Children's books that champion and celebrate multicultural experiences from all over the world

Our selection of children's books that champion and celebrate cultures and experiences in Britain and all over the world.

26/10/2021
5 minutes to read
Three book covers on a dotted background: Coming to England by Floella Benjamin, Black and British by David Olusoga, and A Dinosaur Ate My Sister by Pooja Puri

Books that celebrate all cultures and experiences are important for all children. Not only do they empower children with heroes and role models they can relate to, they are also a window into the world, helping children to step into the shoes of others and build empathy. These wonderful books for kids will be loved by young readers of all ages.  

For ages 0–3 years

Black History

by Campbell Books

Book cover for Black History

Illustrated by Jayri Gómez

In Black History, young children can read about the lives of inspirational black people from around the world, from Maya Angelou to Stormzy and from Rosa Parks to Nelson Mandela. This pre-school read features push, pull and slide scenes, and punchy bright illustrations by Jayri Gómez.

Fruits

by Valerie Bloom

Book cover for Fruits

Illustrated by David Axtell

This award-winning book is a fun and educational counting poem from Valerie Bloom, with beautiful illustrations by David Axtell. How much fruit can one little girl eat? Count from one to ten, learning the names of different Caribbean fruits. The rhyming text helps little ones learn to count while exploring the Caribbean’s many delicious fruits.  

We’re Going on a Lion Hunt

by David Axtell

Book cover for We’re Going on a Lion Hunt

Illustrated by David Axtell

Full of David Axtell’s beautiful illustrations of magnificent animals, this adventure through the African savanna is a rendition of a well-known children’s poem. Two sisters go looking for a lion that lives on the African savanna. They go through swishy swashy long grass, a splishy splashy lake and a big dark cave – but when they finally meet the lion they have to run, run, run all the way home. 

For ages 3–5 years

My Dad Is A Grizzly Bear

by Swapna Haddow

Book cover for My Dad Is A Grizzly Bear

Illustrated by Dapo Adeola

Shhh. Beware. My dad is a grizzly bear.

In this family, it's just possible that Dad is a grizzly bear . . . He has fuzzy fur, enormous paws and loves the outdoors. He sleeps a lot even in the cinema and when he's awake, he's always hungry, usually eating up all the honey. What else could Dad be? But sometimes, when it's scary at night, a lovely big bear hug is just what is needed.

A hilarious debut picture book written by Swapna Haddow author of the Dave Pigeon series and illustrated by the brilliantly talented Dapo Adeola author of Look Up!

The Little War Cat

by Hiba Noor Khan

Book cover for The Little War Cat

Illustrated by Laura Chamberlain

Inspired by a true story, The Little War Cat is a moving tale of hope amidst conflict, written by debut author Hiba Noor Khan and beautifully illustrated by the astonishing Laura Chamberlain.

The Little War Cat follows the story of a little grey cat who is caught up in the BANGS and CRASHES of the humans in boots, who have changed the city of Aleppo she knew so well into one that's harder to recognize. She is roaming the streets looking for food and shelter when an unlikely friend appears. He shows her that kindness is still there when you look for it, and soon the little grey cat knows exactly what to do to made a difference herself.

Albert Talbot: Master of Disguise

by Ben Manley

Book cover for Albert Talbot: Master of Disguise

Illustrated by Aurélie Guillerey

From getting up in the morning to going to bed at night, Albert faces many challenges. But by imagining himself as powerful heroes, from Rusti Buffels the Fearless Mountaineer to Zandrian Delaclair the Antarctic Submariner, he can feel brave as he faces adversity. This fun and playful picture book celebrates the joy of imaginative play and the freedom to be whoever you want. 

M is for Melanin

by Tiffany Rose

Book cover for M is for Melanin

This joyful and empowering alphabet book teaches children their ABC and celebrates Black children, encouraging all kids to love the skin they’re in. Each letter of the alphabet contains affirming, black-positive messages, from E is for Empowerment, to L is for Lead to W is for Worthy.

