My America: Many Stories, Many Voices
These books highlight a diverse range of American voices and experiences, including voting in an election, immigrating to this country, and the journey to becoming a U.S. citizen.
To see special stories about military families and veterans, take a look at our related booklists.
A Picnic in October
Tony is not looking forward to his family's annual picnic at Liberty Island in October. Nevertheless, his grandmother insists that they maintain the tradition of celebrating her birthday with Lady Liberty. At first it doesn't seem like much fun — until Tony finally begins to understand why the Statue of Liberty means so much to his grandmother. Lovely colorful acrylic paintings bring this special tribute to life.
America: A Book of Opposites
Illustrated by ten talented children's book artists, this collection celebrates in words (both Spanish and English) and images what America is all about: diversity. Young children are led through a land of opposites, where they learn how to differentiate between high and low, wet and dry, and rough and smooth.
Apple Pie 4th of July
"No one wants to eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July," says a young girl to her parents who insist on keeping their Chinese restaurant open on Independence Day. An honest portrayal of the tug between traditions old and new, as well as what it really means to be American.
Code Talker Stories
Product Description: The Diné (Navajo) language helped win World War II, and it lives on in this book, as the Code Talkers remember the war and reflect on the aftermath and the legacy they will leave behind. The veterans, able to speak to a daughter of one of their own in English and Diné, truly shared from their hearts. They not only provided more battlefield details, but they also reveal how their war experiences affected themselves and the generations that followed.
Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year
Twenty poems explore liberty, kids' rights, free speech, political debates, unusual presidential candidates, the two-party system, voting, the electoral college, and more. "A Voter's Journal" appears at the end of the book, featuring a dozen writing prompts and a discussion guide with space for journal entries. These poems are simple enough for a second grader to understand, yet complex enough to start interesting discussions among people of all ages.
Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops
"Biden, wife of the Vice President, watched for a year as her granddaughter, Natalie, dealt with the deployment of her father (Beau) to Iraq. Using Natalie's experiences as a springboard, Biden chronicles what life is like for a child with a parent fighting far from home…As always, Colón's scratchboard-style art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, invites a closer look...The excellent back matter gives readers myriad ways that both adults and children can help military families in their own communities." — Booklist
In 1994, Caldecott Honor artist and five-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the U.S. with her infant son. In this picture book which she wrote and illustrated, Yuyi tells the story of how she and her son made a home in a new place, finding refuge at the public library. A Spanish-language version is also available. Pura Belpré Author Award Winner.
Good Night Captain Mama
A little boy is walking to his bedroom when he notices his mother in an olive-green military flight suit. His curiosity about the colorful patches on her uniform evolves into a bedtime conversation between a military mother and her child about why she serves and what she does in the unusual KC-135R aerial refueling airplane. He drifts off to sleep with thoughts of his mommy in the airplane and the special surprise she gives him. This unique book was written by a Latina military officer and former aviator. Bilingual text.
Grace for President
An inspired teacher, the discovery of the fact that all U.S. Presidents (so far) have been male, and a tenacious girl provide the basis of a satisfying, surprisingly plausible story that explains the voting process in this country — including the Electoral College.
A young man travels from his native Japan to the vast country called America before returning to visit his home with his bride. The exquisite watercolors give the appearance of a family photo album as it relates this autobiographical but universal story of immigration.
Country of origin: Japan
How to Bake an American Pie
Including a dash of purple mountain majesties, cupfuls of courage, and a pinch of liberty, this beautifully illustrated combination of ingredients yields an irresistible treat that promises plenty of servings for children everywhere.
I Pledge Allegiance
Pat Mora and her daughter share the story of Pat's beloved aunt, Lobo, who is from Mexico but who has lived in the United States for many years. She wants to become a U.S. citizen, and at the end of the week, Lobo will say the Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony. Young Libby is also learning the Pledge this week, at school — at the end of the week, she will stand up in front of everyone and lead the class in the Pledge. Libby and Lobo practice together, asking questions and sharing stories and memories until they both stand tall and proud, with their hands over their hearts.
I'm New Here
Maria, Jin, and Fatimah are new to their American elementary school. The words that they hear around them and see on the page are confusing. They each long for the language that they understand and the friends who understand them back home. They feel as though they don’t fit in—they are alone, confused, and sad in their new school. After observing those around them, each new student slowly gains the confidence to interact with their new surroundings. They realize that their peers and teachers are very supportive, welcoming, and excited to learn what these new classmates have to share.
I, Too, Am America
A celebration of Pullman porters is the focus of this new picture-book edition of Langston Hughes' classic poem. The collage spreads, blending oil paintings and cut paper, begin with an image of a speeding train before moving on to large portraits of African American porters serving white passengers aboard a luxury train. When the passengers leave, the porters gather left-behind items — newspapers, blues and jazz albums — and toss them from the train. Carried by the wind, the words and music fall into the hands of African Americans across the country.
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
Meet Shirley Temple Wong, a delightful heroine who has come from China and arrived in Brooklyn in 1947 — the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. Based on the author's own experiences, the story captures the highs and lows of coming to live in a new country, learning English, and falling in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers during moments that are both heartbreaking and hilarious. A must-read for teachers working with ELLs and newcomer students.
Handsome, artistic sepia portraits of young and older African Americans combine with Hughes' short poem. Together image and word presents a memorable celebration of beauty and diversity of a people. Smith includes a note describing how he approached the classic poem.
Oskar and the Eight Blessings
A refugee seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht, Oskar arrives by ship in New York City with only a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to his new home in the north of the city, he passes experiences the city's many holiday sights, and encounters it various residents. Each offers Oskar a small act of kindness, welcoming him to the city and helping him on his way to a new life in the new world.
The American Wei
Wei can hardly believe his luck — he is about to become an American citizen and lose a tooth on the same day! What starts as double luck becomes double trouble, however, when he loses his tooth in front of the federal courthouse. Marion Hess Pomeranc presents a funny, heartwarming story about the blending of cultures and the excitement of becoming a new U.S. citizen.
The Flag We Love
Read this book aloud to young readers to teach them about the United States flag, its history, and meaning. The short verse, historical tidbits, and realistic illustrations result in a brief, moving, and patriotic look at this American symbol. Spanish version available.
We the People: Angel Island
This non-fiction book tells the story of Angel Island's role in the story of immigration to U.S., particularly focusing on the interrogation of Chinese immigrants. An informative account of an important and often-forgotten chapter of American history.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!