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A selected list of fiction books dealing with the multi-cultural heritage of the United States


AFRICAN AMERICAN

Bradby, Marie. Once Upon A Farm
Colorful illustrations and a simple rhyming text tell about life on a family farm.
(picture book)

Burleigh, Robert.  Lookin' For Bird in the Big City
A teenage music student, who later becomes famous, searches for Charlie Parker in New York City. (picture book)

Cameron, Ann.  Gloria Rising
A chance meeting and a discussion with a woman astronaut encourages Gloria to do her best in school, in spite of the fact that she’s having a difficult year.
(chapter book)

Codell, Esme Raji. Sahara Special
Having a difficult time in school and dealing with the sadness of her father’s departure, Sahara is able to turn things around with the help of a new and unique teacher.
(chapter book)

Dillon, Leo. Rap A Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles -- Think of That!
Rhyming text and illustrations describe the life of the famous tap dancer, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.
(picture book)

Fenner, Carol. Yolonda's Genius
Yolonda is determined to prove to everyone that her brother is a musical genius, not the slow learner that they think he is.
(chapter book)

Fogelin, Adrian. Crossing Jordan
When Cass meets her new African-American neighbor, Jemmie, they become close friends in spite of their families’ prejudices.
(chapter book)

Hartfield, Claire. Me and Uncle Romie
A country boy spends the summer in Harlem visiting his uncle, the famous artist, Romare Bearden. Includes a biographical sketch of Bearden and instructions for making story collages.
(picture book)

Hoffman, Mary. The Color of Home
A newly-arrived Somali boy paints a picture in school that depicts his former home in Africa and the reason that his family moved to America.
(picture book)

Hoffman, Mary. Encore Grace!
Grace and her friends face the challenges of deciding how to treat a new student in their class, putting on a class play, and dealing with the adults around them.
(chapter book)

McKissack, Patricia. Goin' Someplace Special
In segregated Nashville in the 1950s, an African American girl must overcome obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town -- the public library.
(picture book)

Mead, Alice. Junebug in Trouble
In spite of having moved to a better neighborhood, 10-year-old Junebug must still deal with violence and crime.
(chapter book)

Nolen, Jerdine. In My Momma's Kitchen
Nadene describes all the special family events that happen during the year in her momma’s kitchen.
(picture book)

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Solo Girl
Cass is good at math, but she wishes that she could also jump rope as well as the girls in her new school.
(chapter book)

Smalls-Hector, Irene. Kevin and His Dad
Kevin and his dad spend a wonderful Saturday together sharing chores and enjoying afternoon activities.
(picture book)

Smith, Will. Just the Two of Us
A rap/poem depicting how much a father loves his son and the lessons he imparts to him.
(picture book)

Smothers, Ethel Footman. Auntee Edna
Though Tokee has no desire to spend a day with old-fashioned Auntee Edna, her aunt’s charm helps them both have a pleasant day.
(picture book)

Tarpley, Natasha Anastasia.  I Love My Hair!
Poetic language and colorful imagery help describe ways a young girl can wear her hair.
(picture book)

Williams, Sherley Anne. Girls Together
Five girlfriends spend a summer day together enjoying activities in the housing project and at the park.
(picture book)


ASIAN AMERICAN

Ashley, Bernard. Cleversticks
Everyone in Ling Sung’s class has a special talent; Ling Sung discovers that his classmates admire his adept use of chopsticks.
(Chinese – picture book)

Banks, Jacqueline Turner. A Day for Vincent Chin and Me
Tommy and fellow sixth graders work on a cause of their own that leads to a greater
understanding of his own mother’s projects.
(Japanese - chapter book)

Bercaw, Edna Coe. Halmoni's Day
Halmoni, Jennifer’s grandmother, arrives from Korea and shares her life story with Jennifer’s classmates.
(Korean – picture book)

Bunting, Eve. So Far From the Sea
A family visits their grandfather’s grave at the Manzanar War Relocation Center. They leave behind a special symbol of their love.
(Japanese – picture book)

Choi, Yangsook. The Name Jar
While Unhei considers giving herself an American name, she learns a little more about her heritage.
(Korean – picture book)

English, Karen. Nadia's Hands
When Nadia takes part in her aunt’s traditional wedding, she experiences the customs first hand.
(Pakistani – picture book)