Coming to England

by Floella Benjamin

Book cover for Coming to England

Illustrated by Diane Ewen

Baroness Floella Benjamin travelled from Trinidad to London with her older sister and two younger brothers when she was just ten years old, as part of the Windrush generation. This is her inspiring true story. Arriving in England to be reunited with the rest of her family, cold and unfriendly London wasn’t quite what Floella expected. This beautifully illustrated and powerful true story about overcoming adversity is full of Floella’s trademark optimism and joy.

I Am Perfectly Designed

by Karamo Brown

Book cover for I Am Perfectly Designed

Illustrated by Anoosha Syed

I am Perfectly Designed is the perfect story for families of all shapes and sizes to share. Embodying the kindness and love of its creator, Queer Eye star Karamo Brown, it’s an empowering story about loving who you are and a celebration of the bond between a parent and a child. A Black father and son take a walk through the city, talking about how they were perfectly designed for each other. 

A Hat for Mr Mountain

by Soojin Kwak

Book cover for A Hat for Mr Mountain

Soojin Kwan explores different materials and their properties in this quirkily illustrated story about kindness and creativity. Nara loves making hats for the animals that visit her workshop, but one day she receives a letter with a very special request – Mr Mountain wants a hat too! Nara is up for the challenge, but the woolly hat shrinks in the rain, the leaf hat is eaten and the stick hat gets burned. What material will make the perfect hat for Mr Mountain? 

The Twelve Days of Christmas

by

Book cover for The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Or Grandma is Overly Generous is a witty new take on the festive classic The Twelve Days of Christmas, accompanied by beautiful full-colour illustrations. In this gorgeous gift book Grandma's presents start off sensibly – a partridge is easy enough to take care of – but her generosity soon gets wildly out of hand . . .

For ages 5–9 years

Black and British: An Illustrated History

by David Olusoga

Book cover for Black and British: An Illustrated History

Illustrated by Jake Alexander & Melleny Taylor

The essential starting place for anyone who wants to learn about Black British History. David Olusoga’s thought provoking text charts the forgotten histories of Black people in Britain from Roman times right through to the present day. From Roman Africans guarding Hadrian’s Wall, to an African trumpeter in the court of Henry the Eighth, Black Georgians fighting for the abolition of slavery, Black soldiers fighting for Britain in the First World War, Windrush and right up today. These are the stories that brought us all together in this country.

This is Our World

by Tracey Turner

Book cover for This is Our World

Illustrated by Asa Gilland

This beautiful gift book is an unforgettable journey through twenty places around the world, vividly bringing to life the people, customs and wildlife. Children from Australia’s dusty Red Centre to bustling Beijing guide us through the place they call home. This is Our World is a colourful celebration of our planet’s cultural and environmental diversity. 

Counting on Katherine

by Helaine Becker

Book cover for Counting on Katherine

Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

Counting on Katherine is the true story of Katherine Johnson, an African American woman who played a major part in the success of the first-ever moon landing. From a young age Katherine had a passion for numbers. Despite the discrimination and racism she faced on a daily basis, she dedicated her life to honing her skills – skills that would one day save the lives of NASA astronauts.

Silas and the Marvellous Misfits

by Tom Percival

Book cover for Silas and the Marvellous Misfits

A Marcus Rashford Book Club Choice! Silas and the Marvellous Misfits by Tom Percival is an action-packed adventure that shows kids the joy of being themselves.

Erika has a BIG secret. She’s a member of the Dream Defenders – a top-secret organisation that banishes your worries while you sleep! And tonight they're on a mission to rescue Erika's best friend Silas from the clutches of the evil Glooms – creatures who want everyone in the dream world to look and think exactly the same way! Can the Dream Defenders save Silas and help him to see that being a misfit can be a truly marvellous thing?

Aziza's Secret Fairy Door

by Lola Morayo

Book cover for Aziza's Secret Fairy Door

Illustrated by Cory Reid

A mysterious gift arrives on Aziza's birthday. It is a secret fairy door that will whisk her away to Shimmerton, a magical world with princesses, naughty fairies, shapeshifters, unicorn shopkeepers and mischief around every corner. But when the precious jewelled doorknob is taken, Aziza is trapped. Will she ever see her home and family again? Maybe her new friends, Peri and Tiko, can help . . .

