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Multicultural Children's Books

Reading books about a wide variety of families and cultures can help children gain a better understanding of individual and cultural differences. Children can learn to accept and appreciate human diversity and to realize that people share many similarities and common bonds, despite their various backgrounds.

The Morris Public Library has a large collection of books with multicultural themes. The books listed below, designed for preschoolers through 8 year olds, explore ethnic differences, cultural celebrations, and diversity in families.

"I am Korean American" discusses Korea's ancestors, their traditions, and successes. It also shows us Korean clothing, special celebrations, and food. By Robert Kim (from the Our American Family series which contains other good titles).

"Who Cares About Elderly People" shows us that elderly people may have challenges because of age, and that their abilities can vary. The book teaches children that they should not fear the elderly and that, even though they can do many tasks, they might need a little help once in a while. By Pam Adams.

"I am Hindu" describes Hindu history, geography, celebrations, traditions, and religion. By Devis Ayengar (from the Religions of the World series which contains other books exploring religion).

"Black Like Kyra, White Like Me" follows Christy and Kyra who are good friends at the Gymnastics Youth Center. Christy's friends and neighbors don't approve of their friendship because Kyra is black and the two are shunned at the neighborhood block party. Christy and Kyra are still friends in the end. By Judith Vigna.

"Taking a Walk 'Caminado' (A Book in Two Languages)" teaches English-speaking children about shapes in Spanish. It takes readers on a walk, naming what they see in both Spanish and English. By Rebecca Emberley.

"Our Teacher is in a Wheelchair" tells the story of Brian Hanson, a teacher at a child care center who is paralyzed. He can do many tasks, but also has many challenges. The children learn that his disability is not catchy, and that Mr. Hanson does very well. By Mary Ellen Powers.

"Itse Selu," called the green corn festival in Cherokee, celebrates the first corn of the new year. The story describes the food, music, and clothing at an Itse Selu festival and dance. There is vivid story telling at the end of the memorable celebration. By Daniel Pennington.

"Just a Little Bit Different" tells the story of a new critter in town named Zach who is half rabbit and half turtle. The other critters tease him. One critter becomes upset and talks to his parents. Then he decides that Zach isn't so different after all. By Gina Mayer (from the Little Critter series).

"Purim" tells the story of a special day in the spring when Jewish children dress as Esther and the evil Haman. A Rabbi tells the story of Esther and Haman in the Temple on Purimeve. During Purim people feast, play games, and have contests. By Miriam Nerlove.

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