Falwell, Cathryn. Butterflies for Kiri
An artistic Japanese-American girl practices using the origami set that she received on her birthday. Includes instructions for making an origami butterfly.
(Japanese – picture book)

Lee, Huy voun. In the Snow
A young boy and his mother practice writing Chinese characters in the snow.
(Chinese – picture book)

Lewin, Ted. Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take-Out
Experience a day in the life of a young boy whose dad operates a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn.
(Chinese – picture book)

Lin, Grace. Dim Sum for Everyone!
A young child describes the variety of tasty treats that the family enjoys in a Chinese restaurant.
(Chinese – picture book)

Lin, Grace. Kite Flying
A family spends time making a dragon kite and flying it outside on a windy day. A brief history of kites follows.
(Chinese – picture book)

Lin, Grace. The Ugly Vegetables
A little girl thinks that the vegetables in her mother’s garden are ugly compared to the neighbor’s pretty flowers, but she discovers that the vegetables, unlike flowers, make a tasty soup. A recipe is included.
(Chinese – picture book)

Look, Lenore. Henry's First-Moon Birthday
Jenny and her grandmother plan all the special and traditional activities to celebrate Jenny’s baby brother’s one-month birthday.
(Chinese – picture book)

Look, Lenore. Love as Strong as Ginger
After working with her grandmother all day cracking crabs, Katie has a new understanding of her grandmother’s life and what it means to fulfill special dreams.
(Chinese – picture book)

Mak, Kam. My Chinatown
A boy describes and compares the sights and sounds of his new life in Chinatown to the former ways in Hong Kong.
(Chinese – picture book)

Miklowitz, Gloria D. The Enemy Has a Face
Recently arriving from Israel, Netta searches for her missing brother as well as confronts
her prejudice towards Palestinians.
(Middle Eastern – chapter book)

Namioka, Lensey. Yang the Second and Her Secret Admirers
A brother and sister try their hand at matchmaking to help their older sister become more accepting of American ways.
(Chinese – chapter book)

Pak, Soyung. Sumi's First Day of School Ever
With her mother’s help, Sumi learns to adjust to her new school not knowing anyone nor the language.
(Korean – picture book)

Rattigan, Jama Kim. Dumpling Soup
A young Hawaiian/Asian girl is excited about celebrating the New Year by helping make her family’s traditional dumplings.
(Hawaiian, Korean, Japanese – picture book)

Recorvits, Helen. My Name is Yoon
Not happy at first with the way her name looks in English, Yoon experiments with other words and names.
(Korean – picture book)

Thong, Roseanne. Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes
A young girl notices the shapes of circles, squares, and rectangles in her everyday life, many of which are special to her cultural heritage.
(Chinese – picture book)

Uegaki, Chieri. Suki's Kimono
When Suki decides to wear her kimono on the first day of school, she doesn’t realize the impact this will have on her sisters and the other students in school.
(Japanese – picture book)

White, Ellen Emerson. Kaiulani: The People's Princess
The fictionalized diary of Princess Victoria Kaiulani Cleghorn, from 1889-1893, describing her school studies, her friendships, and being caught in the politics of the times.   (Royal Diaries series)
(Hawaiian – chapter book)

Yang, Belle. Hannah is My Name
Hannah and her family adjust to life in San Francisco as they wait for their green cards to arrive so they can stay in the United States.
(Chinese – picture book)

Yep, Laurence. The Amah
Twelve-year-old Amy struggles to accept her mother’s responsibilities as a nanny or amah to a rich girl.
(Chinese – chapter book)

Yep, Laurence. The Tiger's Apprentice
Twelve-year-old Tom becomes an apprentice to some magical creatures to learn how to fight an evil enemy.
(Chinese – chapter book)


HISPANIC AMERICAN

Ada, Alma Flor. I Love Saturdays Y Domingos
A young child enjoys the differences and similarities between her Spanish-speaking and her English-speaking grandparents.
(picture book)

Alvarez, Julia. How Tia Lola Came To Visit/Stay
Miguel’s aunt from the Dominican Republic brings her special tropical magic to his home in Vermont.
(chapter book)

Bledsoe, Lucy Jane. Cougar Canyon
Izzy, an enterprising thirteen-year-old, takes on the cause of saving a threatened cougar living in a nearby canyon.
(chapter book)