Packed with mischief, friendship and magic, Aziza's Secret Fairy Door is the first title in an inclusive magical adventure series.

For ages 9–12 years

A Dinosaur Ate My Sister

by Pooja Puri

Book cover for A Dinosaur Ate My Sister

Illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan

A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is the first book selected in the Marcus Rashford Book Club.

Esha Verma, her snotty apprentice Broccoli and his cunning pet tortoise have a dream. They are going to win the legendary Brain Trophy – the ultimate inventing prize. This year's entry: A TIME MACHINE. But the day before the competition, Esha's IGNORAMUS big sister hijacks the time machine and gets lost in the Cretaceous age. With help from a new recruit for The Office of Time, Esha and Broccoli will have to face hungry dinosaurs, mysterious black holes and malfunctioning inventions to get them back in time . . .

Coming to England

by Floella Benjamin

Book cover for Coming to England

Illustrated by Joelle Avelino

Floella Benjamin was just a young girl when she, her sister and two brothers arrived in England in 1960 to join their parents, whom they had not seen for fifteen months. They had left the island paradise of Trinidad to make a new home in London – part of a whole generation of West Indians who were encouraged to move to Britain and help rebuild the country after the Second World War.

With a foreword by the author and some additional historical information, this is the incredible story of Floella's journey from Trinidad to London, as part of the Windrush generation, to the House of Lords. It is gloriously illustrated throughout by Joelle Avelino, perfect for readers aged nine years and over.

The Boy With Wings

by Sir Lenny Henry

Book cover for The Boy With Wings

Illustrated by Keenon Ferrell

Comic Lenny Henry has written a suitably laugh-out-loud adventure story for readers of 9 to 12 years, with dazzling illustrations throughout by Keenon Ferrell. Tunde has some problems with the school bully, but when he sprouts wings and realises his true mission is to save the Earth, school becomes the least of his problems. Flying high in the face of danger, Tunde is the boy with wings.

My Big Mouth

by Steven Camden

Book cover for My Big Mouth

Illustrated by Chanté Timothy

When Dad leaves, ten-year-old Jay has questions.

Where has he gone?

Why did he go?

When no one can give Jay the answers he needs, he makes up his own stories, setting off a chain reaction that sees regular old Jay go from just another face in the crowd, to the centre of attention. But being the coolest kid in school comes at a cost. And as things spiral out of control, can the most unlikely person help him learn the most important lesson of all?

Rumaysa: A Fairytale

by Radiya Hafiza

Book cover for Rumaysa: A Fairytale
Read extract

Illustrated by Rhaida El Touny & Areeba Siddique

For as long as she can remember Rumaysa has been locked away in her tower, forced to spin straw into gold for the evil Witch, unable to leave. Until one day, after dropping a hijab out of her small tower-window, Rumaysa realizes how she might be able to escape . . . A magically fresh, empowering and funny debut, which retells three classic fairytales – Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty – with beautiful inside illustrations by Rhaida El Touny and cover illustration by Areeba Siddique.

Read extract

Artichoke Hearts

by Sita Brahmachari

Book cover for Artichoke Hearts

This Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-winning novel is an honest and insightful exploration of the delicate balance of life and death and of justice and injustice. Twelve-year-old Mira is trying to find her voice in her arty, creative, chaotic family and struggling with grief as her beloved Nana Josie’s health worsens. When she’s drawn to Jide, a mysterious boy who guides a troubled past, she begins to discover the wonderful and often mystical world around her. Artichoke Hearts is an uplifting celebration of friendship, culture and life. 

The Cloud Horse Chronicles: Guardians of Magic

by Chris Riddell

Book cover for The Cloud Horse Chronicles: Guardians of Magic

This is the first illustrated book in Chris Riddell’s magical adventure series The Cloudhorse Chronicles. The Guardians of Magic are three children who have no idea how powerful they really are. In their world, enemies of magic are working together to destroy it. Can Zam, Phoebe and Bathsheba believe in the impossible and fight back? If they don’t, soon magic and the mysterious cloud horses will be gone forever. 

