9 Must Have Multicultural Art Supplies For Kids

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Must Have Multicultural Art Supplies for Kids via I'm Not the Nanny

Remember when the only “skin” color in the crayon box was Peach? When I was young, my coloring books were full of “peach” people. Brown was too dark and peach was, well no one has peach colored skin, do they? I didn’t know that I could have used two colors to create a skin tone closer to mine.

Our kids have more options now. I love finding crayon boxes with multiple shades of brown. It’s important that kids can express themselves in their art. Even more important is giving them the options to do so and not limiting them to “peach.”

With back-to-school sales hitting stores now, you might even be able to score these multicultural art supplies at your local big box store. If not, Amazon is always open.

Must Have Multicultural Art Supplies

Crayola Multicultural Crayons These were the crayons I wished I had a kid!

Crayola Washable Multicultural Colors Markers I had no idea these existed until my girlfriend sent me a photo! Any parent with young kids will appreciate that these are washable.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers in Portrait These are great for the more sophisticated artist in your family. I might be talking about myself here.

Crayola Multicultural Colored Pencils If your kids are more into pencil colors, these are a great addition to the traditional color set.


If you’re looking for highly quality pencils, try Derwent Colorsoft Skintone PencilsThey come in a tin, which is great for travel.

Derwent Academy Watercolor Pencils, Skintones Watercolor pencils are two types of art supplies in one. Draw your picture with them and run over it with a wet paintbrush to turn your masterpiece into a watercolor! For less mess, try a water brush, where the water is stored in the barrel of the brush.

I’m excited to see these Cray-Pas Multicultural Oil Pastels. My kids love the way oil pastels just glide over paper. Trying drawing with them and then painting over it with water colors. It’s a fun way to mix your media.
I know not every parents enjoy the mess that comes with painting, but I swore by these Crayola Washable Paints when the kids were younger. Even better, let them “paint” the walls in your shower. Then play “window washer” and have them clean it up. For faster clean-up, let your kids paint in only their underwear or diaper.

Having a variety of skin toned construction paper is important too. Especially if your family has multiple skin tones like ours. Jaxson is really into collages of our family right now.

Do you have any of these in your art stash? 

Stay tuned for my list of multicultural craft supplies!

Buy 1 month of Junior Explorers, get the next month free with code: GET1

6 Books On Raising Mixed Race Children

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Books On Raising Mixed Race Children via I'm Not the Nanny

I can’t believe I’ve yet to share a book list for parents/families raising mixed raced children! I’ve received emails from many of you asking for more resources, so let’s start with books for us, the adults raising our multicultural kids.

I haven’t read all of these books yet. If you have, please share your thoughts!

6 Books On Raising Mixed Race Children

Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?: A Parent’s Guide To Raising Multiracial Children by Donna Jackson Nakazawa: The mother of two mixed race children, Nakazawa researched and interviewed parents of multiracial children for this book. She discusses how race is perceived at different ages and offers parents examples of dialogue when kids ask questions about their skin color versus their parents. There’s also a section on how to deal with intrusive comments or “Your kids are sooo beautiful!” comments. (I guess I should have read this book sooner.)

I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World by Marguerite A. Wright: Wright believes that a child’s concept of race is very different from ours. Based on her research and clinical experience, she aims to help parents and teachers guide the positivite development of children’s self esteem. The book discusses race perception at different ages/stages and important issues as how we discuss black hair.

Mixed Race 3.0: Risk and Reward in the Digital Age by Ulli K. Ryder and Marcia Alesan Dawkins: As a someone who is not mixed race, I will never truly understand what it will be like to grow up as such, but I try to learn by reading about others’ experiences. Dawkins, who is mixed, has written many books and essays about race. I’m especially looking forward to reading her latest, a collaboration with Ulli K. Ryder. It’s a combination of memoir and case study that aims to take the conversation about being multiracial past “What are you?” This book is the most recent book on I’ve found.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.d. As one of the two Asian Americans in my high school (the other being my sister), I definitely noticed the self-segregation in my school cafeteria. Tatum explores this even further with different races/ethnicities in college and corporate cafeterias. Tatum asserts that we’ve waited far too long to begin our conversations about race. Considering this book was written in 2003, we still have a lot of talking to do about racial injustices. Her words can help guide parents who aren’t sure where to start when discussing race.

Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories edited by Andrew Garrod, Robert Kilkenny, Christina Gomez: Filled essays from students at Dartmouth College of diverse backgrounds, this book gives a glimpse into the complex lives of those who identify with more than one race. The college students share how their parents’ views shaped their childhoods and how their perceptions affect their relationships.

When Half Is Whole: Multiethnic Asian American Identities by Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu: As the parent of children who are Asian American and African American, I find that many books focus on the raising biracial children who are black and white. This book discusses multiracial families who are part Asian American and part “other.” The book blurb also mentions people who identify themselves “Mexipino” and “Blackinawan” which makes me smile as my husband and I joke that our kids are “Blackinese.”

That’s just a short list with the little research I’ve done. If you know of more, please share in the comments!

Next up, I’ll share a my favorite bloggers who write about race and children.

14 Chapter Books That Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage

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14 Chapter Books That Celebrate  Asian Pacific American Heritage via I'm Not the Nanny

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! That means I can eat even more Asian food! Kidding aside, I wanted to create a list of chapter books that celebrate Asian Pacific American heritage. I’ve already created a list of APA Heritage picture books, so why not early and middle grade chapter books? These books run the gamut. They recall Asian Americans’ rocky past in the United States and celebrate how we’ve integrated our Asian traditions with our American culture.

Here’s some Asian American chapter books that we’re adding to our reading list.

The Shark King by Technically not a chapter book, but an exciting graphic novel geared towards young boys. Set in Hawaii, young Nanaue encounters sharks and superheroes. Perfect for beginning readers. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han: Clara loves her best friends, her sister, her fancy Korean dress, and the Apple Blossom Festival. With her ever changing luck, will she be able to win the Little Miss Apple Pie pageant?  Recommended for ages 8-12.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lại: This Newbery Honor and National Book Award winning book is told in verse from the eyes of a young girl named Hà. Inspired by the author’s childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam and immigrating to Alabama, this novel tells how Hà and her family escaped and how they adapted to their new lives. Recommended for ages 8-12. 

 Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lại: American born Mai is looking forward to summer vacation at the California’s beaches. Instead, she must travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is returning to find out what happened to her husband. Mai’s parents hope the trip will help her appreciate her Vietnamese heritage, but Mai sees the country as her parents’ roots–not her own. Recommended for ages 8-12. 

The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 by Lauren Yep: Based on events of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Yep tells the story from the perspectives of two young friends. The novel alternates between young Chinese immigrant Chin and Travis, an American banker’s son. Recommended for ages 8-12. 

Pacy Lin Novels by Grace Lin: These three novels follow Taiwanese American Pacy Lin as she navigates school and her town and tries to find balance between her two cultures. Order of the books: The Year of of the Dog, The Year of the Rat, and Dumpling Days. Recommended for ages 8-12. 

Stanford Wong Flunks Big-time by Lisa Yee: Stanford is in big trouble. If he doesn’t pass his summer school English class, he won’t pass sixth grade nor will he start the A-team.  Can he pull it together through his parents fights and his grandmother’s nursing home move? Recommended for ages 8-12. 

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park: Julia Soong’s mother suggests that she and her friend Patrick team up to raise silkworms in order to win a blue ribbon at the state fair. Julia thinks the project is too Korean and wants a real American project, but Patrick is thrilled. Recommended for ages 8-12. 

 Kimchi & Calamari by Rose Kent: Joseph Calderaro’s teacher has given him the difficult assignment to write an essay about his ancestors. Adopted into an Italian American family, all Joseph knows about his birth family is that he’s from Korea. Recommended for ages 8-12.

The Thing About Luck
 by Cynthia Kadohata:
  An emergency whisks Summer’s parents away to Japan right before the Midwest’s harvest season. She and her younger brother are left in the care of their grandparents, whom the children find old-fashioned and demanding. Recommended for ages 10-14.

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata: After Pearl Harbor is attacked, Sumiko and her family’s lives are thrown into chaos. Their family is forced to leave their flower farm in Southern California to live an internment camp in the Arizona desert. Recommended for ages 10-14.

Roots and Wings by Many Ly: Grace and her mother return to Cambodia in order to give her grandmother a proper burial. During the trip, Grace attempts to learn the identify of her father and why her grandmother left their country to live in Pennsylvania. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

What would you add to this list? I’d love some recommendations for books about East Asian American heritage (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, etc).

