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Multicultural Celebrations: 9 Diverse Children's Books to Get Excited about this Holiday Season

Updated: Sep 13


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links


The holiday season is fast approaching - oh how time flies! Before you know it, these wonderfully diverse books will be sitting on bookshelves everywhere. If these gorgeous covers are any indication of how engaging these stories will be, it's safe to say we have something to get excited about!


Whether it's gathering together after a big meal or grabbing a book just before bed, these picture books will make a great addition to any holiday celebration. Which picture books are you looking forward to adding to your bookshelf?


A cumulative all-holiday carol packed to the brim with family, food, love, and Black joy, especially perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, graduations, and all family celebrations.


Every holiday, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and neighbors come over to eat, sing, and celebrate life. But all our main character can think about is the sweet potato pie Granny makes just for her. As tables fill with baked macaroni and cheese, chitlins, and other sides a-steaming, she and Granny move the pie to keep it intact. The task becomes tricker as the room grows with dancing and card games and pie cravings. Just when all seems lost and there's no more pie, Granny pulls out a sweet surprise.


Written to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," Twelve Dinging Doorbells is exuberant. Author Tameka Fryer Brown's cumulative rhyme is impossible to resist, and the humorous details in Ebony Glenn's cut-paper collage will welcome readers to this party again and again. (October 18, 2022)

Purchase: Bookshop



An empowering holiday picture book by Meena Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ambitious Girl.

Amalia the Elf loves everything about making teddy bears . . .

Watching Grandma and Mama sew!

Feeling the soft, velvety fur!

Imagining the bears in their new homes!

. . . except the bear-making part.


Worried about disappointing her family, Amalia goes straight to Santa for advice. But it's Mrs. Claus who knows how to solve Amalia's problem--and who needs help with a secret of her own.


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Meena Harris, The Truth About Mrs. Claus is an empowering story about being true to yourself, honoring family traditions, and believing in Christmas magic. (October 18, 2022)

Purchase: Bookshop



Explore harvest festivals from around the globe! Lyrical, rhyming text and lush, detailed artwork from Italian artist Martina Peluso immerse young readers in some of the most ancient traditions in the world. Nine pages of rich, educational endnotes dive deep with more information about the 12 cultures explored in the book and invite young readers to ask questions about food and the labor that produces it. (September 20, 2022)


Purchase: Bookshop




Count along in celebration of Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, in this luminous picture book from bestselling mother-son duo Surishtha and Kabir Sehgal.


Count up to ten and back down again to the tune of "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" while learning about the traditions that make Diwali a fun-filled festival! Celebrated during autumn harvest, Diwali symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. From sweet treats to intricate henna designs to exciting firework displays, kids will delight in this vibrant glimpse into the Festival of Lights. (September 6, 2022)


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A little girl helping her grandmother prepare a holiday meal learns about the origins of soul food in this powerful picture book that celebrates African American cuisine and identity from an award-winning author.


Know what I like most about Grandma's kitchen?

More than jambalaya? More than sweet potato pie? Even more than pralines?

Grandma's stories! Every meal Grandma cooks comes with a story.

What will today's story be?


While visiting her grandma in Louisiana, nine-year-old Frances is excited to help prepare the New Year's Day meal. She listens as Grandma tells stories--dating back to the Atlantic Slave Trade--about the food for their feast. Through these stories, Frances learns not only about the ingredients and the dishes they are making but about her ancestors and their history as well.


A celebration of the stories that connect us, this picture book urges us to think about the foods we eat and why we eat them. This book was inspired by the author's own childhood and includes her family's very own recipe for pralines in the back! (September 6, 2022)


Purchase: Bookshop




Every other Christmas, I celebrate with my dad.

Sometimes I wish we could still be together.

But my favorite holiday is special, no matter who I celebrate with.


After his parents' divorce, a young biracial child spends every other Christmas celebrating the differing traditions between the African American and Colombian sides of his family.


