the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters
by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack, Illustrated
by John Thompson
What would it be like to have serve dinner to slave-owners on
Christmas day, while your own family took their meal in the slave
quarters? This book gives historical accounts of Christmas on
a plantation, moving between narratives from the "big house"
and accounts of life in the slave quarters.
My First Kwanzaa
by Deborah M. Chocolate
This book teaches about the seven-day festival of Kwanzaa, a
true African-American celebration of cultural heritage.
by Malka Drucker
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992
Learning to make a holiday meal can be a very special way of
learning about your family heritage. In this book, young Molly
learns how to make latkes from her grandmother, who tells Molly
all about the meaning of Hanukkah. A recipe for latkes is included
in this book.
In the Month of
Kislev: A Story for Hanukkah
by Nina Jaffe
Why would a rich merchant want to make children without money
pay just to smell his Hanukkah latkes? Find out how the Rabbi
in this story makes a good plan, so everyone learns a valuable
lesson of the season.
Tree of Cranes
Written and illustrated by Allen Say
Houghton Mifflin, 1991
In this book, a young Japanese boy learns about mixing cultures
and Christmas, when his mother, who grew up in the United States,
decorates a pine tree with paper cranes.
An Island Christmas
by Lynn Joseph
Clarion Books, 1992
On the island of Trinidad in the Carribean, Rosie and her brother
celebrate Christmas by gathering red petals for the sorrel drink,
helping bake black currant cakes, singing with the parang band,
and hanging ornaments on a guava branch.
All the Lights in
by Arthur A. Levine
Tambourine Books, 1991
Although the tsar has made life unbearable for the Jewish peoples
of Russia, Moses and his little brother Benjamin make a dangerous
journey to safety in Palestine. On the way, they find a way to
celebrate a special Hanukkah.
by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991
A hundred years ago, in Eastern Europe, it is a few days before
Passover, and a young boy wants to adopt a cat, whom he calls
An Ellis Island
by Maxinne Rhea Leighton
At the height of European immigration to the United States, a
little Polish girl begins on her travels with her family, to
join her father in the United States. Their long journey at sea
ends with a welcome at Ellis Island on Christmas Eve.
Three Kings Day
by Beatriz Zapater
Modern Curriculum Press, 1992
On January 6, the people of Puerto Rico celebrate Three Kings
Day. Even living now in the United States, two young Puerto Rican
children prepare for this awesome day.
Lion Dancer: Ernie
Wan's Chinese New Year
by Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low
In New York City's Chinatown, Ernie Wan tells the story of how
his family celebrates the Chinese lunar New Year.
Alef-Bet: A Hebrew
by Michelle Edwards
Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1992
This lovely portrait of the home life of a Jewish family helps
young listeners and early readers to learn more about both Jewish
culture and the modern Hebrew language. Includes introductory
notes on the Hebrew language and alphabet.
by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
Holiday House, 1992
Spring is the season when Reggie, an Inupiat Alaskan native who
makes his home in Kotzebue, Alaska, travels through the northern
areas of the Arctic Circle to his family's to their camp, where
Reggie learns more every year about his family's traditions.
A Birthday Basket
by Pat Mora
This book, by celebrated Chicana poet Pat Mora, tells the story
of how Celia presents her favorite aunt with a wonderful basket
filled with reminders of happy times they have shared together.
by Juanita Havill
Houghton Mifflin Co, 1992
What are the secret treasures Alicia's abuela brought with her
to the United States? The little girl in this story finds out,
one day when it's much too hot to take a nap, and Mama tells
Alicia about how her great-great-grandmother came to the United
States from Mexico bringing treasures.
by Sandra Cisneros
Apple Soup/Knopf, 1994
From one of our most widely-recognized Chicana writers, this
is the story of one girl's reflections on all the different kinds
of hair her family members have, bringing an understanding of
how difference can also be part of what every family shares.
From Miss Ida's
by Sandra Belton, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Four Winds, 1993
Family can also mean the power of a belonging to a strong community.
