The best diverse & multicultural children's books

Our selection of children's and YA books that showcase the importance of all children being able to see themselves in the books they read, while representing and celebrating cultures and experiences in Britain and all over the world.

Books that reflect the differences in the world we live in are important for all children. Not only do they empower children with heroes and role models they can relate to, but they help children to step into the shoes of others and build empathy by celebrating all cultures and experiences. Here is our edit of the best diverse and multicultural children's books to be loved by young readers of all ages.  

Black History

by Campbell Books

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.


by Valerie Bloom

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.  

Long Walk to Freedom

Book cover for Long Walk to Freedom

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela is the story of a true hero; his famous biography has been specially adapted for children in a beautifully illustrated picture book. Discover how a little boy whose father called him "troublemaker" grew up to fight apartheid, become South Africa's first black president and campaign for freedom and justice around the world.

I Love Me!

by Diane Ewen

Positive statements for little readers, written by Marvyn Harrison who founded Dope Black Dads, and illustrated by Diane Ewen who created the illustrations for Floella Benjamin's Coming to England. The book is full of engaging and uplifting affirmations for every day of the week, helping young children prepare for nursery and school, including useful tips for parents and carers of young children.

My Dad Is A Grizzly Bear

by Swapna Haddow

Shhh. Beware. My 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, illustrator of Look Up!

My Mum is a Lioness

by Swapna Haddow

This fabulous follow-up to My Dad is a Grizzly Bear asks: is Mum a lioness? She will do anything for her cubs, she runs fast as lightning, she pounces in for cuddles, she sometimes prowls around and you can always hear her loud and scary roar. Sometimes, when her little ones are frightened or sad, she can give the best lioness embrace. Created by Swapna Haddow, author of the Dave Pigeon series, and Dapo Adeola, illustrator of Look Up!

The Little War Cat

by Hiba Noor Khan

Inspired by a true story, The Little War Cat is a moving tale of hope amidst conflict. 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 into one she hardly recognizes. She's roaming the streets looking for food and shelter when an unlikely friend appears. He shows her that kindness is still there, and soon the little grey cat knows exactly what to do to make a difference.

Albert Talbot: Master of Disguise

by Ben Manley

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

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, positive messages, from E is for Empowerment, to L is for Lead to W is for Worthy.

Coming to England

by Floella Benjamin

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, cold and unfriendly London wasn’t quite what Floella expected. This beautifully illustrated and powerful story about overcoming adversity is full of Floella’s trademark optimism and joy.

I Am Perfectly Designed

by Karamo Brown

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

Soojin Kwan explores different materials in this quirkily story about kindness and creativity. Nara loves making hats for the animals that visit her workshop. 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, the leaf hat is eaten and the stick hat gets burned. What material will make the perfect hat for Mr Mountain? 

The Breakfast Club Adventures

by Marcus Rashford

The first novel by everyone's favourite international footballer, child food-poverty campaigner and #1 bestselling author. Written with Alex Falase-Koya, Marcus Rashford tells a story strongly influenced by his own childhood. Something odd is happening at school . . . When twelve-year-old Marcus boots his  football over the school fence, he knows it's never coming back. But the next morning Marcus gets a mysterious note inviting him to join the Breakfast Club Investigators, and fun and adventure beckons in a bid to reclaim the ball.

The Breakfast Club Adventures: The Ghoul in the School

by Marcus Rashford

The Breakfast Club Investigators are back! And good job too they haven't managed to solve a mystery in months and Marcus is worried that the group is going to break up. So when Gbenga, the captain of the school basketball team, comes to ask for their help Marcus knows this might just be the Investigator's last chance to prove themselves. As the mystery deepens they discover that someone – or something – has cursed the basketball team . . . 

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Aziza's Secret Fairy Door

by Lola Morayo

Aziza is excitedly packing her suitcase ready to go on holiday when she finds sand and seashells from the fairy door all over her room! Before long, she is stepping through the door and out onto Shimmerton’s beach, where naughty fairies, the Gigglers, are causing havoc by accidentally awakening an ancient shell-walker who has been asleep for many years under the sand. Everyone scatters as the shell-walker grows bigger and bigger. What can be done? Aziza's new mermaid friend might just know someone who could help. Packed with mischief, friendship and magic, this is the fourth book in this magical adventure series. 

