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30 Multicultural Books Every Teen Should Know

Compiled by Megan Schliesman, Kathleen T. Horning and Merri V. Lindgren
© 2006; updated 2015; 2018

At the CCBC, we define "multicultural" literature as books by and about people of color and First/Native Nations individuals: African and African Americans, American Indians, Asian/Pacifics and Asian Pacific Americans, and Latinos. This listing introduces 30 essential books and a range of authors for teens.

Interested in multicultural literature for younger readers? Check out 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know. Some books in the oldest age category on that list will also be suitable for younger teen readers.

Other CCBC multicultural literature resources and links.

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

Bruchac, Joseph. Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture and Values through Storytelling. Fulcrum, 2003. 192 pages. Age 16 and older

Cofer, Judith Ortiz. An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio. Melanie Kroupa/Orchard, 1995. 165 pages. Ages 12 - 16

Dimaline, Cherie. The Marrow Thieves. Dancing Cat Books (DCB)/Cormorant, 2017. 234 pages. Age 14 and older

Engle, Margarita. The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom. Henry Holt, 2008. 176 pages. Age 12 and older

Flake, Sharon. Money Hungry. Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001. 187 pages. Ages 12 - 16

Gansworth, Eric. If I Ever Get Out of Here. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, 2013. 359 pages. Age 11 and older

Hamilton, Virginia. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush. Philomel, 1982. 215 pages. Age 11 and older

Jaramillo, Ann. La Línea. Deborah Brodie Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2006. 131 pages. Age 13 and older

Jiang, Ji-Li. Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution. HarperCollins, 1997. 285 pages. Age 12 and older

Jimenez, Francisco. The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child. Houghton Mifflin, 1999. 116 pages. Age 12 and older

Johnson, Angela. The First Part Last. Simon & Schuster, 2003. 144 pages. Ages 13 - 18

Kadohata, Cynthia. Kira-Kira. Atheneum, 2004. 244 pages. Ages 10-14

Magoon, Kekla. How It Went Down. Henry Holt, 2014. 326 pages. Age 14 and older

Myers, Walter Dean. Monster. Illustrated by Christopher Myers. HarperCollins, 1999. 1999 pages. Ages 13 and older

Na, An. A Step From Heaven. Front Street, 2001. 156 pages. Age 13 and older

Nelson, Marilyn. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Illustrated by Philippe Lardy. Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 40 pages. Age 14 and older

Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. No Crystal Stair. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Carolrhoda LAB, 2012. 188 pages. Age 12 and older

Nelson, Kadir. Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2011. 108 pages. Ages 8-14

Park, Linda Sue. When My Name Was Keoko: A Novel of Korea in World War II. Clarion, 2002. 199 pages. Ages 11 - 14

Quintero, Isabel. Gabi: A Girl in Pieces. Cinco Puntos Press, 2014. 284 pages. Age 14 and older

Reynolds, Jason. When I Was the Greatest. Atheneum, 2014. 231 pages. Age 13 and older

Reynolds, Jason and Brendan Kiely . All American Boys. Atheneum, 2015. 320 pages. Age 13 and older

Sáenz, Benjamin Alire. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Simon & Schuster, 2012. 359 pages pages. Age 14 and older

Say, Allen. Drawing from Memory. Scholastic Press, 2011. 64 pages. Age 10 and older

Sheth, Kashmira. Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet. Hyperion, 2006. 25 pages. Age 12 and older

Stork, Francisco X.. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors. Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, Inc., 2010. 344 pages. Ages 14 and older

Tingle, Tim. House of Purple Cedar. Cinco Puntos Press, 2014 (c2013). 336 pages. Age 14 and older

Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin, 2014. 336 pages. Age 10 and older

Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. First Second, 2006. 233 pages. Age 13 and older

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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