Culturally Responsive Books for Elementary Schools

Here is a list of inclusive books for elementary students. These books represent children from a variety of backgrounds, including different beliefs and ethnicities. I have made an effort to only list books that represent different people, and not those that deal with issues. 

We are seeing many new authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds, and their contributions to the book industry help us learn more about ourselves and each other. Let’s make our library collections more representative of the children in our communities, both locally and globally.

~ Maria Martella

[For more themed lists, please check our Lists Page, or create your own using our search function.]

Book cover of P IS FOR POPPADOMS
P IS FOR POPPADOMS
By: kabir sehgal | Published: November 2019

From New York Times bestselling authors Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal comes a charming and unique alphabet book celebrating the rich culture, deli...

From New York Times bestselling authors Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal comes a charming and unique alphabet book celebrating the rich culture, delicious foods, and fascinating animals of India. From C for chai to Y for yoga, this fresh alphabet book takes young readers on a spirited journey to discover the people, places, lifestyles, and language of India. Lush illustrations from debut illustrator Hazel Ito bring to life the beauty, wonder, and diversity of this vast and vibrant country.

Theme: Diversity, India

  • ISBN
    9781534421721
  • Binding
    Hardcover
  • Category
    Concepts
List Price:
$23.99
Discount:
$4.80
Your Price:
$19.19
Quantity:
Book cover of WORLD OF MINDFULNESS
WORLD OF MINDFULNESS
By: erin alladin | Published: October 2020

From the creators of A World of Kindness, a meditative, sensory picture book with arresting art from fourteen illustrators featuring several exciting ...

From the creators of A World of Kindness, a meditative, sensory picture book with arresting art from fourteen illustrators featuring several exciting new artists

Theme: Mindfulness, Diversity

  • ISBN
    9781772781380
  • Binding
    Hardcover Canadian
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$19.95
Discount:
$3.99
Your Price:
$15.96
Quantity:
Book cover of MIRA'S CURLY HAIR
MIRA'S CURLY HAIR
By: maryam alserkal | Published: April 2019

Mira doesn't like her hair. It curls at the front. It curls at the back. It curls everywhere! She wants it to be straight and smooth, just like her Ma...

Mira doesn't like her hair. It curls at the front. It curls at the back. It curls everywhere! She wants it to be straight and smooth, just like her Mama's. But then something unpredictable happens . . . and Mira will never look at her mama's hair the same way again! A delightful celebration of natural hair and the courage it takes to be yourself.

Theme: Diversity

  • ISBN
    9781911373612
  • Binding
    Hardcover
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$25.99
Discount:
$5.20
Your Price:
$20.79
Quantity:
Book cover of MY FRIEND
MY FRIEND
By: elisa amado | Published: October 2019

Friendship -- to be known, to be accepted as you are, to feel safe, especially when you are vulnerable. The girl in this story has recently arrived in...

Friendship -- to be known, to be accepted as you are, to feel safe, especially when you are vulnerable. The girl in this story has recently arrived in Brooklyn with her family. On her very first day at school she meets a girl who almost instantly becomes her very best friend. She feels known, loved and accepted by her. But when she invites her friend to come for dinner with her family -- a family that feels free to eat weird food and, even worse, burst into song with their version of a sentimental classic of longing and homesickness -- something shifts and she no longer feels safe at all. What will it be like tomorrow at school? Award-winning illustrator Alfonso Ruano's art beautifully depicts the depth of feeling that the friends experience in this story from acclaimed author and translator Elisa Amado, about how difficult it is to come from somewhere else and what a difference friendship can make.

Theme: Immigration, Diversity

  • ISBN
    9781554989393
  • Binding
    Hardcover Canadian
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$18.95
Discount:
$3.79
Your Price:
$15.16
Quantity:
Book cover of PENCIL
PENCIL
By: susan avingaq | Published: April 2019

Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has one precious pencil, and she keeps ...

Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has one precious pencil, and she keeps it safe in her box for special things. One afternoon, their mother leaves the iglu to help a neighbour, and Susan, Rebecca, and their brother Peter are left with their father. They play all their regular games but are soon out of things to do — until their father brings out the pencil! As Susan draws and draws, the pencil grows shorter and shorter. What will their mother think when she comes home? Based on author Susan Avingaq’s childhood memories of growing up in an iglu, this charming story introduces young readers to the idea of using things wisely.

