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Rhyme and Reason:
Multicultural Rhyming Books for All Children

Compiled by Megan Schliesman
© 2013 Cooperative Children's Book Center

Rhyme is an important element of early literacy and early learning. Rhymes provide listening and literature experiences full of pleasure and delight while helping children make connections between the sounds they hear and what they will eventually see and decipher on a page as readers.

You can find rhyming in poems and verse and in many picture book stories as well. This list of trade books for young children offers early care providers and teachers suggestions of well-written rhyming picture books that incorporate rhyme, as well as poetry and rhyme collections including and beyond Mother Goose

Children also need books that reflect their own lives and the richness of the world in which they live. Therefore, in addition to emphasizing the importance of rhyme, this list emphasizes the importance of books that are culturally diverse. Some books on this list contain significant multicultural content; others are simply inclusive, with illustrations showing diverse characters or characters whose heritage is open to interpretation.

Most of the books on the list are currently in print and available for purchase, or can be obtained at or through your local public library.


Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
Complete list of CCBC bibliographies


Ada, Alma Flor and F. Isabel Campoy. English version by Rosalma Zubizarreta . Ten Little Puppies = Diez perritos. Illustrated by Ulises Wensell. Rayo / HarperCollins, 2011. 32 pages. Ages birth - 6

Ada, Alma Flor and Isabel Campoy, selectors. English versions by Rosalma Zubizarreta . ¡Muu, Moo! Rimas de animales = Animal Nursery Rhymes. Illustrated by Viví Escrivá. Rayo/HarperCollins, 2010. 44 pages. Ages 1 - 6

Bluemle, Elizabeth. Tap Tap Boom Boom. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Candlewick Press, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

Cotten, Cynthia. Rain Play. Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. Henry Holt, 2008. 24 pages. Ages 3-6

Crews, Nina. The Neighborhood Mother Goose. Amistad / HarperCollins, 2004. 63 pages. Ages 2-6

Cruise, Robin . Only You. Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine. Harcourt, 2007. 32 pages. Ages birth-3

de Roo, Elena. The Rain Train. Illustrated by Brian Lovelock. Candlewick Press, 2011. 24 pages. Ages 2-5

Dillon, Leo and Diane Dillon . Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles - Think of That! . Blue Sky Press / Scholastic, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Ehrhardt, Karen. This Jazz Man. Illustrated by R.G. Roth. Harcourt, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 4-10

Elya, Susan Middleton. Bebé Goes Shopping. Illustrated by Steven Salerno. Harcourt, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

Elya, Susan Middleton. Little Roja Riding Hood. Illustrated by Susan Guevara. Putnam, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Fleming, Denise. The Everything Book. Henry Holt, 2000. 64 pages. Ages 1 - 3

George, Kristine O'Connell. Book!. Illustrated by Maggie Smith. Clarion, 2001. 31 pages. Ages 18 months - 3 years

Grimes, Nikki. C Is For City. Illustrated by Pat Cummings. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1995. 40 pages. Ages 3 - 6

Ho, Minfong. Hush! A Thai Lullaby. Illustrated by Holly Meade. Orchard, 1996. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

Hutchins, Hazel. A Second Is a Hiccup: A Child's Book of Time. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, Inc., 2007. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Jocelyn, Martha. Ones and Twos. Illustrated by Nell Jocelyn. Tundra Books, 2011. 24 pages. Ages 2-5

Johnson, Angela. Daddy Calls Me Man. Illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell. Orchard, 1997. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 9

Khan, Hena. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors. Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Chronicle, 2012. 24 pages. Ages 3–7

Martin, Mary Jane. From Anne to Zach. Illustrated by Michael Grejniec. Boyds Mills, 1996. 40 pages. Ages 3-6

Montes, Marisa. Los Gatos Black on Halloween. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Henry Holt, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 4-6

Orozco, José-Luis. Rin, Rin, Rin = Do, Re, Mi. Illustrated by David Diaz. Orchard / Scholastic, 2005. 24 pages. Ages 3-7

Ravishankar, Anuskha . Tiger on a Tree. Illustrated by Pulak Biswas. U.S. edition: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004. 40 pages. Ages 2 - 6

Ravishankar, Anushka. Elephants Never Forget!. Illustrated by Christiane Pieper. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. 40 pages. Ages 3-7

Scanlon, Liz Garton. All the World. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane Books, 2009. 40 pages. Ages 2 - 6

Smith, Jr., Charles R.. Dance with Me. Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. Candlewick Press, 2008. 20 pages. Ages birth-3

Tafolla, Carmen. Fiesta Babies. Illustrated by Amy Córdova. Tricycle Press, 2010. 20 pages. Ages birth - 3

Thong, Roseanne. Red is a Dragon: A Book of Colors. Illustrated by Grace Lin. Chronicle, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 5

Thong, Rosanne. Round Is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes. Illustrated by Grace Lin. Chronicle, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 3-5

Thong, Roseanne. Gai See: What You Can See in Chinatown. Illustrated by Yangsook Choi. Abrams, 2007. 40 pages. Ages 5-8

Van Camp, Richard. Little You. Illustrated by Julie Flett. Orca, 2013. 22 pages. Ages birth - 3

Van Laan, Nancy. When Winter Comes. Illustrated by Susan Gaber. Atheneum, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 6

Wardlaw, Lee. Red, White, and Boom!. Illustrated by Huy Voun Lee. Henry Holt, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 2–5

Wheeler, Lisa. Jazz Baby. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Harcourt, 2007. 32 pages. Ages birth-3

Yee, Wong Herbert. Summer Days and Nights. Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 2–5

Yolen, Jane and Andrew Fusek Peters . Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. Candlewick Press, 2007. 104 pages. Ages 1-4

Yolen, Jane and Andrew Fusek Peters, selectors . Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Candlewick Press, 2010. 95 pages. Ages 1 - 5


This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.



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