READ MORE: Diverse Chapter Book Series for Summer Reading

19 Cinderella Stories From Around the World

19 Cinderella Stories From Around the World via I'm Not the Nanny

Since she was a toddler, the story of Cinderella has been my daughter’s favorite fairy tale. Most of the us are familiar with the classic Disney retelling of the tale, but did you know one of the very first Cinderella stories is the Chinese folk tale? I personally grew up with Vietnamese’s Tam Cam, who befriended a magical fish.

Some of these multicultural Cinderellas played a much more active role in her destiny and will empower your daughters to take control of their own lives. Here’s a few Cinderella stories from around the world to read with your kids.

Cinderella Stories From Around the World

Vietnam: Tam and Cam by Minh Quoc and illustrated by Mai Long (Bilingual English/Vietnamese)

ChinaYeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China Ai-Ling Louie

AlgonquinThe Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin

Caribbean: Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci and illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Greece: The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony Manna & Soula Mitakidou and illustrated by Giselle Potter

Islam: Cinderella: An Islamic Tale by Fawzia Gilani

Mexica: Adelita by Tomie dePaola

Laos: Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella by Jewell Reinhard Coburn and Tzexa Cherta Lee and illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien

India: Anklet for a Princess: A Cinderella Story from India by Meredith Brucker and Lila Mehta and illustrated by Youshan Tang

Persia/Middle East: The Persian Cinderella by Shirley Climo and illustrated Robert Florczak

Korea: The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo and illustrated by Ruth Heller

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe

Ireland: The Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo and illustrated Krupinski

Indonesia: The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Reynolds Ruffins

Cuba: Adelaida: A Cuban Cinderella by Anna Monnar and illustrated Nancy Michaud

Philippines: Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella by Myrna J. de la Paz and illustrated by Youshan Tang

Cambodia: Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella by Jewell Reinhart Coburn and illustrated by Eddie Flotte

Egypt: The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo and illustrated by Ruth Heller

Ojibiwa: Sootface by Robert D. San Souci


Don’t see your culture’s Cinderella story above? Try Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleishman and illustrated by Julie Paschkis.

10 Biographies For Kids About Women Scientists and Explorers

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10 Biographies For Kids About Women Scientists and Explorers via I'm Not the Nanny

We’ve heard over and over how important it is to encourage our young girls to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Sophia has loved science and engineering since she was a toddler. Besides conducting science experiments in our home (like his Star Wars science experiment), we read a lot of biographies about women scientists.

In honor of Women’s History month, I’ve compiled a list of picture book biographies of women scientists and explorers you can read with your children. Whether our kids want become a engineer or a chef, reading about accomplished women is inspiring for boys and girls.

Biographies About Women Scientists & Explorers

Seeds of Change

Seeds of Change by Jen Johnson and illustrated by Sonia Sadler showed my daughter that a woman could make a big change in the world. Beautifully illustrated, this book about Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s journey from young Kenyan girl to scientist to environmental activist. Wangari fought against tradition by going to school and speak out against companies who wanted to cut down her country’s giant mugumo trees that her people revered. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

Life in the Ocean

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle written and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola: As a young girl, Sylvia fell in love with nature right in her backyard. Her passion grows as she discovers the Gulf of Mexico and literally dives deeper into the ocean. She goes on to design submersibles, swim with whales and took deep-water walks. Learn how Sylvia Earle lost her heart to the water and became an environmental advocate. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Fly High The Story of Bessie Coleman

Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger, illustrated by Teresa Flavin: I’m so glad I discovered this book at my local library! Bessie Coleman became the first African American to earn a pilot’s license. As a child she wanted to do something big with her life so she learned everything she could, even though her family couldn’t afford to send her to school. I think she accomplished her goal to do something big. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Night Flight Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor: We can’t forget Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. This book captures Earhart’s exciting solo journey with plenty of excitement. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Marvelous Mattie How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor

Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully: The pen and ink with watercolor illustrations will make readers feel like they’re in the middle of one of Margaret E. Knight’s sketchbooks.  As a child she brainstormed many inventions, but this “Lady Edison” is most know for her patent for a machine that cut and glued a square bottomed paper bag. Unfortunately, someone managed to steal her idea but learn how she fought to win her patent back. Recommended for ages 7-11.

