Great Picture Books
For the Young and Young At Heart

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Honor Asian Pacific American History

Angel Child/Dragon Child, by Michele Stuart. Ut, a Vietnamese girl attending school in the United States, lonely for her mother left behind in Vietnam, makes a new friend who presents her with a wonderful gift.

Apple Pie 4th of July, by Janet S. Wong. A Chinese American child fears that the food her parents are preparing to sell on the Fourth of July will not be eaten.

Butterflies for Kiri, by Cathryn Falwell. Kiri, a Japanese American girl who loves to draw and paint, tries to use the origami set she received for her birthday.

Dia's story cloth, by Dia Cha. The story cloth made for her by her aunt and uncle chronicles the life of the author and her family in their native Laos and their eventual emigration to the United States.

Dumpling Soup, by Jama Kim Rattigan. A young Hawaiian girl tries to make dumplings for her family's New Year's celebration.

Empress and the Silkworm, by Lily Toy Hong.  A fictionalized account of the Empress of China's discovery, around 2700 B.C., that the cocoons of the worms in her mulberry trees were made of fine, shiny, silken thread which could be made into beautiful cloth.

Hush! A Thai Lullaby, by Minfong Ho. A lullaby which asks animals such as a lizard, monkey, and water-buffalo to be quiet and not disturb the sleeping baby.

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Celebrate African American History

A picture book of Rosa Parks, by Charles Adler. A biography of the Alabama black woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus helped establish the civil rights movement.

Down the winding road, by Angela Johnson. The annual summer visit to the country home of the Old Ones--the seven uncles and aunts who raised Daddy--brings joy and good times for Jesse and his sister.

Freedom Summer, by Debbie Wiles. In 1964, Joe is pleased that a new law will allow his best friend John Henry, who is colored, to share the town pool and other public places with him, but he is dismayed to find that prejudice still exists.

Malcolm X: a fire burning brightly, by Walter Dean Myers. This compelling narrative for picture-book readers explores Malcolm's journey from his tragic childhood to his life as a street hustler, a Black Muslim, a prison inmate, and a fearless leader in the struggle for blacks to achieve equality.

Martin's big words: the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Doreen Rappaport. This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brings his life and the profound nature of his message to young readers through his own words, using quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell his life story in a simple, direct way. Full-color illustrations.

Master man: a tall tale of Nigeria, by Aaron Shepard. A boastful strong man learns a lesson harder than his muscles when he encounters one of Nigeria's superheroes in this Hausa tale which explains the origin of thunder.

The spider weaver: a legend of kente cloth, by Margaret Musgrove. In this retelling of a tale from Ghana, a wondrous spider shows two Ashanti weavers how to make intricate, colorful patterns in the cloth that they weave.

When Marian sang: the true recital of Marian Anderson, the voice of a century, by Pam Muñoz Ryan. An introduction to the life of Marian Anderson, extraordinary singer and civil rights activist, who was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, whose life and career encouraged social change.
[Celebrate African American History] [More Great Picture Books]

More Great Picture Books 

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr., by David A. Adler and illustrated by Robert Casilla. Holiday House, 1989 (16 pages). David Adler, a popular children's book author, has written a series of picture books about important American figures. While this book emphasizes his childhood and families, it also encourages readers to imagine what racism and segregation would feel like and documents his struggles for non-violent change up to and including his assassination.

Abuela, by Arthur Dorros.   Flying around Manhattan Island, somersaulting in midair, resting in the sky on a chair-shaped cloud. Rosalba and her grandmother, her abuela, are having an extraordinary adventure. How do they manage this exhilarating travel that started in the park? On Rosalba's marvelous imagination. Full-color illustrations. 

Black Cowboy, Wild Horses, by Julius Lester.  A black cowboy is so in tune with wild mustangs that they accept him into the herd, thus enabling him singlehandedly to take them to the corral. Based on true accounts by Bob Lemmons, a former slave, "Black Cowboy, Wild Horses" chronicles Lemmons' adventures as he tracks wild horses across the plains. Full color illustrations.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin.  Farmer Brown thinks it's odd when he hears the sounds of typing coming from the barn, but his troubles really begin when his cows start leaving him notes. First they demand better working conditions, then they stage a strike! Full color. 

Eight Animals on the Town, by Susan Middleton Elya.  A rhyming romp that introduces readers to numbers and vocabulary in Spanish. Eight animals each go to the market and purchase critter-appropriate supper supplies. Together the animals enjoy their evening repast, go dancing, and then drive home. A glossary and pronunciation guide is provided for readers unfamiliar with the language. Fun book with wonderful, full-color illustrations.

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by J. Brian Pinkey.   This book presents a compelling look at the life and death of Martin Luther King. The main aspects of his life and struggles for civil rights are covered in an abbreviated format for young readers. The foreword includes suggestions for "softening" the impact of his murder when reading the book to children.

Her stories: African American folktales, fairy tales, and true tales, by Virginia Hamilton.   In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition. Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows. Full-color illustrations.

Mama Cat Has Three Kittens, by Denise Fleming.  While two kittens copy everything their mother does, their brother naps.

Off To School, Baby Duck, by Amy Hest. Baby Duck experiences the fear of the first day of school, but with a little help from Grampa, everything turns out okay in the end.

Peace Crane, by Sheila Hamanaka.   On August 6,1945, a bomb fell and a peace movement began. Out of the ashes grew the legacy of Sadako, the child who folded a thousand paper cranes. Now the authors use majestic oil paintings and heartfelt verse to express the hopes of another child, trapped in the violence's of today's world, who dreams of finding the true spirit of Sadako--peace for our troubled time.

The people could fly: the picture book, by Virginia Hamilton.   In this retelling of a folktale, a group of slaves, unable to bear their sadness and starvation any longer, calls upon the African magic that allows them to fly away.

Skysister, by Jan Bourdeau Waboose.  Two young Ojibway sisters set off on a midnight journey to witness the dance of the SkySisters -- the Northern Lights. Stunning illustrations are infused with the chill of a wintry night, the warmth of the family circle and the radiance of a child's wonder. 

Uptown, by Bryan Collier.   A tour of the sights of Harlem, including the Metro-North Train, brownstones, shopping on 125th Street, a barber shop, summer basketball, the Boy's Choir, and sunset over the Harlem River.
Zomo The Rabbit: A Trickster Tale From West Africa, by Gerald McDermott.  Zomo is a very clever rabbit, who asks Sky-God for wisdom. But Zomo must accomplish three difficult tasks--collect scales from Big Fish, milk from Strong Cow, and a tooth from Leopard. Is Zomo really clever enough to accomplish the nearly impossible?
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