, starring themselves! Fun, and teaches some Kwanzaa customs at the same time.

A great, cross-curricular unit which teaches everything about Kwanzaa, while using all subjects, materials, etc.

All the background history is here, so you don't have to go researching. This unit is smaller than
the one above, and takes only 3 days. Lots of activities, appropriate for grades 2-3.

Perhaps to compliment the lesson plans above, students can easily design this workbook for Kwanzaa. Clipart is included.

Current Internet Sites Available for Native American Multicultural Studies  - game - Support Native American Economic Development -Statistics relating to Native Americans - Multicultural stories and tips for telling. - Major multicultural site with great links. - This is the homepage for the Multicultural Pavilion. - Native American site with complete stories. - Native American books. - Chosen as one of the top 20 educational sites on the web in April 1998. - Homepage for many Native American resources.

Christopher Columbus  (I tried to find several resources to get you started with your research on this topic.  I do not particularly endorse any of these and caution you to verify information found on the Internet.  A good source of information is Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1995).
    Examining the History, Navigation, and Landfall of Christopher Columbus
    Mostly written around the Columbus quincentenary in 1992 with about 700 (!) articles and papers.
    This page contains links to pages with information about Columbus. This page is part of the Discoverers Web.
    The following excerpts are from the book, Uncovering the Real Columbus, copywrited 1992.
    We are the proud & noble people who discovered Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. We were the very First Native Americans to receive "Glass Beads" from the Europeans. We are a noble  people who have proudly stood up for our Taino Native American Rights & Heritage. We did officially reorganized in the Caribbean & Florida and other parts of the United States, on November 18th 1993, some 500 plus years later and ...
    Christopher Columbus:  Man and Myth
    "Christopher Columbus is a symbol, not of a man, but of imperialism."
    Lesson plans for Columbus Day.
    Children's literature about Christopher Columbus
    The Christopher Columbus Controversy: Western Civilization vs. Primitivism
    Examining the reputation of Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus and his Voyages; Columbus Controversies
    1492: An Ongoing Voyage

 Current Internet Sites Available for Hispanic or Latino Multicultural Studies
    Spanish (Latin America) - images and language.
    Spanish (Mexico) - images and langauge.
    Resources for Spanish in the classroom.
    Spanish alphabet book developed by students.
    Cinco de Mayo.
    ESL homepage.
    Mexico City - National Geographic article (with photographs).
    Mexico - National Geographic article (with photographs).
    National Geographic:  LEARN MORE ABOUT MEXICO.  Perhaps you’re preparing for a trip, researching a paper, or learning about Mexico in your classroom. Perhaps you live in Mexico. Perhaps you just want to know more.
    Web site with many links to Mexico.

Current Internet Sites Available for Asian Multicultural Studies
    China - images and langauge.
    Japan - images and langauge.

Books that help Develop Understanding

Carter, Forrest.  The Education of Little Tree.  ISBN:  0-8263-0879-1.
The story of a Cherokee boy and his family.

Dash, Leon.  Rosa Lee:  A Mother and Her Family in Urban AmericaISBN:  0-452-27896-1.
True story of one black family's battle to survive.

Fedullo, Mick.  Light of the Feather:  A Teacher's Journey into Native American Classrooms and Culture.  ISBN:  0-385-47136-X.  Chronicles the author's unique journey into the heart of contemporary Native America, describing how one white man crosses the cultural divide to discover old and new values, the determination of the human spirit, and, ultimately, himself (back cover).

Kozol, Jonathan.  Savage Inequalities:  Children in American's Schools.    ISBN:  0-06-097499-0
Describes the situation many of our nation's students face in their schools.

Taulbert, Clifton L.  When we were ColoredISBN:  0-14-02.4477-8.
The author reflects on his feelings of community growing up in rural Glen Allan, Mississippi.

Thornton, Yvonne S.  The Ditchdigger's Daughter ISBN:  0-452-27619-5.
Inspiring story of a family who wanted all their daughters to grow up to be doctors.

Children's Literature
Diverse Lifestyles
Criteria:  Books that reflect the daily life activities of working, eating, schooling, playing, and socializing of people around the world.

Abdulla, Ian.  As I Grew Older.  Sydney:  Omnibus, 1993. ISBN:  1-86291-160-6  (Australia)
Describing his harsh Aboriginal life in Australia, the author provides descriptions and accounts of working, schooling, and trying to survive as a young boy in a poor family.

Ajmera, Maya and Anna Rhesa Versola.  Children from Australia to Zimbabwe. Mexico:  R. R. Donnelley and Sons, 1997.  ISBN:  0-88106-999-x (collection of photographs from twenty-six countries)
The differences among nations affect the daily lives of children, as the pictures and stories in this book show.  But children also have a lot in common, no matter where they live or what language they speak.