Theme: Indigenous

  • ISBN
    9781772272161
  • Binding
    Hardcover Canadian
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$16.95
Discount:
$3.39
Your Price:
$13.56
Quantity:
Book cover of WHEN I FOUND GRANDMA
WHEN I FOUND GRANDMA
By: s balasubramaniam | Published: March 2019

When Maya's grandma makes a surprise visit from thousands of miles away, Maya is delighted. But her excitement doesn't last long. When Grandma picks h...

When Maya's grandma makes a surprise visit from thousands of miles away, Maya is delighted. But her excitement doesn't last long. When Grandma picks her up from school, she wears fancy clothes and talks too loudly. Grandma's morning prayer bells wake Maya up, and she cooks with ingredients Maya doesn't usually eat. Plus, Maya thinks cupcakes taste better than Grandma's homemade sweets. Maya and Grandma try to compromise, and on a special trip to the island Grandma even wears an "all-American" baseball cap. But when Maya rushes off to find the carousel, she loses sight of her mother, father and grandmother. She is alone in a sea of people - until she spots something bobbing above the crowd, and right away she knows how to find her way. Saumiya Balasubramaniam's story is an insightful and endearing portrayal of a grandparent-grandchild relationship that is evolving and deeply loving, as Maya and Grandma navigate cross-cultural contexts and generational differences. Qin Leng's sweet, evocative illustrations complement the story and illuminate Grandma and Maya's growing closeness.

Theme: Diversity, Asian Heritage, India

  • ISBN
    9781773060187
  • Binding
    Hardcover Canadian
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$17.95
Discount:
$3.59
Your Price:
$14.36
Quantity:
Book cover of 2 DROPS OF BROWN IN A CLOUD OF WHITE
2 DROPS OF BROWN IN A CLOUD OF WHITE
By: s balasubramaniam | Published: November 2020

A child's joy on a snowy day finally helps her mother feel at home in their new country and find the magic in new experiences.

Theme: Immigration

  • ISBN
    9781773062587
  • Binding
    Hardcover Canadian
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$18.95
Discount:
$3.79
Your Price:
$15.16
Quantity:
Book cover of I AM BROWN
I AM BROWN
By: ashok banker | Published: March 2020

I am brown. I am beautiful. I am perfect. I designed this computer. I ran this race. I won this prize. I wrote this book. A joyful celebration of the ...

I am brown. I am beautiful. I am perfect. I designed this computer. I ran this race. I won this prize. I wrote this book. A joyful celebration of the skin you're in - of being brown, of being amazing, of being you.

Theme: Diversity

  • ISBN
    9781911373940
  • Binding
    Hardcover
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$25.99
Discount:
$5.20
Your Price:
$20.79
Quantity:
Book cover of OUR BIG LITTLE PLACE
OUR BIG LITTLE PLACE
By: james conan | Published: September 2019

A lovely and inventive story about the power of imaginative play and the importance of a place to call home. Written by a debut author as a tribute to...

A lovely and inventive story about the power of imaginative play and the importance of a place to call home. Written by a debut author as a tribute to community, urban living, and shared spaces

Theme: Diversity

  • ISBN
    9781773213170
  • Binding
    Hardcover Canadian
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$21.95
Discount:
$4.39
Your Price:
$17.56
Quantity:
Book cover of PARKER LOOKS UP
PARKER LOOKS UP
By: parker curry | Published: October 2019

A New York Times bestseller! A visit to Washington, DC’s National Portrait Gallery forever alters Parker Curry’s young life when she views...

