Are you looking for some great multicultural books for your kids?
I was so pleased to be contacted by Lee & Low Books, one of the premier publishers of multicultural books for children, about reviewing some of their wonderful books. This independent publishing company is dedicated to sharing stories that all children can relate to and enjoy. Who couldn’t agree with that? Lee & Low is also one of the few minority-owned publishing companies, and they make a special effort to work with authors and illustrators of color.
Lee & Low has also been a supporter of Multicultural Kid Blogs, donating a prize for our recent Pinterest Scavenger Hunt. So needless to say I was thrilled to have a chance to help spread the word about their great books.
The package we received contained a mix of books for very young children and preschoolers, so both Baby and Monkey were able to enjoy them. The first book, Baby Born by Anastasia Suen, was an instant hit with both boys. This beautiful board book cleverly links the changing seasons to the phases of a baby’s first year. Just as seedlings lift their heads in spring, so do the babies, and a baby learning to walk falls to the ground just as the snowflakes do.
Although it is geared towards very young children, it also appeals to older children, especially those with younger siblings. Monkey asked to read it over and over again. He enjoyed the illustrations of the seasons, plus he laughed to see what the babies were doing, comparing it to our Baby.
We also received the board book America: A Book of Opposites by W. Nikola-Lisa. This bilingual book seems very simple on the surface (“wet land, dry land”), yet it also challenges children to think about the social contrasts of our country (“rich land, poor land”). It is illustrated by 12 different artists from diverse backgrounds, whose work celebrates America at the same time as it prompts the reader to look more deeply. To be honest, Monkey had more trouble getting into this book, but it is aimed at a slightly older audience, so we will cycle back to it in the future.
I Know the River Loves Me/Yo sé que el río me ama by Maya Christina Gonzalez was particularly special for me because the author based it on her love affair with the Yuba River, not far from where we live in Northern California. The main character describes her relationship with the river in beautiful yet simple language that brings the outdoors to life for young readers. It helps children to identify with their environment in a personal way and encourages them to care for it as they would a friend. This book quickly became a bedtime favorite in our house.
Finally, we had the pleasure of reviewing Arrorró, mi nino: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games by Lulu Delacre. I literally did a little dance when I saw this book in our package. I adore this type of book, which teaches songs and games to enjoy with your little ones. The boys and I love doing these together (Baby still goes nuts for patty-cake), so I was thrilled to find a book that shares such gentle songs and games from Latin America. What I really love about this book – other than the illustrations – is that it is so easy to understand. Unless you grew up with a certain game, it can be difficult to explain in words, but this book does a wonderful job of doing so, and of conveying the joy and intimacy that they help create with your child.
Lee & Low has a wealth of wonderful multicultural titles to enjoy with your family. It is not only a company that you can feel good about supporting but one whose products you will just plain love. I highly recommend that you try any of the books reviewed here or browse their catalog to discover your own treasure.
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary copies of these books for purposes of review, yet all opinions are my own.