30 Multicultural Summer Read Alouds


If you remember… 2022 is the year of Equity for me.  Part of finding and incorporating more equitable practices in my classroom is ensuring that I allow my students access to multicultural texts.  It is my goal that they not only see themselves in the stories that they read but also be exposed to other cultures.  Summer is all about self-care, taking the time for yourself, and having fun in the sun!  Let your students’ minds shine bright with these multicultural books for summer!

Let’s check out 30 Multicultural Summer Read Alouds that are a must for any classroom or home library.  Not only do these texts have diverse characters, but their stories will “shine” in your hearts and minds as well.  I love #13 and #25 on this list.  However, I am super excited because I just ordered #25 and I think it might be my new obsession just from the description! All of the provided books are offered through our Amazon Affiliate account.

Be a Leader This Summer

1. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

By: Vashti Harrison

I’m starting off this great list with a collection of biographies! The narratives are paired with colorful illustrations and are educational.  The short stories bring the experiences and achievements of these women to life and are truly inspirational. Some iconic women discussed in the book include Ruby Bridges, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Katherine Johnson, Alice Ball, and more!

2. How to Code a Sandcastle

By: Josh Funk

Start off with your students writing about the steps they would take to Build A Sandcastle!  Follow up that activity with this text where your students will hear the story of Pearl and Pascal – who are trying to build the perfect sandcastle. Using fundamental computer coding concepts like sequences and loops, Pearl and Pascal are able to break down their sandcastle problem into small, manageable steps.  A great child-friendly discussion of coding and other STEM-related topics

3. Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

By: Chris Barton & Don Tate

Celebrate the inventor of the Super Soaker in this inspiring picture book biography about Lonnie Johnson, the maker behind one of the world’s favorite toys.  It is truly an interesting conversation with students when you discuss the origins of some of their favorite items, toys, or food.  After this text, your students will be intrigued to find out more!  Start off with this inventions and inventor unit or even allow your students to choose their own topic to research

4. Only One You

By: Linda Kranz

There’s only one you in this great big world. Make it a better place. Adri’s mama and papa share some of the wisdom they have gained through the years with their eager son. Their words, simple and powerful, are meant to comfort and guide him as he goes about exploring the world.

5. The Magic of Me, My Magical Choices

By: Becky Cummings

I always like to point out to my readers and coworkers the power of choice.  Students will be instantly drawn to the beautiful illustrations and fun rhymes that empower them to be responsible for their own happiness. Parents and teachers love the social-emotional message that greatness comes by making the choice to take positive actions towards a goal.

6. Tia Isa Wants a Car

By: Meg Medina

While Tía Isa wants to save money for a car that will take the whole family to the beach, her niece does odd jobs for neighbors. But it’s hard to save enough when half the money is set aside to someday bring family members who live far away to join them.  Will they ever make it to the beach?  Will Tía Isa save enough money for a car?  Find out in this perfect summer text! 

Be A Dreamer This Summer

7. Dreamers

By: Yuyi Morales

Dreamers is a celebration of what migrants bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And is a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own gifts wherever we roam.  There is also a Spanish edition available as well. 

8. Come On Rain!

By: Karen Hesse

What does one wish for on a sweltering hot summer day?  A cool breeze? A cold ice cream treat?  How about a cool rainfall?!  That’s exactly what Tess is wishing for.  And when it comes, she and her friends are ready for a surprising joyous celebration.  How will your students feel this summer?  Do they think they need a rainy day?  Let them voice their opinion with a persuasive writing piece

9. Summer Days and Nights

By: Wong Herbert Yee

Sometimes we need to stop and appreciate the small little things that come with different seasons.  On a hot summer day, a little girl finds ways to entertain herself and stay cool. She catches a butterfly, sips lemonade, jumps in a pool, and goes on a picnic. At night, she sees an owl in a tree and a frog in a pond, and hears leaves rustling. Before long, she’s fast asleep, dreaming about more summer days and summer nights.

10. Imagine!

By: Raul Colon

My students love to use their imagination when it comes to a resource like Transformation stations!  They love to create.  That is why the arts are so important.  In Imagine!, a boy finally decides to go into a city museum. He passes wall after wall of artwork until he sees a painting that makes him stop and ponder. Before long the painting comes to life and an afternoon of adventure and discovery unfolds, changing how he sees the world ever after.

11. Penny and Penelope

By: Dan Richards

Penny and Penelope are very different dolls. Penelope is a sweet princess, while Penny is a fierce secret agent. Penelope wants to ride her pony through the countryside, while Penny wants to wrestle alligators. How can they possibly get along playing in an imaginary kingdom? Luckily, Penny and Penelope are more than their packaging. After all, you can’t judge a doll by its outfit.

12. Kalamata’s Kitchen

By: Sarah Thomas

Here is the perfect text for the end of the summer as back to school quickly approaches.  Follow Kalamata and her alligator sidekick on the first of many exciting food adventures in a charming story about facing fears and overcoming back-to-school jitters.  A great back-to-school tale that you can read alongside a FREEBIE Bingo Game to ease those back-to-school jitters!


Stand Out in the Best Way

13. La Princesa And The Pea

By: Susan Middleton Elya

The Princess and the Pea gets a fresh twist in this charming bilingual retelling. El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree. The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too . . . Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

14. Julian Is A Mermaid

By: Jessica Love

If you’ve ever read any other read-aloud blogs that I’ve written before…this title may ring a bell. It is a staple in my classroom library.  While riding the subway home from the pool with his Abuela, Julián notices three women dressed up as mermaids.  Once home, he couldn’t stop thinking about dressing up just like these ladies.   But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

15. Jabari Jumps

By: Gaia Cornwall

Similar to #14, Jabari Jumps, is another repeat on some of my lists.  Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all.  Or is he? Sometimes we need to face our fears and express how to like in a journal prompt.

