Before this month, wildfires raged through our small South African town for several days, causing a lot of damage as well as a lot of pain for both humans and animals.
A lot of people came together to help each other even though there was a lot of chaos going on. When I saw how much a community could do together, it made me want to write a post about multicultural kids’ books about the power of community. These books can help kids be more active in their communities and make them better places to live.
Multicultural Children’s Books about the Power of Community
Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara
“Three urban farmers, knee-deep in the mud,” says the text. Activist, by the same person who wrote ABC book A is for Activist, is now a beautiful and inspirational counting book. To start, “Counting on Community” looks at the power of community by counting up to 10 and always counting on each other. Children will love this book because it has colorful pictures that show a diverse neighborhood and a duck on every single page, so they will enjoy it. Preschool
26 Big Things Small Hands Do by Coleen Paratore
Besides teaching the alphabet, this book shows kids what they can do with their hands, from applauding to building to planting. They can also give hand-made gifts, recycle, and help out at school. Twenty-six Big Things for Small Hands Kids learn that even small people can make big changes in the lives of their friends, family, and community. Preschool
Look Where We Live!: A First Book of Community Building by Scot Ritchie
You can follow a group of friends around their neighborhood as they try to raise money for their local library. Children learn about the many parts that make up a community and the different roles people play in making a community strong by reading Look Where We Live. Instructions on how to make a puzzle that celebrates their community are in the book. Great for the classroom, too! Preschool
Quinito’s Neighborhood/El Vecindario de Quinito by Ina Cumpiano
Love this book! A lot of people say that it helps kids learn about community, but it also challenges gender stereotypes. Bilingual Quinito’s Neighborhood takes kids on a tour of a young boy’s neighborhood and introduces them to some of the people who live there (many of whom are family members). In Quinito’s family, his mom is a carpenter, his dad is a nurse, his grandmother drives a big truck, and his aunt paints murals to brighten up the streets. They all work together to make the city better. Spanish – Preschool
Green Green: A Community Gardening Story by Marie Lamba
Green, green, clean and fresh. Brown, brown, dig the ground. As the city grows, there are less and less places to play and dig. But kids from a diverse neighborhood get their community to work together and build a garden for everyone to use in the middle of the city. Green Green is a happy and empowering new picture book that has more information about gardening and making things. Preschool
The Lemon Tree by Katherine Graham
The pancakes in this book aren’t the only thing that makes this book a favorite of my daughter. The Lemon Tree is a fun way for kids to learn about the African community spirit of Ubuntu, which means “I am because you are.” In a small South African town, Gogo and her two grandchildren make pancakes to cheer up a rainy day. To get what they need, Gogo sends Lungi and Sipho to borrow things from their neighbors and gives them lemons from their lemon tree in return. And thanks to the help of the community, they can finally eat pancakes that taste great. One of the best books I’ve ever read! African-Preschool
It Takes a Village by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
An African proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child. This story takes the reader to a market in a West African village. There is a lot of help for Yemi when her little brother dies, and the whole village comes to help. Pictures in It Takes A Village show the power of community in a way that makes the message come alive. African–Preschool.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by Isabel Campoy
Maybe Something Beautiful is based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California. It tells how art changed a community.
Mira, a little girl, brings a little happiness to her dark neighborhood by giving out pictures she’s painted and painting a bright sun on the gray walls. When a muralist sees Mira’s work, they start a project together to make the gray walls in their neighborhood look like beautiful works of art. Neighbors of all ages, races, and walks of life help with the project, which turns into a fun party that brings the community together. There are a lot of Hispanic kids in preschool and elementary school:
The One Day House by Julia Durango
As Wilson is talking to his old friend, “Orange and yellow like the sun,” he says that one day he will paint her house. Wilson is determined to make his dream come true, even though Gigi tells him that being there is more important to her. He tells everyone in the neighborhood about it. There are people from the community who show up one day and help make Gigi’s house warm. The One Day House is a story about empathy and community that is based on the labor of love movement. There are a lot of Hispanic kids in preschool and elementary school:
It Takes a Village: Picture Book Edition by Hillary Rodham Clinton
This is a picture book version of Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village.” It will be out in September. People all over the world can relate to this story. It shows how a group of people working together can make a big difference in the world. People from all walks of life work and live together in their village, and many villages coming together can make the world a better place. It’s a wide range: Preschool, Elementary School.
Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel /Si Lakas at ang Makibaka Hotel by Anthony Robles
When he hears people drumming and singing in his neighborhood, Lakas is interested. It comes from the people who live in the Makibaka Hotel, which is being sold. They are about to be kicked out because the hotel is going to be sold. In a short time, Lakas and his friends will be leading a loud and joyful protest. They will tap their hands, sing, and laugh together. Laka and the Makibaka Hotel is based on the residents of the Trinity Plaza Apartments in San Francisco who were able to fight back against the city. The book tells an inspiring story about the power of community, with colorful illustrations. The book is bilingual (English and Tagalog). Asian – First grade.
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
In a poor neighborhood, a young girl starts to clean up a lot of trash and plant some bean seeds. One by one, other people join in and turn the lot into a community garden that gives the neighborhood a new sense of hope. Seedfolks is a gentle and inspiring story about the power of community and how a little beauty can grow anywhere. It’s told from the perspectives of 13 different people who live next door to each other. – Middle School