English Language Learner Toolkit » Section 8: Culturally Relevant Book List

Section 8: Culturally Relevant Book List

 

 

 

 The following titles are a list of books that present diverse characters and perspectives.

 

All listed books below can be found in all BPSD school libraries under "Language Learner Toolkit Collection." Please ask your school librarian or school site administrator for details.

 

 

#

Title and Author

Summary

1

Bee Bim Bap

 by Linda Sue Park

Bee-bim bop (the name translates as “mix-mix rice”) is a traditional Korean dish of rice topped, and then mixed, with meat and vegetables. A child tells about helping her mother make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and finally sitting down with her family to enjoy a favorite meal. Shows details from the artist’s childhood in Korea to his depiction of a modern Korean American family.

2

My Name is Yoon

By Helen Recorvits

Yoon's name means "shining wisdom," and when she writes it in Korean, it looks happy, like dancing figures. But her father tells her that she must learn to write it in English. In English, all the lines and circles stand alone, which is just how Yoon feels in the United States. Yoon isn't sure that she wants to be YOON. Story about a little Korean girl finding her place in a new country.

3

The Name Jar

by Yang Sook Choi

Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. While Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.

4

Too Many Tamales

by Gary Soto

Maria's favorite cousins were coming over and she got to help make the tamales for Christmas dinner. It was almost too good to be true when her mother left the kitchen for a moment and Maria got to try on her beautiful diamond ring . . .This is the story of a treasure thought to be lost in a batch of tamales; of a desperate and funny attempt by Maria and her cousins to eat their way out of trouble; and the warm way a family pulls together to make it a perfect Christmas after all.

5

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras

by Duncan Tonatiuh

Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.

6

What Can You do with a Rebozo?

By Carmen Tafolla

 

 

A cradle for baby, a superhero's cape, a warm blanket on a cool night--there are so many things you can do with a rebozo. Through the eyes of a young girl, readers are introduced to the traditional shawl found in many Mexican and Mexican-American households. Now in an English/Spanish bilingual edition.

7

Mango, Abuela, and Me

by Meg Medina

Mia's Abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. Mia helps Abuela learn English and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it's still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. An endearing tale from that speaks loud and clear about learning new things and the love that bonds family members.

8

Duck for Turkey Day

by Jacquline Jules

 

It's almost Thanksgiving, and Tuyet is excited about the holiday and the vacation from school. There's just one problem: her Vietnamese American family is having duck for Thanksgiving dinner - not turkey! Kids from families with different traditions will enjoy this warm story about "the right way" to celebrate an American holiday.

9

One Green Apple

by Eve Bunting

Farah feels alone, even when surrounded by her classmates. She listens and nods but doesn’t speak. It’s hard being the new kid in school, especially when you’re from another country and don’t know the language. Then, on a field trip to an apple orchard, Farah discovers there are lots of things that sound the same as they did at home, from dogs crunching their food to the ripple of friendly laughter. As she helps the class make apple cider, Farah connects with the other students and begins to feel that she belongs.

10

Same Same but Different

 by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

 

Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different!

11

Im New Here

by Anne Sibley O’Brien

 

Three students are immigrants from Guatemala, Korea, and Somalia and have trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English in their new American elementary school. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity. 

12

Moon Cakes

by Loretta Seto

 

Mooncakes is the story of a young girl who shares the special celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival with her parents. As they eat mooncakes, drink tea and watch the night sky together, Mama and Baba tell ancient tales of a magical tree that can never be cut down, the Jade Rabbit who came to live on the moon and one brave woman's journey to eternal life.

13

Whoever You Are

by Mem Fox

Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. They may not speak the same language. Their lives may be quite different. But inside, they are all alike. Stirring words and bold paintings weave their way around our earth, across cultures and generations.

 

14

People

by Peter Spier

 

 

A celebration of diverse world cultures, young readers can pore over the many details that make each country and culture unique and special—illuminated by Spier's detailed and witty illustrations of festivals and holidays, foods, religions, homes, pets, and clothing.