Rumaysa: Ever After

by Radiya Hafiza

Rumaysa: Ever After is the fabulously empowering sequel to Radiya Hafiza's Rumaysa: A Fairytale – a powerful and laugh-out-loud story that turns a classic fairytale around, showing that anyone can be a hero. The story starts long ago and far away, with young Rumaysa looking for her long lost parents. She hopes that an invitation from Saira White, the Queen of Bishnara, will help. Will the queen help her find her family? But it's not quite that straightforward, and soon Rumaysa is tugged into a mystical adventure, trying to help some new friends. Witches, princes, princesses and beasts feature in this tale set in a magical, alternative South Asia.

A Robot Squashed My Teacher

by Pooja Puri

Esha Verma, along with her snooty apprentice Broccoli and his clever pet tortoise, have a plan. The gang are determined to win the famous Brain Trophy for genius inventors. Their entry is the RoarEasy – a machine that lets people speak to animals. But rival inventor Ernie steps in and the RoarEasy goes haywire, turning Monsieur Crépeau into a pigeon. So Esha, Broccoli, Archibald and Monsieur Crépeau take a trip to the Central Research Laboratories – with Ernie on their tail –  to try to solve the problem, encountering huge robots, killer plants, mechanical spiders and shrinking machines along the way.

Black and British: An Illustrated History

by David Olusoga

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 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

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

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

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? Chosen as the second book in the Marcus Rashford Book Club, this action-packed adventure shows kids the joy of being themselves and celebrating their differences.

The Boy With Wings

by Sir Lenny Henry

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.

The Boy With Wings: Attack of the Rampaging Robot

Book cover for The Boy With Wings: Attack of the Rampaging Robot

Selected as a 2023 World Book Day title, The Boy With Wings: Attack of the Rampaging Robot is the second book in comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s hilarious middle-grade adventure series. The story follows Tunde Wilkinson, an ordinary kid with a normal life except he also has wings! With his superpower, he must fight an evil robot and save his hometown and get home in time for football practice, of course. 

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A Dinosaur Ate My Sister

by Pooja Puri

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

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 their island home of Trinidad to make a new life 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. This edition is perfect for readers aged nine years and over.

My Big Mouth

by Steven Camden

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

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.

Artichoke Hearts

by Sita Brahmachari

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 Jidé, a mysterious boy in her writing class, she begins to discover the wonderful and often mystical world around her. Artichoke Hearts is an uplifting celebration of friendship, culture and life. 

The Lotterys Plus One

by Emma Donoghue

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. 

Tokyo Dreaming

by Emiko Jean

Japanese-American Izumi Tanaka became a princess overnight, when she realised that her dad was the Crown Prince of Japan. Life as a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be, with plotting cousins, nosy journalists and an imperial scandal. But with her bodyguard turned boyfriend and dog Tamagotchi things seem to be on the up for Izumi, especially when her parents rekindle their college affair and get engaged. Then the Imperial Household Council steps in and tries to stop the marriage, leaving Izumi struggling to keep her newly acquired happiness on track . . .

You Are A Champion

by Marcus Rashford with Carl Anka

You Are A Champion will empower young people to develop positive thinking, build mental resilience, learn how to navigate adversity and, ultimately, 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.

Mark My Words

by Muhammad Khan

Dua Iqbal has always been open to new stories: she is persuasive and curious, and a job as a journalist seems like a good move for the fifteen year old. When her school merges with another one, Dua seizes the moment and establishes a rival newspaper, packed with stories that some teachers and kids would rather not be told. Dua is digging deep, and as exams draw closer, she has to decide when to just let things lie. But when she discovers that some of the pupils are being falsely accused of selling drugs, it's time to speak up and speak out.

SLAM! You're Gonna Wanna Hear This

by Nikita Gill

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

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.

Kick the Moon

by Muhammad Khan

Fifteen-year-old Ilyas is under pressure from everyone in his life: his dad wants him to join the family business, GCSEs are looming, and nobody seems to care that Ilyas just wants to draw comic books. Nobody, that is, except his new best friend Kelly, the school good girl who’s the first person to actually understand him. But when local bad boy Imran decides to seduce Kelly for a bet, Ilyas has to choose between a confrontation that could endanger his family and losing the person who’s most important to him.

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

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 . . .

The Opposite of Always

by Justin A. Reynolds

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?

We Hunt the Flame

by Hafsah Faizal

For older readers (14+)

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.