It’s that time of year again, when we gather around our families and friends to observe the various winter holidays. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas are important holidays that are marked during the month of December. The Public Awareness Committee makes a special effort to promote programs and books that celebrate multiculturalism through promotion of El día de los niños/ El día de los libros, commonly known as Día, and below you will find some of my favorite multicultural holiday picture books. What better way to honor and educate others about these festivities than with a fun holiday book? Little ones and adults alike are sure to enjoy sharing these stories. Any of these titles would make a great gift as well!
Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel; Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Holiday House, 2013. Old Bear is mistaken to be the rabbi by Bubba Brayna on the first night of Hannukkah.
Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah by Jamie Korngold; Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry. Kar-Ben, 2013. After Sadie breaks the menorah she made at her Jewish school, her mom helps to convert it into a shammash holder to light the family’s other menorahs.
Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012. Every December, a young girl enjoys celebrating the uniqueness of two winter holidays with her family.
The Christmas Coat: Memories of my Sioux Childhood by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve; Illustrated by Ellen Beier. Holiday House, 2011. In this winner of the American Indian Library Association’s 2011 Youth Literature Award, Virginia dreams of the perfect coat that will keep her warm during the harsh South Dakota winter.
Pablo’s Christmas by Hugo C. Martin; Illustrated by Lee Chapman. Sterling, 2006. When Pablo’s father leaves him in charge of the small, rural farm in Mexico, Pablo does his best to make Christmas special.
The Legend of the Poinsettia retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994. This retelling of a Mexican legend explains the meaning of the beautiful flower and how it served as a significant gift.
Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis; Illustrated by Daniel Minter. Albert Whitman & Company, 2000. This original African folktale tells the plight of many brothers who are constantly fighting while cleverly outlining the seven principles of the holiday.
My First Kwanzaa by Deborah Chocolate; Illustrated by Cal Massey. Scholastic, 1999. Lovely illustrations and simple text serve as an excellent introduction to the Kwanzaa holiday as we see one family celebrate their heritage.
What are some of your favorite multicultural holiday books to share during December?
Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, OH and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.