I Can Help! Books for Young Children
There are lots of ways young children can help their families, friends, and neighbors. From playing with a younger sibling to preparing for a big party, these stories celebrate the contributions that even the littlest helpers can make!
Building with Dad
Dad's helper is ready to visit the construction site of his new school! Clever rhymes take us through the building project, from the groundbreaking to the finishing touches as the first school buses arrive. Children will pore over Bill Thomson's life-like quality of the illustrations depicting big machines and the construction site.
Clean Up, Up, Up!
It is cleanup time, and Daddy and his little one are putting away books, blocks, teddy bears, and train cars, and preparing for dinner — all while having fun with math! As Daddy talks with his toddler, he uses spatial-relationship math words and phrases like up, down, inside, outside, next to, and under to reinforce his young learner’s understanding. When it is dinnertime, the little one proudly demonstrates an understanding of down when helping to set the table and up while enjoying the first delicious bite! Spanish version available.
Cora Cooks Pancit
Cora wants to learn how to cook, but she's too young to do the jobs her older siblings do. One day, however, after the older kids have all gone out together, Cora asks her mother what they can cook together. To her surprise, Cora's mother asks her what she would like to make, and Cora chooses her favorite Filipino noodle dish, pancit. This family story about the importance of sharing tradition is brought to life by Kristi Valiant's charming illustrations and includes a bilingual glossary of Tagalog words.
Full, Full, Full of Love
Young Jay Jay helps his loving and much loved grandmother prepare for a big family dinner.
Henry's First-Moon Birthday
Product Description: Jenny's baby brother Henry is having his one-month birthday — his first-moon, as it's called in Chinese. And even though Jenny's sure he doesn't deserve it (all Henry does is sleep, eat, and cry) there's a big celebration planned for him. Together, Jenny and her grandma get everything ready, from dyeing eggs a lucky red to preparing pigs' feet and ginger soup. And someday, when Henry's old enough to appreciate all her hard work, Jenny will tell him how lucky he was to have her in charge.
I Help / Niwechihaw
Product Description: Written and illustrated by members of the Tahltan and Cree nations, this sweet, simple story looks at a very special relationship. A young boy goes for a walk with his kohkom, or grandmother, listening, picking, praying, eating, just as she does. In doing so, he begins to learn the rich cultural traditions and values of his Cree heritage. Bilingual English/Cree.
In the Woods
Short, rhyming verse combines with outdoor scenes as a boy and his dad share a camping trip. Their day is presented from fishing to cooking their dinner, until the boy — with "Nodding head/Time for bed" — is carried into their tent by his dad.
Two Navajo children help their mom do the weekly wash at the laundromat. Spanish version available.
Let Me Help!
Product Description: "Let me help! Let me help!" Perico learns this phrase from little Martita, who's been saying it a lot lately. When the whole family scrambles to prepare for Cinco de Mayo, Perico knows there must be some way he can help — even if he is just a parrot. But at every turn Perico is shooed away, until he finally figures out how he can add to the Cinco de Mayo fun.
Let's Work: Mexican Folk Art Trabajos in English and Spanish
Cynthia Weill scores again with an early concept book that bring every kind of job to life, including the work of the dedicated palm weavers of Flavio Gallardo’s workshop, whose miniature palm weavings illustrate this playful book, teaching children words for work in two languages. The weavers live in the village of Chigmecatitlán in the Mixteca part of the Mexican state of Puebla. With tremendous skill and patience, the artisans of this region practice palm weaving, a craft with a long and rich history in Mexico.
Lily's New Home (Confetti Kids)
Lily and her parents move from their suburban neighborhood to New York City. Lily is used to living in a house on a quiet street. When they arrive at their new apartment, Lily notices the amount of activity all around. Kids play jump rope on one corner. Buses and taxis zoom by. Lily feels like a small ant on such a busy block and worries that she’ll never feel at home. As she and her parents explore their new, multicultural neighborhood, Lily discovers that sometimes change can be a good thing.
Lola Reads to Leo
Lola is excited that she’s going to become a big sister. She and her parents are prepared for Leo's arrival — especially Lola who reads to him on every occasion! Warm paintings illustrate this gently, recognizable look at one family's everyday goings-on.
Rosa's Very Big Job
When spunky preschooler Rosa decides to help out her busy mama, she enlists Grandpa’s help to put away the clean laundry.
A Mexican American girl and her grandfather have just finished baking cookies, and everyone in the family wants one. Follow along as the girl shares the cookies one by one! Spanish version available. A lesson plan is included on the Lee and Low website.
A mother and her child get the ingredients for soup on a snowy day and then add everything to the pot. The pair plays snug and warm while the soup simmers until Dad comes home when they enjoy soup together. Crisp collage and a simple text make for a cozy read.
Speak English for Us, Marisol!
"Marisol is rushing home from school to see to her cat, but on the way she's stopped by adult family members and neighbors who need her to translate from Spanish for them so that they can communicate with shopkeepers and officials in English. Whether she's helping Uncle Tomas bargain with the poultry man, showing her neighbor how to fill out an application form, or speaking for Mama about a problem with the telephone bureaucracy, Marisol translates the words and also interprets the messages across cultures." — Booklist
The Empanadas That Abuela Made
Product description: Baking is always a treat, particularly when you throw family and fun into the mix. In this whimsical look at the making of empanadas, popular children's author Gonzales Bertrand serves up the festive fun of a family's effort to concoct the delicious pastries with humorous cooks and family: Abuela, Abuelo, the cousins, aunts, uncles, and even the family dog join the parade of fluttering flour and swirling sugar. Alex Pardo de Lange fills the pages with offbeat illustrations of blankets of dough and dancing rolling pins. Bilingual text.
What Boo and I Do
A young Asian American girl and her dog Boo visit with elderly people, showing how rewarding it can be to help others. Spanish version available.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!