In this book, Miss Ida's porch is the place where all sorts of
family -- mothers, fathers, uncles, grandmothers, and neighbors
-- gather to swap stories of their lives and memories.
by Gloria Jean Pinkney
How are your city relatives different from your family members
who live down south? Ernestine lives in a city up North, but
finds out more about a different world, on the North Carolina
farm where she was born.
The Sunday Outing
by Gloria Jean Pinkney, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Pinkey's Ernestine once again dreams of visiting her relatives
in North Carolina, and in this story, she gets to ride a train
to do it.
Over the Green Hills
by Rachel Isadora
What if you had to walk far, far away to visit your grandmother?
Zolani, his mother, and baby Noma, who live deep in their homeland
of South Africa, must walk many miles across the Transkei countryside
to visit Grandma Zindzi, but arriving is worth the trip.
At the Crossroads
by Rachel Isadora
In this story, South African children come together at the crossroads
to reunite with their fathers who have been away for ten months
working in the mines.
What His Father
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
Houghton Mifflin, 1992
A folktale about how Herschel, while traveling from Minsk to
Pinsk, tricks an innkeeper into giving him a meal by promising
to show the innkeeper just what his father did long ago, when
he got no supper. What could make the innkeeper want to give
Herschel the meal? Read this book!
Coal Mine Peaches
by Michelle Dionetti
Orchard Books, 1991
What's one of the best ways to learn about your family's heritage?
Ask an elder! In this story, a young girl finds out about who
her family is through her grandfather's stories about his boyhood
in Italy and coming to the United States.
by Allen Say
A simply elegant book, showing the grace and power of an Asian
grandfather's return to his "home."
by John Cech
Bradbury Press, 1991
Korie learns about her Russian heritage from her grandmother,
who saw many mysterious, wonderful, and frightening things, throughout
Dancing With the
by Angela Shelf Medearis
Holiday House, 1991
Although we don't much like the title of this book, there is
value in the story of a young African American girl who joins
a Seminole pow-wow in the 1930s, and learns about how the tribal
ancestors rescued her grandfather from slavery and accepted him
as a brother.
Learning to Heed
Wisdom of the Ages...
by Jan Wahl
Lodestar Books, 1992
In this rural North Carolina folktale, Little Eight John is just
as mean as mean can be! He won't listen to his mother, and moans
and groans and turns away from all good sense ... until one Sunday
he is turned into a spot of jam on the kitchen table!
Dragon Kite of the
by Valerie Reddix
Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard, 1991
Understanding the ancient Chinese traditions of Taiwan, Tad-Tin
knows that, on the ninth day of the ninth month, he can fly his
special dragon kite and release it into the sky. The kite will
take all Tad-Tin's troubles away with it, and his sick grandfather
will be well again.
Older Brother, Younger
Retold by Nina Jaffe, Illustrated by Wenhai Ma
A traditional Korean folktale here teaches one of the most common
wisdoms of the ages: that if we are kind when others are not,
good will always triumph over hardship.
Hoang Breaks the
by Rosemary K. Breckler
Houghton Mifflin, 1992
What would happen if a child broke an important part of a family
tradition? In this story, Hoang, a Vietnamese boy, breaks the
gia truyen, a teapot which houses May Man, good
spirits and protects his family's good fortunes! Will he be able
to fix the teapot and keep away bad luck?
Ooka the Wise: Tales
of Old Japan
by I. G. Edmonds, Illustrated by Sanae Yamazaki
Linnet Books, 1994
The wisdom of the ages brings balance, justice and fairness,
in these stories about the many good decisions Judge Ooka makes,
no matter how difficult or strange the situations.
by Barbara Cohen, Illustrated by Michael Deraney
The word "pilgrim" means a "traveler," and
in this book, Molly's mother doesn't believe in the idea that
all the pilgrims came to the United States on boats from England
to Plymouth Rock. In fact, Molly's mother rocks that notion when
she honors her heritage as a Jewish immigrant from Russia, by
helping her daughter present a clothespin pilgrim doll that looks
Russian for a class Thanksgiving project.