Angelou, Maya.  Kofi and his Magic.  New York:  Clarkson Potter, 1996. ISBN:  0-517-70453-6 (West Africa)
True to its title, this book is filled with magic.  Bringing to light many of the proud traditions and rituals of the Ashanti people, this story tells of a young boy's life and his talent of weaving Kente cloths.  The story of Kofi and his life invites everyone into his world and allows him to enter the reader's heart as a new friend.

Angelou, Maya.  My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me. New York:  Clarkson Potter, 1994.  ISBN:  0-517-59667-9 (South Africa)
Eight year old Thandi, an Ndebele girl in South Africa, tells her story and provides insight into her home, family, school, and culture.

Clark, Ann Nolan.  In My Mother's House.  New York:  Penguin, 1992. ISBN:  0-14-054496-8 (Native American)
 A young Tewa Indian boy describes the homes, customs, work, and strong communal spirit of his people.

Garland, Sherry.  The Lotus Seed.  New York:  Voyager, 1997. ISBN:  0152014837 (Vietnamese American)
 A story of hope and epiphany and the importance of family heritage. A lotus seed taken from Vietnam blooms years later in America.

Grifalconi, Ann.  The Village of Round and Square Houses.  New York: Little Brown and Company, 1986.  ISBN:  0316328626 (Native American)
A grandmother explains to her listeners why in their village of Tos the women live in round houses and the men live in square ones.

Hest, Amy.  When Jessie Came Across the Sea.  Italy:  Candlewick Press, 1997.  ISBN:  0-7636-0094-6 (Jewish)
A thirteen-year-old Jewish orphan reluctantly leaves her grandmother and immigrates to New York City, where she works for three years sewing lace and earning money to bring Grandmother to the United States, too.

Kendall, Russ.  Russian Girl:  Life in an Old Russian Town.  New York: Scholastic, 1994.  ISBN:  0-590-45789-6  (Russia)
Olga Surikova's life is described as she tells of her day-to-day activities, her schooling, and her hopes and dreams of the future. Vivid photographs give the reader insight into her life in Russia.

Kindersley, Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley.  Children Just Like Me. New York:  Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 1995.  (global) ISBN:  0-7894-0201-7
A celebration of children's differences and likenesses as they tell of their daily lives, hopes, fears, and dreams.  Photographs of the children in their native lands show homes, schools, pets, friends, and traditional dress.

Knight, Margy Burns.  Who Belongs Here?  Gardiner, ME:  Tilbury House, 1993.  ISBN:  0-88448-158-1 (Cambodian Americans)
This book describes the new life of Nary, a Cambodian refugee, in America, as well as his encounters with prejudice.  It includes a general history of U.S. immigration and details of the present conditions existing in Cambodia.

Kroll, Virginia.  Masai and I.  New York:  Four Winds Press, 1992. ISBN:  0-02-751165-0 (East Africa)
This book provides the perfect vehicle for African American children to feel the pride associated with their heritage.  The book depicts the Masai as hardworking, courageous, and dignified people. As a young girl in the United States compares and contrasts her life with that of the Masai in Africa, she feels pride and develops a greater appreciation for her African ancestors.
Lee, Milly.  Nim and the War Effort.  New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997.  ISBN:  0-374-35523-1 (Chinese Americans)
Set in San Francisco's Chinatown during World War II, Nim is a second generation Chinese immigrant who wants to do her part toward the war effort.  Issues of cultural discrimination, Chinese family structure, and patriotism are pertinent to the story.

Levitin, Sonia.  A Piece of Home.  New York:  Dial, 1996. ISBN:  0-8037-1625-7 (Russia)
Gregor has to make a difficult decision about what to take to America so that he can remember Russia.  He decides to take a blanket that he has had all his life and is pleased to find that the other half of the blanket belongs to his American cousin.

Rylant, Cynthia.  Appalachia:  The Voices of Sleeping Birds.  New York: Trumpet, 1991. ISBN:  0-440-84685-4 (Appalachia, USA)
Colorful descriptions of the people, pets, foods, religions, and rituals in Appalachia.  Insights into coal mining, quilting, outhouses, and the seasons give the reader a picture of life in the Appalachian Mountains.

Say, Allen.  Grandfather's Journey.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 1993. ISBN:  03-95570-35-2 (Japan)
Home becomes elusive in this story about immigration and acculturation, pieced together through old pictures and salvaged family tales.  Both the narrator and his grandfather long to return to Japan, but when they do, they feel
anonymous and confused.
Spier, Peter.  People.  New York:  Delacorte, 1980. ISBN:  0-385-24469-X (global)
With astounding facts about the number of people that inhabit this planet and the absolute uniqueness of each one, this book has an underlying theme of understanding and acceptance of people who are like us and those who are different. This book gives a powerful comparison that helps the reader visualize how much we would miss if there was no variety and diversity in our world.

