Whether you are interested in researching children’s literature on multicultural families or using these sources with your own family, literature can be used to examine current representations of families and to teach kids about the diversity of families. In 2005 the ESSL posted a guide to finding children’s books about interracial families, including a short list of sample titles, which may also be useful. Additional resources include the Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s guides to Recommended Picture Books Featuring Interracial Families, 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know, 40 Books About Family, and Gay and Lesbian Themes and Topics in Selected Children’s and Young Adult Books. The CCBC is a research library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Bibliographies and Reference Sources
East, Kathy and Thomas, Rebecca.
Across Cultures: a Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children. 2007.
This bibliography looks at all areas of multicultural literature for children. There is a specific section on families, friends, and neighborhoods.
[Education 011.62 Ea773]
Emery, Francenia L. (ed).
That’s me! That’s you! That’s us! Selected current multicultural books for children and young adults presenting positive, empowering images. 2002.
Includes bibliographies on various multicultural topics, including a section on family.
[Education Juvenile Reference S.011.62 Em364t]
Turner-Vorbeck, Tammy and Marsh, Monica Miller (ed).
Other Kinds of Families: Embracing Diversity in Schools. 2008.
This book looks at multicultural families and discusses the need to reconsider how families are represented in school curricula. The chapters on “Hegemonies and ‘Transgressions’ of Family,” “Immigrant Families and Schools,” and “Doing the difficult: schools and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer families” may be particularly helpful. Each chapter also includes a bibliography of referenced books and articles.
[Education 371.192 Ot3]
Black is Brown is Tan. 1973.
Describes in verse the life of brown-skinned momma, white-skinned daddy, their children, and assorted relatives.
[Education Storage SE. AD71B]
A girl deals with having an extended family from different ethnic backgrounds.
[Education Storage S. Am12c]
Jin Woo. 2001.
Davey is dubious about having a newly adopted brother from Korea, but when he finds out that his parents still love him, he decides that having a baby brother will be fine.
[Education S Collection SE. B886ji]
My Family is Forever. 2004.
A young Asian girl recounts how she came to be part of an adoptive Caucasian family.
[Education S Collection SE. C197my]
Grandfather Counts. 2000.
When her maternal grandfather comes from China, Helen, who is biracial, develops a special bond with him despite their age and language differences.
[Education S Collection SE. C4212g]
My Family Plays Music. 2003.
A multiracial musical family with talents for playing a variety of instruments enjoys getting together to celebrate. Each member of the family introduces his/herself, the instrument, and kind of music played.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. C839m]
Black, White, Just Right! 2003.
A girl explains how her parents are different in color, tastes in art and food, and pet preferences, and how she herself is different too but just right.
[Education Storage SE.D311B]
Friedman, Ina R.
How My Parents Learned to Eat. 1984.
An American sailor courts a Japanese girl and each tries, in secret, to learn the other’s way of eating.
[Education Storage SE.F9142H]
Buffalo Woman. 1984.
A young hunter marries a female buffalo in the form of a beautiful maiden, but when his people reject her he must pass several tests before being allowed to join the buffalo nation.
[Education S Collection S.398.2 G538B]
Hallinan, P. K.
A Rainbow of Friends. 1997.
A story in verse about how all friends are special and valuable regardless of differences or difficulties, and about how everyone is part of one big family.
[Education Storage SE. H156r1997]
Iyengar, Malathi Michelle.
Romina’s Rangoli. 2007.
When her teacher asks each student to bring in something reflecting his or her heritage to display at an open house, Romina struggles over how to represent both her father’s Indian culture and her mother’s Mexican one.
[Education S Collection SE. Iy1r]
Horace, an adopted child, realizes that being part of a family depends on how you feel and not how you look.
[Education Storage SE. K282HO1994]
During a visit with her great-aunt, a young girl learns the story behind her name and learns to feel proud of her biracial heritage.
[Education S Collection SE. M7491h]
Jalapeno Bagels. 1996.
For International Day at school, Pablo, who comes from a racially mixed family, wants to bring something that reflects the cultures of both his parents.
[Education S Collection SE. W7262j]
Children Just Like Me. 1995.
Photographs and text depict the homes, schools, family life, and culture of young people around the world.
[Education Storage Q. S.779.925 C796C]
Children from diverse families share thoughts about their families and photographs.
[Center for Children’s Books Q. S.306.85 K958f]
How My Family Lives in America. 1992.
African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American children describe their families’ cultural traditions.
[Education S Collection Q. S.305.800973 K958H]
Gay and Lesbian Families
Brannen, Sarah S.
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. 2008.
Chloe is jealous and sad when her favorite uncle announces that he will be getting married, but as she gets to know Jamie better and becomes involved in planning the wedding, she discovers that she will always be special to Uncle Bobby–and to Uncle Jamie, too.
[Education S Collection SE. B7352u]
Molly’s Family. 2004.
While preparing decorations for Open School Night, Molly and several of her classmates draw pictures of their families. Molly is at first hurt when a classmate comments “no one has two mommies,” but she and her classmates discover that family means something different to each of them.
[Education S Collection SE. G167m]
Antonio’s Card. 2005.
With Mother’s Day coming, Antonio finds he has to decide about what is important to him when his classmates make fun of the unusual appearance of his mother’s partner, Leslie. This bilingual book is in English and Spanish.
[Education S Collection and Education Storage Q. SE. G589a]
Haan, Linda de.
King & King. 2002.
When the queen insists that the prince get married and take over as king, the search for a suitable mate does not turn out as expected.
[Education S Collection SE. H111k]
In Our Mothers’ House. 2009.
Three young multiracial children experience the joys and challenges of being raised by two mothers.
[Center for Children’s Books Q. SE. P756in]
And Tango Makes Three. 2005.
At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. R394t]
My Two Uncles. 1995.
Elly’s grandfather has trouble accepting the fact that his son is gay.
[Education S Collection SE.V683MY]
Daddy’s Roommate. 2000.
A young boy discusses his divorced father’s new living situation, in which the father and his gay roommate share eating, doing chores, playing, loving, and living.
[Education S Collection SE. W669d2000]
Waiting for Benjamin. 2008.
Alexander experiences feelings of disappointment, anger, embarrassment, and jealousy when his younger brother is diagnosed with autism.
[Education S Collection SE. Al797w]
Dancing with Katya. 2006.
In the late 1920s, Anna tries to help her younger sister Katya regain her strength and joy in life after she becomes crippled by polio.
[Education Storage Q. SE. C344d]
Sammy Wakes His Dad. 2000.
Sammy’s father, who is in a wheelchair, is reluctant to join Sammy in going fishing, until his son’s love finally moves him to action.
[Education Storage SE. Em67s]
Glenn, Sharlee Mullins.
Keeping Up with Roo. 2004.
Gracie has always had a special bond with her Aunt Roo, who is mentally disabled, but that relationship starts to change when Gracie begins school.
[Education S Collection SE. G487k]
Moses Goes to the Circus. 2003.
Moses, who is deaf, has a good time with his family at the circus, where they communicate using sign language. Includes illustrations of some of the signs they use.
[Education S Collection SE. M623m]
We’ll Paint the Octopus Red. 1998.
Emma and her father discuss what they will do when the new baby arrives, but they adjust their expectations when he is born with Down syndrome.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. St98w]