Look up The Story of the First Woman Astronomer

Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raul Colon:  At the 21 years old, Henrietta Leavitt changed the course of astronomy, no small feat for a woman in the late 1800s. By measuring star positions and sizes, she discovered that some stars had a fixed patterned to their changes and made it possible for other astronomers to measure greater distances in space. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Mae Jemison: Awesome Astronaut

Mae Jemison: Awesome Astronaut by Jill C Wheeler: Speaking of space, why not learn more about Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut? This uber accomplished physician went into orbit on the Space Shuttle endeavor in 1992 and served in the Peace Corps before becoming an astronaut. She’s also been Star Trek TNG and holds nine honorary doctorates. I want to be Mae Jemison when I grow up!

Me Jane

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell:  Our children’s librarian recommended this book to us and we adored it! See how Jane Goodall fell in love with the world around her as she explores nature as a young girl with her toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. This clever picture book uses anecdotes taken directly from Goodall’s autobiography to bring her passion to life for our young children. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Dare the Wind

Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully: As a child, Eleanor’s father gave her sailing lessons and taught her how to navigate ships.  That skill came in handy when she and her husband navigated their ship to set the world record for speed on their voyage from New York City, around the tip of Cape Horn and into San Francisco. Recommended for ages 5-8.

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors


Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman: Elizabeth Blackwell became the  first female doctor, but her journey was tough. In the 1830s women were expected to be wives and murders, not have a career. However, she worked hard to graduate from medical school and opened doors for future female doctors. Recommended for ages 5-8.

There’s so many great biographies about women scientists and explorers out there, I wish I could have included them all. Do you have any favorites? Share in the comments. 

13 Diverse Graphic Novels For Kids

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13 Diverse Graphic Novels For Kids via I'm Not the Nanny #weneeddiversebooks

There’s no denying that graphic novels appeal to the kid in us as well as our own children. Jaxson really enjoys the wordless graphic novels since he’s just starting to read. We actually “read” them together and share our different interpretations of the story.

Sophia, on the other hand, used to exclusively read graphic novels–unless it was book for school. It didn’t bother me that she read them, but I wanted to diversify her reading. Her bag of library books is a 50/50 mix of graphic novels and chapter books.

Seeing diverse characters in graphic novels are just as important as picture and chapter books, especially when the story doesn’t revolve around race. Even more so, since the illustrated action can tell more of the story than the its dialogue. I’ve gather a few of our family favorites and some that’s on our list for when Sophia is a little bit older. Some feature diverse characters while others are written/drawn by authors of color.

Diverse Graphic Novels For Kids

Wave by Suzy LeeA few years ago, my sister gave the kids a copy of Wave by Suzy Lee. A little girl spends the day playing with the waves at the beach, but in a slightly different manner than we expect. Technically this isn’t a graphic novel, but it’s a wordless picture book geared towards preschoolers (and older). Wordless books are a gateway to graphic novels, right? Might as well start while they’re young. Recommended for preschoolers and older.

Here I Am by Patti Kim

I almost bypassed Here I Am by Patti Kim when I first saw it on my library’s shelf, but Jaxson picked it up. I’m glad he did! The story of a young boy and his family’s new life in America. They traveled a long way to live in a strange place. He’s not entirely happy about their new home, but one day accidentally discovers all the fun, exciting life in his neighborhood. He even finds a new friend. Don’t let the black and white drawing on the cover fool you. The illustrations capture the boy’s moods perfectly. Recommended for ages 5-10.

Akissi Feline Invasion by Marguerite Abouet & Mathieu Sapin

Akissi: Feline Invasion by Marguerite Abouet and illustrated by Mathieu Sapin came recommended by a Twitter friend. Follow Akissi’s adventure as she dodges the neighborhood cat who wants to steal her fish, avoids her pesky older brother, and save her pet monkey. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Luz Sees the Light by Claudia Davila

In Luz Sees the Light by Claudia Davila, Luz is ready to change the world! With frequent power outages and rising gas prices in her town, Luz has a plan to help her neighborhood live more sustainably. If youre child likes this graphic novel, make sure you read  Luz Makes a Splash, where Luz tackles water consumption. Recommended for ages 8-12.

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis

I’m glad I finally convinced my daughter to read The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis. As a future scientist, my daughter fell in love with secret scientist Greta who–with her fellow junior high scientists–who tinker on gadgets like the Stink-O-Meter and Nightsneak Goggles. Can the inventors stop a heist with their creations? Recommended for ages 8-12.

