20 Must-Read Diverse and Multicultural Christmas Books

Diversity: Why is it Important

We live in a world full of people of many races, genders, ethnicities and cultures.  Diversity is everywhere around us.  But to embrace diversity means to seek out people and ideas that are different from you and your ideas. If you seek out the experience of diversity in your life, you’ll have regular exposure to new people, cultures, traditions. You’ll learn new skills to speak and interact with other communities and ideas.  The diverse and multicultural Christmas book options below are one way that you and your child(ren) can expand your worldview.

Different Cultures and Their Celebrations

Cultural celebrations may be unique to each culture, but every culture has their rituals and celebrations. Learning about the celebrations of other cultures helps us understand others’ perspectives, broaden our own, and educate ourselves. For instance, if you belong to a Christian family, what would you celebrate on the 25th of December? It’s likely that you will celebrate Christmas. But what holidays do other cultures celebrate at this time of year? By being culturally aware, you will broaden your vision and that of your children. Additionally, the world can begin to be a more loving, accepting, and peaceful place by learning about one another.

Mindset and Responsibilities of Authors

According to the latest stats, only 15% of books in the United States were written with diversity in mind. This statistic means that the remaining 85% of books were written using only white people. The United States is a nation far more diverse than that. But unfortunately, our writers aren’t writing the stories that truly reflect all the unique cultures and people in this country. The Christmas book selections below represent unique traditions and diverse groups of people during this special time of year.  Enjoy!

1. Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem

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In this beautiful, deeply moving poem, Maya Angelou inspires us to embrace the peace and promise of Christmas, so that hope and love can once again light up our holidays and the world. “Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers, look heavenward,” she writes, “and speak the word aloud. Peace.”

Read by the poet at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House on December 1, 2005, Maya Angelou’s celebration of the “Glad Season” is a radiant affirmation of the goodness of life.

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2. 10 Trim-The-Tree’ers

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Help your children count down to Christmas with ten little neighbors trimming the tree in their building’s lobby. In this Christmas book, 1 shiny golden star is at the very tip-top and 2 strings of flashing lights that just won’t stop. Janet Schulman and Linda Davick, the creators of 10 Trick-or-Treaters and 10 Easter Egg Hunters, return with this brightly colored Christmas board book that begs to be read aloud again and again.

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3. Disney It’s a Small World Hello, World!

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This charming Christmas book takes children on a world tour by teaching them to say “Hello” in 10 different languages and includes all-new, colorful artwork inspired by Mary Blair’s designs for the famous Disney theme park attraction, “It’s a Small World.”

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4. The Christmas Truck

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This cheerful Christmas book shares the adventure of a puppy dog driving a truck to pick up the perfect Christmas tree. Filled with fun vehicle sounds, this story of excitement will especially appeal to children who can’t get enough of cars, trains, trucks, and anything that goes vroom! 

The Christmas Truck features
– fun rhyming text that describes the colors, sights, and sounds of the season
– a celebration of favorite Christmas and winter traditions
– a glittered cover and fun die-cut shape
– sturdy board pages just right for 0 to 4-year-old hands

Full of spirit, this Christmas book is a great stocking stuffer, Advent gift, or thoughtful holiday “I love you” present for toddlers and preschoolers just learning the joys of the holiday season as well as for any fan of Little Blue Truck and Digger, Dozer, Dumper. Your family will love joining this cheerful red truck in Christmas preparations as you anticipate Christmas morning. Beep! Beep! It’s Christmas!

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5. The Legend of the Poinsettia

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In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuenao flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside.

This Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl’s unselfish gift to the Christ Child. Beloved Newbery honor-winning author and Caldecott honor-winning illustrator Tomie dePaola has embraced the legend using his own special feeling for Christmas. His glorious paintings capture not only the brilliant colors of Mexico and its art, but also the excitement of the children preparing for Christmas and the hope of Lucida, who comes to see what makes a gift truly beautiful.

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6. Christmas in Noisy Village

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Let the beloved author of Pippi Longstocking take you on an adventure to Noisy Village!

The noisy children of three neighboring families are celebrating the season by baking cookies, cutting and decorating trees, eating fruitcake and tarts, and opening Christmas gifts. With illustrations by Ilon Wikland, the master storyteller Astrid Lindgren takes us through Christmas in the Noisy Village!

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7. The Nutcracker in Harlem

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This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season.

In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.

This quintessential holiday tale is brought to vivid life by debut picture book author T. E. McMorrow and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator James Ransome. An author’s note at the end provides additional information about the history of the Harlem Renaissance, and about the author’s inspiration for this musical retelling.

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8. Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border

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It’s almost time for Christmas, and Maria is traveling with her mother and younger brother, Juan, to visit their grandmother on the border of California and Mexico. For the few minutes they can share together along the fence, Maria and her brother plan to exchange stories and Christmas gifts with the grandmother they haven’t seen in years. But when Juan’s gift is too big to fit through the slats in the fence, Maria has a brilliant idea. Here is a heartwarming tale of families and the miracle of love.

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9. Silent Night

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Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated Christmas book, based on the world’s best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory—from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels—as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. The world’s diversity is reflected in a cast of characters with a range of skin tones. A gorgeous book for all the family to share during the festive season.

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10. Miracle on 133rd Street

Sonia Manzano from Sesame Street and two-time Caldecott Honor-recipient Marjorie Priceman have cooked up a Christmas tale about how the simplest things—like the tantalizing smell of Christmas dinner and the sharing of it—can become a holiday miracle.

