By Jennifer (Smith) Schuler
First thing in the morning, we early risers welcome the day with my son’s “warm cocoa dream” skin and my Irish-red “cherry topped, candy dropped” skin — a beautiful contrast! For the record, daddy’s skin shade is “butterscotch gold.” (Skin shades determined from the book, The Skin You Live In).
Whether your family is multi-race or multi-cultural due to an interracial marriage or adoption, it may sometimes be difficult to explain to young children why the members of your family have different skin colors or even different shades within the same color. In my family, we have found that whereas it is helpful to be open and honest with our son about his adoption “story,” it has also been beneficial to celebrate our different skin colors and shades as unique to us. Letting our little boy know that even within his skin color there are many different shades, and that his skin is special, has given him a sense of appreciation for who he was created to be and a foundation upon which to help build his self-esteem. All these books are absolutely wonderful and I recommend reading every one of them. However, if I had to pick the top two “must-reads” they would be The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler and The Colors of Us by Karen Katz.
Below is a list of books which beautifully reflect babies, young children, and families from different cultures and countries. Through uplifting and inspirational language, imagery and pictures, these books build self-esteem while respectfully acknowledging our differences, and joyfully celebrating our similarities – and our global heritage!
Children’s Book List for Multi-Cultural Families
Copyright 2007 by The Global Fund for Children
Brightly colored, delightful photographs of babies from countries around the world!
2)All the Colors of the Earth
Copyright 1994 by Sheila Hamanaka
A celebration of children and all the beautiful colors they come in – the colors of love!
3)My Little Miracle
Copyright 2002 by J. Beck
A delightfully written little book welcoming babies of all colors and cultures to the magic of discovery this world holds.
Copyright 2006 by Nikki Grimes
An African American family welcomes their new little one to the world, and to their loving family.
Copyright 2005 by Michael Tyler
A wonderful rhyming book showing how very special it is to be in the skin you are in – no matter what its color!
6)The Colors of Us
Copyright 1999 by Karen Katz
Bold, delightful illustrations and a wonderful story celebrate our diversity, and deliver a poignant message: Love the skin you have!
Copyright 2003 by Lisa Bullard
This book is part of a series featuring different children who describe themselves, their feelings, and their world. Marvelous Me is about an African-American boy and his twin brother.
8)Whoever You Are
Copyright 1997 by Mem Fox
A beautiful and poignant book, this links us all together despite our different appearances, languages, interests, and lives.
Copyright 2005 by Wayne W. Dyer
This children’s book, featuring kids of different races, is based on Mr. Dyer’s 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace for adults. Here, he frames those same ten ideas in language easily related to by young children – to help them feel good about themselves and know that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to do.
Copyright 2002 by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
Illustrated with children of different races, this book gives everyone a healthy boost of self-esteem!
11)Bright Eyes, Brown Skin
Text Copyright 1990 by Cheryl Willis Hudson and Bernette G. Ford
Adapted from the original poem published in 1979, four African American children enjoy their time together and celebrate their skin while at preschool.
12)Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Copyright 2008 by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
Although at first glance this appears to be a simple counting book, it is so much more. These two picture book creators help us celebrate baby fingers and toes from all over the world!
Have you come across books that celebrate differences among people and encourage us to do the same? If so, please help us grow the list and add your “must read this book” choices!