Cleopatra in Space Target Practice by Mike Maihack

Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack is a science fiction graphic novel about the famous, young Cleopatra. She discovers a mysterious tablet that zaps her into the far, far future. Destined to save the galaxy form the evil Xaius, she enrolls in a space academy to train. I defnitely have to get a copy of this for Sophia! Recommended for ages 8-12.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

2015 Newberry Honor Book El Deafo by CeCeBell tackles how Bell’s hearing aid, the Phonic Ear, made making new friends at school challenging. This graphic novel memoir shares how Bell lost her hearing at a young age and how she was able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear to become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” Recommended for ages 8-12.

The Baby-Sitters Club Claudia and Mean Janine  by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

I almost shrieked when I discovered that The Babysitters Club exists in graphic novel form. Claudia was the very first Asian American character I discovered that wasn’t an immigrant! Why not introduce your kids to this classic series with The Baby-Sitters Club: Claudia and Mean Janine  by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier. Recommended for ages 8-12.

Yummy by G Neri and Randy DuBurke

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri and illustrated by Randy DuBurke was recommended during a Twitter chat. Roger  searches for the truth behind the death of his classmate Robert “Yummy” Sandifer. This graphic novel is a dramatization based on gang life in Chicago in 1994. Recommended for ages 10-16.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

 The Arrival by Shaun Tan may not have any words, but his detailed drawings is all that’s needed to tell the story.  A lone immigrant leaves his wife and child behind to find better prospects in country far away. After you finish reading it, you’ll want to read all the books by the award winning AussieRecommended for ages 12 and up.

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

On my personal reading list is National Book Award Finalist Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang. I had the honor of hearing him speak last fall at the Library of Congress, where he share how discovering an Asian comic character kickstarted his love of comic books. The two volumes of Boxers & Saints tells parallel stories of a Chinese peasant boy and a young girl adopted by Christian missionaries during the Boxer Rebellion. Make sure you also check out Yang’s American Born ChineseRecommended for ages 12 and up.

Princeless Vol Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley and  M Goodwin

Princeless, Vol. 1: Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin was also recommended by my Twitter friends. When Princess Adrienne turns 16, her parents lock her in a tower guarded by a dragon so a prince save her. Instead of waiting around, Adrienne takes fate into her own hands! There’s quite a few books in the Princeless series, so this should keep your child busy! Recommended for ages 12 and up.

What are some of your favorite diverse graphic novels? Share in the comments!

Free Lunar New Year Printables & Crafts

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Free Lunar New Year Printables via I'm Not the Nanny

Happy Year of the Goat!

Apparently my family pre-partied too  hard before the actual Lunar New Year Day (today) that I have nothing planned this evening. Yikes! But have no fear, the internet is full of awesome free printables for the Chinese New Year.

I scoured internet for coloring pages, crafts, and more for you! Since this is a huge holiday for those who celebrate, don’t worry about being late. The Vietnamese celebrate for 3 days while the Chinese party for 15 days.

Free Lunar New Year Printables


Joyce Wan's Zodiac Printable

Joyce Wan’s Zodiac Printable

I love Joyce Wan’s board books and artwork. She’s created a free printable coloring sheet about the different animals of the Chinese zodiac. It’s the last one on the page. Make sure to check out the other printables on that page!

Send out e-cards from Travel China Guide or print them out to hand them to friends.

Learn about three Chinese New Year traditions and make a lantern (via PBS Parents)

Activity Village has several Year of the Goat printables, including colouring pages, mazes, and other worksheets.

Make an Asian dragon puppet with a plastic Solo cup and simple craft supplies. (via Adopt Vietnam)

No plastic cups on hand? Here’s a super cute Asian dragon craft using only construction paper (via Teach Kids Art)

Make your own lucky red money packet (via Activity Village)




Jaxson and I wanted to teach you how to say Happy New Year (Chúc Mừng Năm Mới) in Vietnamese so we made a little video.

Don’t forget to visit your local library for books. My library had a great display of Lunar New Year book. I grabbed a copy of Ten Mice for Tet! off the display. It’s one of our favorites.

I’ve got more ideas on how to celebrate the year of the goat including books and food.

9 Diverse Series and Chapter Books For Boys #ReadYourWorld

9 Diverse Series and Chapter Books For Boys via I'm Not the Nanny

I’m a proud participant of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, which is tomorrow, January 27th! I received a review copy of Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Stomps the Snow to share with you for MCCBD. This post contains affiliate links. Image adapted from photo by Bert Dennison via Creative Commons.