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11. Twelve Days of Christmas

A sparkling version of the popular Christmas song, in a new edition with beautiful fabric illustrations by Rachel Griffin and notes on the festival and the history of the song.

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12. December’s Gift: An Interfaith Holiday Story

Join Clara and her two grandmothers, Bubbe and Grammy, in their warm kitchens during the December holidays. Clara’s experiences in December’s Gift are very specific to her family: frying latkes with Bubbe and baking cookies with Grammy. Hot oil and sugary stars tell two stories of different miracles as the two grandmothers recount holiday memories and cooking traditions. Clara comes to realize how she is being given December’s gift and will give both traditions to her own family someday. Clara’s experiences of both cultures are rich and inviting, offering children the opportunity to see themselves reflected in her world.

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13. I Got the Christmas Spirit

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. The little girl hears sleigh bells ringing and carolers singing. She smells chestnuts roasting–CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!–and sees the flashing lights of the department store windows–BLING! BLING! BLING! She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish–for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.

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14. Damon and the Magic Christmas Tree

Damon is a seven-year-old from Seattle, Washington. He wants a Superman action figure for Christmas, and he wants to spend the holidays with his family at their home in Seattle. Instead, his parents tell him that they’re all flying to New York City to visit Damon’s grandmother.

Then Damon finds out about the magic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center that lights up the entire city, and he begins to get excited about going to New York. When he and his family arrive, however, he finds out that his grandmother doesn’t even celebrate Christmas! Instead, she celebrates Hanukkah. Will Damon be disappointed, or will he learn a lesson about the true meaning of these special holidays?

Damon and the Magic Christmas Tree teaches children about the delights of Christmas and Hanukkah. Damon will show readers how to recognize the joys that can be found all around them. This smart, sweet little boy dreams of being a superhero. His dream comes true as he brings light and laughter to your family this holiday season.

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15. Tree of Cranes

As a young Japanese boy recovers from a bad chill, his mother busily folds origami paper into delicate silver cranes in preparation for the boy’s very first Christmas.

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16. Grandma’s Gift

This prequel to Eric Velasquez’s biographical picture book Grandma’s Records is the story of a Christmas holiday that young Eric spends with his grandmother. After they prepare their traditional Puerto Rican Christmas celebration, Eric and Grandma visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a school project, where he sees a painting by Diego Velasquez and realizes for the first time that he could be an artist when he grows up. Grandma witnesses his fascination, and presents Eric with the perfect Christmas gift-a set of paints-to use in his first steps toward becoming an artist. A heart-warming story of self-discovery, Grandma’s Gift is a celebration of the special bond between a grandparent and grandchild.

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17. Native American Night before Christmas

An innovative retelling of the classic Christmas tale, this full-color book takes a whimsical look at what Christmas Eve might be like for a Native American family when Old Red Shirt (the Native American Santa Claus) comes a-calling with his team of flying white buffalo to deliver fry bread, commodities and other goodies. Renowned Cherokee artist Jesse Hummingbird’s inspired illustrations transform the author’s playful adaptation into a fresh and modern work of art. A delight for people of all ages and cultures, especially those interested in Native customs and art.

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18. An Aboriginal Carol

Best-selling Canadian author David Bouchard reworks Canada’s oldest and most well-known carol, The Huron Carol. The art of Moses Beaver, from the fly-in reserve of Summer Beaver, Ontario (Nikinamik), resonates and awakens an awareness that is at once exciting and empowering, a way for all people to understand the birth of Christ from an Aboriginal worldview. The pride of the north, Susan Aglukark, interprets, for the first time, the revered carol.

Written in English and in Inuktituk, the language of Canada’s Inuit people, the book is accompanied by a CD, which includes a reading in both languages and a performance by Susan. Also available in French and Inuktituk. An Aboriginal Carol is certain to become a classic.

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19. A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas

An award-winning author and a rising star artist have put a festive Latino twist on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” populating it with piñatas in place of partridges, plus burritos bailando (dancing donkeys), lunitas cantando (singing moons), and much more, all displayed in the most vivid colors imaginable. In this version a little girl receives gifts from a secret amiga, whose identity is a sweet surprise at the book’s conclusion. There are things to find and count in Spanish on every page, with pronunciations provided right in the pictures and a glossary and music following the story. This joyous fiesta will warm even the coldest of hearts.

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20. ‘Twas Nochebuena

It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re invited to a Nochebuena celebration! Follow a family as they prepare to host a night filled with laughter, love, and Latino tradition. Make tasty tamales and hang colorful adornos (decorations) on the walls. Gather to sing festive canciones (songs) while sipping champurrado (hot chocolate). After the midnight feast has been served and the last gifts have been unwrapped, it’s time to cheer, “Feliz Navidad and to all a good night!” Savor the magic of Nochebuena with a holiday tale you’ll want to read again and again. 

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Conclusion

Cosmic Unicorns believes to create a more diverse, inclusive, and the empowering world for our children we need to educate them about cultures, beliefs, and practices other than our own. In addition to the awesome Interfaith books shared above your little unicorn will LOVE a personalized adventure book of their own for a holiday gift, birthday gift, or just because of gift! Customize your own today at cosmicunicorns.com

If you want to know more about different diverse children’s books for your little unicorns, make sure to visit our website at https://www.cosmicunicorns.com/ and follow our social media accounts for updates!

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