A New York Times bestseller! A visit to Washington, DC’s National Portrait Gallery forever alters Parker Curry’s young life when she views First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait. When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn’t just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen—one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl’s imagination. When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation. Inspired by this visit, Parker, and her mother, Jessica Curry, tell the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment, in a moving picture book. Parker Looks Up follows Parker, along with her baby sister and her mother, and her best friend Gia and Gia’s mother, as they walk the halls of a museum, seeing paintings of everyone and everything from George Washington Carver to Frida Kahlo, exotic flowers to graceful ballerinas. Then, Parker walks by Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama…and almost passes it. But she stops...and looks up! Parker saw the possibility and promise, the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama. An everyday moment became an extraordinary one…that continues to resonate its power, inspiration, and indelible impact. Because, as Jessica Curry said, “anything is possible regardless of race, class, or gender.” **FOREWORD BY ARTIST AMY SHERALD**

Theme: Diversity

  • ISBN
    9781534451865
  • Binding
    Hardcover
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$23.99
Discount:
$4.80
Your Price:
$19.19
Quantity:
Book cover of WHEN GRANDPA GIVES YOU A TOOLBOX
WHEN GRANDPA GIVES YOU A TOOLBOX
By: jamie deenihan | Published: March 2020

."..a child is surprised to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narr...

."..a child is surprised to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator's careful--and funny--instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all."--Publisher's description.

  • ISBN
    9781454932321
  • Binding
    Hardcover
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$22.95
Discount:
$4.59
Your Price:
$18.36
Quantity:
Book cover of WHEN GRANDMA GIVES YOU A LEMON TREE
WHEN GRANDMA GIVES YOU A LEMON TREE
By: jamie deenihan | Published: March 2019

When Grandma gives you a lemon tree, definitely don’t make a face! Care for the tree, and you might be surprised at how new things, and new idea...

When Grandma gives you a lemon tree, definitely don’t make a face! Care for the tree, and you might be surprised at how new things, and new ideas, bloom. “Charms from cover to cover.” —Kirkus (Starred review)  “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised (and disappointed) to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator’s careful—and funny—instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all. This clever story, complete with a recipe for lemonade, celebrates the pleasures of patience, hard work, nature, community . . . and putting down the electronic devices just for a while.

Theme: Diversity

  • ISBN
    9781454923817
  • Binding
    Hardcover
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$22.95
Discount:
$4.59
Your Price:
$18.36
Quantity:
Book cover of RED SHOES
RED SHOES
By: karen english | Published: September 2020

Malika loves her new red shoes and wears them everywhere, but eventually she outgrows them, and her grandmother takes them to a second-hand shop--wher...

Malika loves her new red shoes and wears them everywhere, but eventually she outgrows them, and her grandmother takes them to a second-hand shop--where they will become a special present for Amina (who fasted half the month of Ramadan) in Africa, who will enjoy her special red shoes every bit as much as Malika did.

Theme: Diversity, Recycle

  • ISBN
    9781338114607
  • Binding
    Hardcover
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$23.99
Discount:
$4.80
Your Price:
$19.19
Quantity:
Book cover of WILD BERRIES
WILD BERRIES
By: julie flett | Published: June 2013

Wild Berries is the beautiful tale of a young boy who spends a summer day picking wild blueberries with his grandmother. The Metis and Cree are indige...

Wild Berries is the beautiful tale of a young boy who spends a summer day picking wild blueberries with his grandmother. The Metis and Cree are indigenous peoples based across Canada and North America with a rich history and culture. Exploring the important tradition of berry-picking for Metis and Cree people, it also honours a unique, endangered language. Includes a recipe for a delicious blueberry pie.

Theme: Indigenous

  • ISBN
    9781897476895
  • Binding
    Hardcover Canadian
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$18.95
Discount:
$1.90
Your Price:
$17.06
Quantity:
Book cover of BIRDSONG
BIRDSONG
By: julie flett | Published: September 2019

SHORTLISTED for the 2019 Governor General's Award A tender, luminous portrait of art, nature, and connecting across generations. When a young girl m...

SHORTLISTED for the 2019 Governor General's Award A tender, luminous portrait of art, nature, and connecting across generations. When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett?s textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions. A brief glossary and pronunciation guide to Cree-Métis words that appear in the text is provided on the copyright page.

Theme: Indigenous

  • ISBN
    9781771644730
  • Binding
    Hardcover Canadian
  • Category
    Picture Book
List Price:
$22.95
Discount:
$4.59
Your Price:
$18.36
Quantity:

Loading Remaining Books...