After reading Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Stomps the Snow by Jacqueline Jules, I realized we need a list of diverse chapter books for boys. Maybe it’s because I have a daughter, but I noticed that it’s easier to find diverse chapter books for girls than boys. Jaxson is just learning his sight words in preschool, but soon he’ll want chapter books about kids that look like him.

It’s never too early to make a reading list for him, right?  I’m not saying that these books are only for boys, but that they feature multicultural boys as main characters. I know some of you have asked for a list for boys, so here we go. I’ve organized the elementary and middle grade chapter books by recommended ages.

Diverse Chapter Books For Boys

Freddie Ramos Stomps the Snow by Jacqueline Jules
Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Stomps the Snow by Jacqueline Jules: What boy doesn’t want super shoes that allows him to run fast and jump high in the air? In the latest book in the Zapato Power series, Freddie Ramos uses his powers for good after a huge snow storm. Author Jules lives in the DC area, so I secretly imagine that she’s was inspired by our past snowstorms. (Recommended for ages 6-8).

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes by Lenore Look: Second grader Alvin Ho is afraid of everything. In the third book of this hilarious series, Alvin receives an invitation to a girl’s birthday party. Can he survive? I also love LeUyen Pham’s illustrations. (Recommended for ages 6-9).

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung: If your child loves superheroes, they’ll love this book. Vincent Wu is Captain Stupendous’ #1 Fan until he realizes discovers his new secret identity. The superhero who saved his life is actually Polly Winnicott-Lee, whom Vincent has a crush on. What’s a boy to do? (recommended for ages 8-12)

N.E.R.D.S. by Michael Buckley: A team of fifth-grade superspies band together to work on super secret government missions. While the members of NERDS (National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society) are not very popular at school, they use their nerdy skills to save the world. Each book in the series is a new case and a hilarious new adventure. (recommended for ages 8-12)

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander: Twelve-year-old Josh Bell and his twin brother are stars on the  basketball court. Told in verse from Josh’s point of view, the book chronicles his family life on and off the court–and what happens when they break the rules.(recommended for ages 9-12)

The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler’s List by Marilyn J. Harran This memoir of one of the youngest boys on Schlinder’s list would make a good parent-child book club read. Children will learn more about the Holocaust through the eyes of a young boy. While the book is recommended for kids as young as 9, I would suggest this book for more mature readers. (recommended for ages 9-14)


Better Nate than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle: What happens when a small-town boy crashes a New York City audition for ET: The Musical? Nate Foster is about to find out! Spoiler alert: his adventure continues in Five, Six, Seven, Nate!(recommended for ages 10-14)

The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda: Calling all fantasy fans! In The Savage Fortress series, Ash and his sister Lucky visit their aunt and uncle in India. His uncle is invited to the Savage Fortress, owned by a collector of Indian artifacts and demons. Savage is convinced that an artifact that Ash has found will make him young again and will stop at nothing to own it. Follow Ash and Lucky on their quest as they encounter Indian gods and demons. (recommended for ages 10-14)

[READ MORE: 18 Diverse Children’s Chapter Book Series for Summer Reading]

More about Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Co-creators Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press founded MCCBD to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries.

MCCBD’s  2015 Sponsors includePlatinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global BookshopGold Sponsors:  Satya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic PoofSilver SponsorsJunior Library Guild,  Capstone PublishingLee and Low Books,  The Omnibus PublishingBronze Sponsors:Double Dutch DollsBliss Group BooksSnuggle with Picture Books Publishing, RainbowBooks,  Author FeliciaCapers,  Chronicle Books, Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.

Join First Book‘s Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books through their channels during the week of the event. We want to help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need it and now we have a way to do it!


Free Foreign Language Printables For Kids + App Giveaway

Free Foreign Language Printables For Kids in over 15 languages via I'm Not the Nanny

This post contains affiliate links. Images below are from Gus on the Go and are used with permission.

I haven’t given up on hope on teaching my kids how to speak Vietnamese yet. We send them to stay at my parents every summer, where they can hear the language consistently.  During the rest of the year, I speak a little bit of Vietnamese at home, but that’s all. However, I’m excited because Gus on the Go, a language learning app for kids, has free foreign language printables in over 15 languages. Yes, that includes Vietnamese!

The printables are bright and cheerful, just like the app. Did I mention they were free?