The years the child spends Christmas in Illinois with his mother's family, he crafts with his cousins and grandmother and decorates the front yard with Grandpa. They put an angel on the top of the tree, which is decorated with all of the handmade ornaments Grandma has saved throughout the years. They shop at the mall, sit on Santa's lap, and sing "Silent Night" at Christmas Eve mass with the whole family.


During the holiday seasons he spends with Dad's family in Colombia, the family decorates Abuela's tree with crystal and glass ornaments, Papa Noel visits all of the cousins at Abuela's house, and they eat arroz con pollo, arepas, bunelos, and tamales for dinner (and you can't forget Abuela's silky-smooth cinnamon hot chocolate!). They enjoy a fireworks display the week before Christmas and sing "Noche de Paz" at Christmas mass.


No matter where he is for Christmas, he is surrounded by family, fun, and most importantly, love.


Every Other Christmas is a picture book that explores the heart, soul, and fun of Christmas. The narrative's parallel structure highlights how each family's celebrations are similar while showcasing their exciting differences. This book invites any child who reads this story to reflect on what makes Christmas with their family special. (September 20, 2022)

Purchase: Bookshop






Celebrate Christmas with this unique retelling of the Nativity story featuring Jesus as a melanated baby in a story that's rich with Scripture, historical accuracy, and a multicultural weaving of love--from the author of Crowned with Glory.


Like Moses, brown baby Jesus would be a deliverer. Like Rahab, brown baby Jesus would save His people from destruction. Like David, brown baby Jesus would rule as a great king. Like the colorful threads that make up a beautiful cloth, Brown Baby Jesus brings together the characters and stories leading to Jesus--showing how God included many races and nations in the story we celebrate each year.


With an unconventional Christmas setting of Egypt and written in sweet, lyrical prose, Brown Baby Jesus is sure to become a holiday classic embraced by families of all races and backgrounds. (September 20, 2022)


Purchase: Bookshop





Lily LaMotte, brilliant author of the graphic novel Measuring Up, an ALA Top Ten, has written her debut picture book about a special Lunar New Year feast. Perfect for fans of Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin and I Am Golden by Eva Chen.


It's almost Lunar New Year, and Chloe can't wait to celebrate! But first, Chloe and her family must prepare for the new year. They buy new shoes, lay out good-luck oranges in a bowl, decorate the red envelope, and make a crispy turnip cake. Everyone comes together to cook a fantastic feast, saving a plate for A-má, of course. Chloe enjoys the festive celebration and yummy food, but most of all, she loves spending time with her family.

Lily LaMotte and Michelle Lee have created a tender, warm, and uplifting holiday story about tradition and the importance of being with those you love.

The backmatter contains educational facts about the Lunar New Year celebration in Taiwan and a fun recipe for a yummy fortune cake! (January 3, 2023)


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A cat and dog create a Hanukkah miracle, just in the nick of time in this updated reissue of the beloved holiday classic.


The Menashes love latkes and applesauce during Hanukkah. But a blizzard begins and erases any hope that they'll harvest potatoes and apples in time. When a stray cat and dog show up, there's not a lot of food to offer them, but kindness prevails, and they're invited in. It turns out that the dog--Latke--and the cat--Applesauce--save the day. (September 27, 2022)


Purchase: Bookshop



Celebrate Hanukkah with a collection of funny and festive poems from the author of the hugely popular Kindergarten, Here I Come!


The candles are lit and the latkes are frying - Hanukkah is here! Welcome in the holiday with poems - and a sheet of stickers! - from author D. J. Steinberg that highlight the family fun, dizzying dreidels, and mighty Maccabee stories that Hanukkah is sure to bring. (October 11, 2022)


Purchase: Bookshop




Your turn! Which books would you add to this list? Let us know.




VIDEO READ ALONG


In this heartwarming tale inspired by her childhood, superstar chef and TV host Carla Hall shares the story of young Carla, who eats a sugar cookie meant for Santa on the night before Christmas and tries to make things right. Carla and the Christmas Cornbread




 

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