Runaway Robot

by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Book cover for Runaway Robot

Illustrated by Steven Lenton

This funny, heartwarming adventure from award-winning children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce is about two best friends helping to put each other back together. Alfie finds a lot more than he bargained for when he visits Airport Lost Property – in the form of a giant robot called Eric. Eric is sure he’s the latest technology when he’s actually about to be consigned to the scrapheap. Can Alfie find a way to save Eric? 

The Lotterys Plus One

by Emma Donoghue

Book cover for The Lotterys Plus One

Illustrated by Caroline Hadilaksono

The Lotterys Plus One is the first children’s book from bestselling author Emma Donoghue. The Lotterys are a happy and multicultural family with four parents, seven kids and five pets, living together in their big old house called Camelottery. Nine-year-old Sumac is looking forward to a summer of fun, but the family’s lives are turned upside down with the arrival of their grumpy and intolerant grandad. How will the family cope? This charming illustrated novel is full of heart and humour. 

For ages 12+ years

You Are A Champion

by Marcus Rashford

Book cover for You Are A Champion

'There is no finish line when it comes to your dreams.'

You Are A Champion will empower young people aged 10+ to develop positive thinking, build mental resilience, learn how to navigate adversity and, ultimately, to achieve their full potential.

Written with journalist Carl Anka, You Are A Champion is the empowering and life changing first children’s book from Marcus Rashford MBE. It is full of practical advice and engaging illustrations and infographics, including input from performance psychologist Katie Warriner.

SLAM! You're Gonna Wanna Hear This

by Nikita Gill

Book cover for SLAM! You're Gonna Wanna Hear This

This anthology is a joyful celebration of the groundbreaking performance poets who are making a splash in the world of spoken word. From well-known artists such as Raymond Antrobus and Sophia Thakur to up-and-coming poets, this is the perfect introduction to the world of modern poetry. 

Black and British

by David Olusoga

Book cover for Black and British

This new edition of award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga’s Black and British is aimed at younger readers and is illustrated with maps, photos and portraits. This is an essential introduction to 1800 years of the Black British history: from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian’s Wall right up to the present day.

I Am Thunder

by Muhammad Khan

Book cover for I Am Thunder

Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is used to being invisible.  So no one is more surprised than her when Arif Malik, the hottest boy in school, takes a sudden interest.

But Arif is hiding a terrible secret and, as they begin to follow a dark path, Muzna faces an impossible choice: keep quiet and betray her beliefs, or speak out and betray her heart.

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in Tomi Adeyemi’s West African-inspired fantasy series Legacy of Orisha. Zélie remembers when Orisha was full of magic. When different clans ruled with unique powers, including her Reaper mother who could summon forth souls. But everything changed when the ruthless king had anyone with powers killed. Now only a few people still have the power to use magic, and they must stay hidden. Zélie is one of those people, but now she has the chance to bring magic back to her people and strike against the monarchy . . .

We Hunt the Flame

by Hafsah Faizal

Book cover for We Hunt the Flame

Set in a magical world inspired by ancient Arabia, this is the first novel in Hafsah Faizal’s Sands of Arawiya duology. Zafira is the Hunter, braving the cursed forest to feed her people. But she must disguise herself as a man, for if people knew the Hunter was a girl they would reject all her achievements. When Zafira embarks on a mission to restore magic to her suffering world she meets Nasir, the Prince of Death. He has been sent to kill the Hunter and retrieve magic for the sultan . . . 

The Opposite of Always

by Justin A. Reynolds

Book cover for The Opposite of Always

When Jack meets Kate at a party he falls in love fast. The feeling is mutual and soon she’s meeting his friends, who are just as dazzled by Kate as Jack was. But then Kate dies.

That should be the end of the story, but it isn’t. Jack finds himself back at the moment they met, and Kate is just as happy and healthy as she was before. Jack fears he may be losing his mind, but if there’s a chance to save Kate, he’ll grab it with both hands. But Jack will soon find out that actions have consequences. How far will he be willing to go to save the people he loves?