Research Guide: Multicultural Literature for Youth

About this Guide

The following resources are meant to assist with scholarly research, curriculum design, and library services related to multicultural children’s literature.

This guide is aimed at scholars and practitioners from fields such as youth services librarianship, school library media, education, the humanities, and other related disciplines.


Print Books

Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading (2013) edited by Jamie Campbell Naidoo and Sarah Park Dahlen
Location: KSU Main Library, 7th Floor — Call Number: PS153.M56 D58 2013
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This contributed volume provides guidelines for selecting diverse youth literature and suggestions for programs and strategies to promote multicultural literature in library and classroom environments.


Multicultural Children’s Literature: Through the Eyes of Many Children (2009) by Donna E. Norton
Location: KSU Main Library, 7th Floor — Call Number: PS153.M56 N675 2009
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This book features a selection of multicultural books, research, educational activities, and discussion of multicultural literature for early readers through young adults.


Multicultural Picturebooks: Art for Illuminating Our World (2005) by Sylvia and Ken Marantz
Location: KSU Main Library, 7th Floor — Call Number: Z1037 .M267 2005
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This book includes profiles of multicultural picture books with reviews of storylines and artwork descriptions. It focuses on visual storytelling qualities of picture books.


The Stories we Share: A Guide to PreK-12 Books on the Experience of Immigrant Children and Teens in the United States (2018) by Ladislava N. Khailova
Location: KSU Main Library, 7th Floor — Call Number: Z1037.A1 K43 2018
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This guide highlights fiction and nonfiction titles (published from 1990-2015) featuring a first- or second-generation immigrant child or teen as the main character or narrator.


*Access to eBooks requires KSU login. KSU users can connect to resources off-campus.

Children’s Literature in the Reading Program: Engaging Young Readers in the 21st Century (2018) edited by Deborah A. Wooten, Lauren Aimonette Lang, and Bernice E. Cullinan
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This educational resource discusses how to incorporate children’s literature in K-8 classrooms, with several chapters focused on diverse and multicultural literature.


Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature: Mirrors, Windows, and Doors (2009) by Maria José Botelho and Masha Kabakow Rudman
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This book prepares teachers, educators, and researchers on how to analyze the ideological elements of reading and studying multicultural literature. Each chapter includes suggestions for classroom application and further reading.


Multiracial Identity in Children’s Literature: Reading Diversity in the Classroom (2017) by Amina Chaudhri
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This book consists of a critical analysis of contemporary children’s fiction, including current and historical discourse on how multiracial experiences are portrayed and reflected through images and text. Includes a chapter on teaching and learning utilizing multiracial children’s fiction.


Multicultural Children’s Literature: A Critical Issues Approach (2011) by Ambika Gopalakrishnan with contributions by Kimberly Persiani-Becker
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This comprehensive text helps K-12 teachers use multicultural literature in the classroom to focus on critical social issues. Each chapter includes sample lessons plans and an annotated bibliography for selecting appropriate multicultural books.

Web Resources

Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for the Middle Grades
This free multicultural literature workshop from Annenberg Learner introduces middle school educators to ethnically diverse American writers and offers dynamic instructional methods. It includes eight one-hour video programs and an online workshop guide.

Ted Talk: The Danger of a Single Story (2009)
Novelist Chimamanda Adichie presents discusses how she discovered her authentic voice and addresses the importance of stories with various cultural perspectives. She warns of the critical misunderstandings that can arise from only being presented with a single narrative.

We Need Diverse Books
We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the production and promotion of diverse literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. The WNDB website includes book-talking kits and resources for finding diverse books.

Databases & Journals

Useful database for conducting research in the field of education. Includes information from journals, magazines, books, conferences, and governmental agencies.

International Children’s Digital Library
This is an open access collection of digital children’s books from around the world. The collection includes over 4,500 books in 59 different languages.

International Journal of Multicultural Education
This is an open access journal dedicated to promoting cross-cultural understanding and educational equity in all levels of education.

Library Literature and Information Science Full Text
This database indexes library and information science journals, books, chapters within books, conference proceedings, selected state journals, library school theses, and pamphlets.

MultiCultural Review
This journal includes articles on minority experiences, curriculum design, collection development, and practical ideas for educators and librarians.

Professional Groups & Conferences

American Library Association Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT)
EMIERT is an ALA group that focuses on providing a source of information for multicultural collection development, library services, and outreach programs.

The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME)
NAME is a non-profit organization that advocates for equity, inclusion, diversity, and social justice through multicultural education.

The Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth at Kent State University
Honoring African-American author Virginia Hamilton, this annual conference is the longest-running event in the United States to focus exclusively on multicultural literature for children and teens.

Book Awards

American Indian Youth Literature Award, sponsored by the American Indian Library Association

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association

Carter G. Woodson Book Award (Literature depicting ethnicity in the U.S.), sponsored by the National Council for the Social Studies

Coretta Scott King Book Awards (African American literature), sponsored by the American Library Association’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT)

Notable Books for a Global Society (Global children’s literature), sponsored by the International Reading Association

Pura Belpré Award (Latino literature), sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children and REFORMA

Sydney Taylor Book Award (Jewish literature), sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries

Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature (Diverse literature written by diverse authors), sponsored by We Need Diverse Books

Contact Info & Hours

Kent State University Library
1125 Risman Dr. Kent, OH 44242
KSU Library Hours

The Reinberger Children’s Library Center (RCLC)
3rd floor of Kent State University Library
RCLC Hours

Michelle Baldini, M.L.S.
Director, Reinberger Children’s Library Center

Created by Graduate Assistant Julia Stone on April 1, 2020