Wheatley, Nadia and Donna Rawlins.  My Place.  Singapore:  Tien Wah Press, 1994.  ISBN:  0-916291-42-1 (Australia)
Set in Australia, this book starts by telling about the life of a young boy in 1988 and travels back in time two hundred years to describe life at several periods of time in history.  Family structure, political events, pets, and economic conditions are described at each juncture.

Family and Traditions

Criteria:  Books that reflect issues of intergenerational dynamics, family interactions, and traditions relating to holidays, death, birth, and marriage.

Chocolate, Deborah M. Newton.  On the Day I was Born.  New York: Cartwheel Books, 1995.  ISBN:  0590476092 (African American)
An African American family welcomes the new baby in a variety of ways.  Some are universal, but most represent the trend toward incorporating African symbols and traditions into current American life.

Cowen-Fletcher, Jane.  It Takes a Village.  New York:  Scholastic, 1994. ISBN:  0-590-29289-7 (Benin, Africa)
Based on the African Proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child," this is the story of how people in the village care for a young boy who is separated from his sister and must rely on the help of others to survive.

Jaffe, Nina.  The Uninvited Guest and Other Jewish Holiday Tales. New York:  Scholastic, 1995.  ISBN:  0590446533 (Jewish)
Seven stories for different Jewish holidays, with brief explanations of some of their rituals.  In a separate chapter,  Jaffe thoroughly explains her sources and includes information on the tales.  A glossary and a bibliography of recommended  readings are also included.
Kindersley, Barnabas and Anabel. Children Just Like Me:  Celebrations! New York:  DK Publishing, 1997.  ISBN:  0-7894-2027-9 (global)
A yearly calendar provides the reader with an overview of the major holidays celebrated in various cultures around the world. Photographs and interviews with children from several cultures are included to help explain the basis for the holidays and how they are celebrated.

Martin, Bill.  Knots on a Counting Rope.  New York:  Owlet, 1997. ISBN: 0805054790 (Native American)
In this story, the counting rope is a metaphor for the passage of time and for a boy's emerging confidence facing his greatest challenge: blindness.  The grandfather recounts the boy's birth and struggle for life as he tries to help the child face the future.

Miles, Miska.  Annie and the Old One.  New York:  Trumpet, 1971. ISBN:  0-440-84258-1 (Native American, death)
A young Navajo girl tries desperately to keep her grandmother alive by unraveling her weaving and distracting the old woman from completing her tapestry which symbolizes the end of her life's work.
Polacco, Patricia.  The Keeping Quilt.  New York:  Trumpet, 1988. ISBN:  0-440-83170-9 (Russian, marriage)
The story of a Russian immigrant and how she made a quilt of her clothes from Russia to remind her of her homeland.  The quilt served many uses for the woman's family throughout the years. The quilt was used as a tablecloth, a wedding huppa, a baby
blanket, and as a lap quilt for the old woman.

Shea, Pegi Deitz.    The Whispering Cloth:  A Refugee's Story.  New York: Boyds Mill Press, 1995.  ISBN:  1563971348 (Thailand)
Set in a refugee camp in Thailand, this picture book about a small Hmong child quietly tells of how her story cloth stitches reveal her parents murder and her escape with her grandmother.

Soto, Gary.  Too Many Tamales.  New York:  Putnam, 1993. ISBN:  0399221468 (Latino)
Maria tries on her mother's diamond ring while she helps her parents make tamales for Christmas dinner.  Convinced that the ring fell off while she was kneading the masa, she and her three cousins eat all twenty-four tamales, only to find her mother is wearing the ring.

Yolen, Jane.  Grandad Bill's Song.  New York:  Philomel, 1994. ISBN:  0-399-21802-5 (United States, death)
A boy asks his family members how they felt when his grandfather died and then shares his own feelings of loss.  The book shows how death is handled in contemporary U. S. culture.

Wing, Natasha.  Jalapeno Bagels.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 1996.  ISBN:  0-689-80530-6 (Mexican, Jewish)
For International day at school, Pablo wants to bring something that reflects the cultures of both his Mexican mother and his Jewish father.
Wright, Courtni C.  Jumping the Broom.  New York:  Holiday House, 1994.  ISBN:  0823410420 (African American)
A strong sense of community and optimism unites a slave family as they joyfully prepare for a wedding.  Special food, clothing, and a beautiful quilt add to the festivities.  (Horn Book)

No attempt has been made to evaluate the literary quality of each work nor its appropriateness in terms of cultural content. It is left to teachers to determine each book's appropriateness/relevance to his/her children and curriculum.

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