16. Paletero Man / ¡Que Paletero Tan Cool!

By: Lucky Diaz

With the English and Spanish text side by side on the page, this bilingual edition of the vibrant picture book celebrating the strength of community and the tastes of summer is ideal for bilingual readers as well as Spanish speakers learning English and vice versa. Community is so important as we learn in our brand new Social Studies Unit!  So be sure to sign up for more information on a K-3 Year Long Social Studies Unit Resource

17. The World Belonged to Us

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Celebrate the joy and freedom of summer in the city. It’s getting hot outside, hot enough to turn on the hydrants and run through the water–and that means it’s finally summer in the city! Released from school and reveling in their freedom, the kids on one Brooklyn block take advantage of everything summertime has to offer.

18. Big Red Lollipop

By: Rukhsana Khan

Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can’t convince Ami that you just don’t bring your younger sister to your friend’s party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party, she steals Rubina’s prized party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do?  

Support Each Other This Summer

19. Thread Of Love

By: Kabir Sehgal

August 11, 2022, celebrates Raksha Bandhan.  Our Teaching Trailblazers love our Holidays Around the World and we continue to add to this already amazing resource! In this text, three siblings enjoy the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan—a celebration of the special relationship between brothers and sisters—in this vibrant reinterpretation of the classic song Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping).

20. The Field

By: Baptiste Paul & Jaqueline Alcantara

Are some of your students into sports?  I thought so!  Teamwork is a skill needed in and out of the classroom setting. Whether you are on a sports team or working together in groups on an academic task, “teamwork makes the dream work”.

“Vini! Come! The field calls!” cries a girl as she and her younger brother rouse their community—family, friends, and the local fruit vendor—for a pick-up soccer (futbol) game. Boys and girls, young and old, players and spectators come running—bringing balls, shoes, goals, and a love of the sport.

21. Summer Sun Risin’

By: Lisa Nikola & Don Tate

From sunrise to sunset, an African American boy spends an activity-filled summer day helping his family on their farm. Feeding animals, mowing hay, picking vegetables, and eating freshly caught fish fill the hours. Set in Texas in the 1950s, this text is dedicated to family relationships.  

22. Blackout

By: John Rocco

One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. What’s a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights–in stars that can be seen for a change–and so many neighbors it’s like a block party in the sky!  Will this be a tradition to come?  One thing I think is so cool are the illustrations in this book.  It is a mixture of full panels that move from color to black and white.  

23. Pie is for Sharing

By: Stephanie Parsley Ledyard

A picnic, a beach, a pie cut into pieces and shared with good friends. Pie is for sharing. It starts off round, and you can slice it into as many pieces as you want. What else can be shared? A ball, of course. A tree? What about time?

Through the course of one memorable Fourth of July picnic, Stephanie Ledyard and Jason Chin take young readers through the ups and downs of sharing in this lovely picture book. 

24. Lubna and Pebble

By: Wendy Meddour

In an unforgettable story that subtly addresses the refugee crisis, a young girl must decide if friendship means giving up the one item that brings her comfort during a time of utter uncertainty.

Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories. Pebble always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does.

Shine Bright in the World

25. Malala’s Magic Pencil

By: Malala Yousafzai

Personally, I cannot believe this book is not part of my classroom library yet!  This picture book, written by Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, follows her childhood story. It addresses gender inequality in education, political instability, war, and more. It’s an empowering story about her desire to help her female classmates receive a quality education.  I already have it ordered! 

26. Five Little Mermaids

By: Sunny Scribens, Barbara Vagnozzi & Audra Mariel

Five mermaids guide children on a whimsical singalong journey through the world’s oceans, counting down from 5 to 0. Includes educational notes about mermaids, marine animals, and the five oceans, as well as a catchy song and video animation to reinforce STEM learning.

27. Festival of Colors

By: Surishtha Sehgal

Learn all about Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, in this lush picture book from bestselling mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal.

Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!

28. It’s Not a Bed, It’s a Time Machine

By: Mickey Rapkin

A young boy anxious for bedtime discovers his bed is a time machine! Bedtime means lights out, with dark corners and spooky sounds. But it also means . . . Adventure! Our hero rides it to the coolest time of all―the age of the dinosaurs. He makes a tyrannosaurus-sized friend, who helps him become the Boss of Bedtime.

The Wonder of Thunder: Lessons From A Thunderstorm

By: Sharon Purtill

The Wonder of Thunder is a lighthearted children’s rhyming picture book that helps tame fears while highlighting all the wondrous things thunderstorms can do. Children will adore Sally Storm, a lovable character who excitedly shares all the good she can do as she swirls and tumbles overhead.

30. I am Josephine (and I am a Living Thing)

By: Jan Thornhill & Jacqui Lee

Meet Josephine: a spirited and curious girl, a big sister, and a human being. She’s also a mammal, an animal, and a living thing―all identities she explores with readers in this simple informational picture book. Inspired by science and nature. This book is intended to help children recognize themselves as part of the natural world, with an emphasis on how all living things share similarities.

I hope that you found a handful of new books to add to your already growing library.  My goal is to expand my students’ views and exposure to multicultural texts.  Not only for my students to see themselves in the stories they are reading, but also to learn and see other cultures.  

Speaking of the summer months, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to recognize the month of June as LGBTQ+ PRIDE Month!  Also, the recognition of Juneteenth.   Both linked-in blogs have wonderful resources along with recommended texts and read-alouds to include in your libraries as well! 

Written By – Christopher Olson

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