Dorros, Arthur. When the Pigs Took Over
Don Carlos causes a humorous calamity in the entire village when he decides to serve lots of snails in his restaurant.
(picture book)

Jimenez, Francisco. La Mariposa
The son of a migrant worker has a hard time when he starts first grade, but his fascination with the classroom caterpillar helps him to begin to fit in.
(picture book)

Johnston, Tony. Any Small Goodness
Arturo’s strong interest in basketball and his loving family help him look for the good and deal with the bad aspects of living in the barrio.
(chapter book)

Lopez, Loretta. The Birthday Swap
A young Mexican girl has a wonderful summer celebration when her older sister agrees to swap birthdays.
(picture book)

Mora, Pat. The Rainbow Tulip
A first-grader feels “different” when her mother makes her a multi-colored costume for a school performance, but she comes to appreciate her difference.
(picture book)

Mora, Pat. Tomas and the Library Lady
Part of a migrant-worker family, Tomas finds an entire world to explore at the local public library.
(picture book)

O’Neill, Alexis. Estela's Swap
When Estela goes to a flea market with her father for the first time, she begins to understand different ways of trading.
(picture book)

Perez, Amada Irma. My Diary From Here to There
Amada begins a journal to record the family’s move from Mexico to the United States.
(picture book)

Perez, L. King. First Day in Grapes
Third grader, Chico, deals with school issues as his migrant worker family arrives to pick California grapes.
(picture book)

Ryan, Pam Munoz. Esperanza Rising
Once wealthy and living comfortably in Mexico, Esperanza adjusts to the harsh life of a farm worker in California during the Depression years.
(chapter book)

Ryan, Pam Munoz. Mice and Beans
Rosa Maria makes preparations for her granddaughter’s birthday party just as some unwanted mice do, too.
(picture book)

Soto, Gary. Chato and the Party Animals
Chato, a “cool” barrio cat, plans a surprise party for another cat who has never had a birthday party before.
(picture book)

Soto, Gary. If the Shoe Fits
Finally receiving some new shoes instead of hand-me-downs, Rigo wasn’t ready for the teasing and learns a life lesson.
(picture book)

Soto, Gary. Taking Sides
Eighth grader Lincoln has difficulty finding ways to maintain old friendships and make new ones after his move from the barrio to the suburbs.
(chapter book)


NATIVE AMERICAN

Andrews, Jan. Very Last First Time
An Inuit girl walks for her first time under the ice of the frozen ocean when the tide is out, knowing she’ll never experience this in the same way again.
(Picture book)

Bruchac, Joseph. Crazy Horse's Vision
A story based on the life of the brave Lakota Indian boy who grew up to be a leader of his people.
(Picture book)

Bruchac, Joseph. Hidden Roots
Growing up in a small town in New York, 11-year-old Sonny knows he is different, but doesn’t know why. Nor does he understand why his parents seem to be hiding something from him.
(chapter book)

Cowley, Joy. Big Moon Tortilla
A young girl gets advice from her loving Grandmother on how to deal with a difficult day in the Papago Indian Reservation
(Picture book)

Erdrich. Louise. Birchbark House
We learn about the lifestyle of an Ojibwa family who lives on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.
(chapter book)

Joose, Barbara. Mama, Do You Love Me?
Set in the Arctic, a child learns that her mother’s love is unconditional.
(Picture book)

Martin, Rafe. The World Before This One
The first Seneca Indian storyteller learns his stories from a most unusual source.
(chapter book)

Nelson, S.D. Star People: A Lakota Story
After a frightening adventure, Young Wolf and Sister Girl have help in finding their way home from the spirit of their grandmother, now one of the Star People.
(picture book)

Orie, Sandra DeCoteau. Did You Hear Wind Sing Your Name? An Oneida Song of Spring
A celebration in word and imagery about many of the wondrous signs of spring.
(picture book)

Osborne, Mary Pope. Adaline Falling Star
Feeling alone and abandoned, Adaline runs away from the hostile relatives with whom she is staying and faces new dangers in the wilderness with only a stray pup for company.
(chapter book)

Rinaldi, Ann. My Heart is on the Ground
While forced to live in a boarding school in Pennsylvania in 1880, a 12-year-old Sioux girl finds ways to help her people and many of the other students in the school.
(chapter book)

Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Indian Shoes
A Seminole-Cherokee Indian boy and his grandfather live in the city and find humorous and creative solutions to their daily dilemmas.
(chapter book)

Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Jingle Dancer
Jenna visits family members and friends to collect enough jingles for her new jingle dress to wear at the powwow.
(picture book)

Smith, Patricia. Weetamoo
Set in the mid 1600s and written in diary format, this is an account of a 14-year-old Pocasset Indian girl who is to become the leader of her tribe.
(chapter book)

Swamp, Chief Jake. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message
An Iroquois message of thanks based on the traditional greeting of the morning and giving thanks to the world.
(picture book)


EUROPEAN DESCENT

Aliki. Marianthe's Story
Two stories in one book. The first describes Mari’s life in another country before she and her family leave. The second story tells of her life in a new school in a new country.
(picture book)

Avi. Silent Movie
An early immigrant Swedish family encounters hardship and separation until the young son is given a role in a silent movie.
(picture book)

Bunting, Eve. I Have an Olive Tree
Sophia learns a little of her Greek heritage after her grandfather gives her an olive tree on his homeland island in Greece.
(picture book)

Bunting, Eve. A Picnic in October
When his family takes a trip to Liberty Island, Tony begins to understand what the Statue of Liberty means to his grandmother.
(picture book)

Creech, Sharon. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
The wisdom of her Italian grandmother helps 12-year-old Rosie work out some issues that she has with her best friend Bailey, the boy next door.
(chapter book)

Demas, Corinne. Littlest Matryoshka
Made by a wood carver in Russia, a set of 6 nesting dolls travels to America and has an adventure when the littlest doll is lost and then found.
(picture book)

Gundisch, Karen. How I Became An American
Ten-year-old Johann and his family emigrate from Germany to Youngstown, Ohio in 1902, where they make a new life for themselves as Americans.
(chapter book)

Nolan, Janet. St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh
The shillelagh, originally carved in Ireland, is passed down to each generation along with its special stories of the family members.
(picture book)


MIXED HERITAGE

Adoff, Arnold. Black is Brown is Tan (reissued edition)
In verse form, describes a white-skinned father, a brown-skinned mother, two children and their relatives.
(picture book)

Beaumont, Karen. Being Friends
Despite their differences, two girls find that in friendship they can share their likes and dislikes with each other.
(picture book)

Brown, Margaret Wise. Another Important Book
Rhyming text and colorful illustrations depict children of various colorings as they grow from ages one to six.
(picture book)

Cordova, Amy. Abuelita's Heart
A girl’s visit to her grandmother in the southwest is made special by seeing the places that have meaning to her family’s heritage.
(picture book)

Hamanaka, Sheila. Grandparents Song
A child’s diverse ancestry is described in rhyming text.
(picture book)

Hamilton, Virginia. Bluish: A Novel
Three girls of different backgrounds and abilities come to a greater understanding of each other’s needs as they work on a class project.
(chapter book)

Hindley, Judy. Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes
Colorful illustrations depict many different toddlers demonstrating what they are able to do.
(picture book)

Katz, Karen. The Colors of Us
A seven-year-old child and her mother observe the variation in color of their friends’ skin, comparing the colors to fruit and objects in nature.
(picture book)

Lasky, Kathryn. Mommy's Hands
Three moms and their children show many special activities they can do independently or together using their hands.
(picture book)

Miller, J. Philip. We All Sing With the Same Voice
Descriptions of children from all over the world show what they enjoy doing with the underlying message of how they’re all alike.
(picture book)

Namioka, Lensey. Half and Half
Fiona wants to be true to herself and yet honor her Chinese and Scottish grandparents at the annual folk festival.
(chapter book)

Pomerantz, Charlotte. You're Not My Best Friend Anymore
Best friends Molly and Ben share many interests and then learn to work out a major disagreement.
(picture book)

Sis, Peter. Madlenka
Madlenka shows everyone in her ethnically diverse Manhattan neighborhood her loose tooth and learns about their cultures in the process.
(picture book)

Steptoe, John. Creativity
Charles figures out a way to be “creative” in becoming a friend to a new boy from Puerto Rico.
(picture book)

Wing, Natasha. Jalapeno Bagels
After helping his parents in their family-owned bakery, Pablo finally decides which food to bring for International Day at school.
(picture book)


Compiled by Alexandra Marris and Marcia Thor
Monroe County Library System 2005