Thursday, September 17, 2009

Multi-cultural books for toddlers

Before I forget I thought I'd list a few of my favorite multicultural books. In an effort to present Peanut with a variety of books depicting kids of all colors, races and ethnicities, I'm constantly on the lookout for books and stories that are quality materials. Here's a sampling of what we've found recently:

Please, Baby Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
The story is simple and sweet and perfectly geared for a toddler or preschooler. Amazing illustrations. I want to find all the books by this illustrator. The colors are vibrant and the child is adorable.

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Beautiful story about all the everyday things that babies do - depicts babies of all colors from all kinds of families. Wonderful illustration of the many shapes and colors of babies as well as they families with which they live.

Where is Baby's Bellybutton? by Karen Katz
I love the simplicity of this book. In the board book format it only has about 6 pages total, but each one has a lift the flap and depicts children of different colors. My daughter has loved this book since she was maybe 6 months old. She's almost too old for it now (at 1 1/2) but many of Katz's works appear to be similarly illustrated and worth checking out.

Baby Faces by DK Publishing
This board book is a simple collection of baby photos paired with a word ("happy") or short phrase ("peek-a-boo"). Adorable. And babies love photos of other babies making this an almost sure-fire hit with little ones. Peanut *loves* this book. The words are too easy for her, but I think she's more interested in studying the photos and expressions on the faces of the babies.


  1. One that was a favourite with my oldest nephew when he was younger (and still being happily breastfed) is "Breastmilk Makes My Tummy Yummy" - can't remember the author but the person who gave it to me got it through La Leche League. It's a bit specific in terms of subject matter, but has great diversity in terms of the moms and babies in the pictures.

  2. Zoe loves Baby Faces! I also like Here are my Hands, by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault. It's a nice rhyming book about different body parts, each page is a different child doing something that has to do with a body part. I love the illustrations and all the different children. Plus, one of the boys is wearing glasses (but is pointing out his teeth).

  3. For slightly older kids (mine are 5 and 3) I love the 'around the world' series by Ann Morris. Not so much multi-cultural but good at raising awareness that there are lots of ways of doing things!

  4. This is such an important subject for me - I love "Baby Faces" and another one called "Welcome Song for Baby" that are full of photos of babies from many different cultures. We also came across one about spending time with Grandma that is full of photos of toddlers of different backgrounds doing different activities with their grandmas. The best part about that book is that some of the kids are of mixed race descent (like me! and my daughter!) and the grandmas and kids do NOT look like models/babies in commercials at all.

  5. Great list! I have all but the first, so you know I am going out to buy asap!

    My 2.5 year old still loves "Where is Baby's Bellybutton?" Now he acts it on his little sister though.

  6. Thanks for the suggestions, they sound like great books! We have "Baby Faces" and Bean loves it, too. :)

    I'm going to look at my calendar and email you! I am pretty sure things are about to really slow down here in the next few weeks, and we have more cupcakes to eat!!!