Sachiko Means Happiness
by Kimiko Sakai
Children's Book Press, 1990
Sachiko, a young Japanese-American girl, loves her grandmother
dearly. In this story, Sachiko learns that her grandmother is
getting older, and that she has become ill with Alzheimer's disease.
Understanding what this change will mean brings Sachiko even
closer to her family.
A Forever Family:
A Book About Adoption
Story and pictures by Roslyn Banish with Jennifer Jordan-Wong
Told through a moving photo essay, Jennifer Jordan-Wong, who
is eight, shares her story about living with an African-American
foster family. When she is later adopted, Jennifer shares the
many ways in which all kinds of families and cultures blend and
become one "forever family."
by Carmen Santiago Nodar
Albert Whitman, 1992
After her grandmother has passed away, Marita curls into Abuelita's
rocking chair and remembers Abuelita's stories about her childhood
in Puerto Rico. Text available in both bilingual and Spanish-only
by Joseph Bruchac, Illustrated by Paul Morin
Sorrow is replaced by a new peaceful understanding in this story,
when young Jamie comes to feel that her grandmother, even in
death, is still near her.
Beyond the Ridge
by Paul Goble
What changes may come when the spirit travels? This lovely book
tells the story of of a Plains Indian grandmother on a spiritual
Roses Sing on New
Snow: A Delicious Tale
by Paul Yee
What is the answer to understanding the past? In this story of
1900's Chinatown, Maylin makes a dish for the visiting governor
of South China, and names it "Roses Sing on New Snow."
But, when the governor wants the recipe to take back to China,
Maylin explains it's a New World dish that cannot be made in
the Old World! Find out why, by reading this book.
Yang the Youngest
and His Terrible Ear
by Lensey Namioka, Illustrated by Kees de Kiefte
Little Brown, 1992
What if everyone in your family shared the same talent, and you
didn't have that talent? In this humorous story of finding value
in difference and change, Yingtao lives with his Chinese family
in Seattle, and is the youngest boy in this family in which everyone
makes great music. But Yingtao is pretty sure he's got no musical
talent at all, so he wants to give up his violin lessons. How
will he convince his parents that sometimes change brings new
Cooperation Among Families and Friends
or, Go I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What
A Russian Tale retold by Diane Wolkstein
Morrow Junior Books, 1991
A jealous Russian king wants to break apart Alexis' family by
stealing his wife, so the king orders Alexis to go I Know Not
Where and bring back I Know Not What. But family is family, and
Alexis and his very smart wife Olga outsmart the jealous king.
Find out how!
The Day of Ahmed's
by Florence Parry and Judith Heide Gilliland
Ahmed has a wonderful secret that he can hardly wait to share
with his family: he has learned to write his name in Arabic!
But, before he can go home to tell everyone his good news, Ahmed
must finish his day working as a butagaz boy, delivering
the cooking gas his customers need all over Cairo.
Sami and the Time
of the Troubles
by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland
Many children have known times when even their parents were afraid.
Learning to work together as a family to bring hope from fear
is what ten-year-old Sami learns, when a war breaks out in Beirut,
and Sami and his family must hide in their basement, hoping for
the day the violence will end.
The Lily Cupboard
by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim
When the Second World War makes home an unsafe place for a Jewish
family in Holland, a young girl is sent to find stay with friends
of her parents, who work to provide safety and become a different
kind of family.
Green Corn Tamales/Tamales
by Gina M. Rodríguez, Illustrated by Gary Shepard
Tucson, AZ: Hispanic Book Distributors, 1994
A Latino family reunion at abuela's house is warmed by the tradition
of making tamales for all. A great book for teaching young listeners
and early readers the value of performing simple tasks together.
by Yumi Heo
Orchard Books, 1994
Yumi Heo both writes and illustrates this lovely book that teaches
again the bond that develops between family members while sharing
chores. Here, a Korean boy and his mother spend a day doing errands,
and readers discover what closeness that may bring.