Gus on the Go has a few foreign language printables you can choose from:

Gus on the Go Free Foreign Language Printables Vietnamese

Fortune tellers. We called them cootie catchers when I was a kid. Do kids still call them that?

Gus on the Go Free Foreign Language Printables French

Numbers flashcard set. Just print these on cardstock so they last longer.

Gus on the Go Transportation Wheel Free Foreign Language Printable

How about this cute wheel to learn about different modes of transportation? Look for those paper fasteners in the office supply store or scrapbook section. Amazon sells some too.

Head to Gus on the Go to see all of their free foreign language printables.

If you haven’t tried out Gus on the Go  language learning app, you need to! The design is bright, fun, and intuitive. The best part is that Gus on the Go is available in over 30 languages, including Vietnamese!  There’s a different app for each language, but the concept for each is the same. Kids (or adults) learn basic words by touching the object. Once they’re ready, there’s games to test and reiterate what they have learned.

Gus on the Go Vietnamese

Jaxson absolutely loves this app. While he’s not comfortable enough to practice saying each word out loud, his Vietnamese comprehension has definitely improved.  We’ve had this app for almost a year now and he still goes back to it. Pair the app with the free printables to learn the fundamentals of your chosen foreign language. At $2.99-3.99 per app, it’s a steal. Gus on the Go is available on iPhone or iPad, Google Play, and Amazon Apps.

Giveaway: Gus on the Go has offered 5 iTunes codes for the Gus on the Go in the language of your choice! To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. We’ll have 5 winners!

READ MORE: My Favorite Vietnamese-English Bilingual Children’s Books

a Rafflecopter giveaway

11 Inspiring Multicultural Biographies For Kids

Inspiring Multicultural Biographies For Kids Book List at I'm Not the Nanny

Nothing is more inspiring that reading about the lives of real people who have made a difference in our world. These biographies become more powerful when kids see people who look like them reflected in the books. I searched my library shelves for diverse picture book biographies and came up with a huge stack. Too many for one post. So here’s a few and I’ll share more in another post.

Inspiring Multicultural Biographies For Kids

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier: In January the United States celebrates the life and accomplishments of the great Civil Rights leader. The author uses quotes from Dr. King’s speeches to tell the story of his life in this biography geared towards young children. Make sure to take advantage of the timeline and additional resources in the beautifully illustrated picture book. (Coretta Scott King Honor Book & Caldecott Honor Book)

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez: Written in English and Spanish, this book recounts Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s childhood in the Bronx. Her family didn’t have much, but she had what she needed to succeed: her mother’s love and her determination.

Manjiro: The Boy Who Risked His Life for Two Countries by Emily Arnold McCully: In 1841, a young Japanese boy and his fellow fishermen became stranded on a small island, far from home. After several months, an American ship rescues them and so begins Manjiro’s adventure in the United States. His home country was closed to foreigners, but Manjiro returned home after many years to share his stories with his people. He even advised Japanese leaders when U.S. Navy ships arrived and demanded Japan open its ports to American ships.

George Crum and the Saratoga Chip by Gaylia Taylor, illustrated by Frank Morrison: Anyone who loves munching on chips will love learning about their inventor George Crum. Though he encountered prejudice for his biracial Native American and African American heritage, his fiery streak gave helped him make culinary history.

Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Julie Maren: Starting with the salsa singer’s humble beginnings in her two bedroom house shared with her three sisters and numerous cousins in Havana, Cuba, this book illustrates how Celia Cruz’s passion for singing garnered her worldwide fame. She and her bandmates “rewrote the history of Cuban music with new arrangements and a fresh, innovative style.”

Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamel Akib: Before micro-loans hit the internet, there was economics professor Muhammad Yunus. In the 1970s, he founded Grameen Bank so people could borrow small amounts of money (like twenty-two cents) in order to better their lives.

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Bryan Collier: Written in free verse, this biography of the United States 44th President is perfect for reading aloud. Children will learn about President Obama’s biracial heritage and his journey to become our nation’s first black president.

Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion by Heather Lang, illustrated by Floyd Cooper: Alice Coachman’s journey to become the first African American woman to win an Olympic Gold medal was not an easy one. She grew up in a time where it was unladylike for girls to run and jump. In college when she won a race against a top-ranked white sprinter, someone from the crowd threw ice at her. A great story for any child who loves to run and jump (like both of my kids!).

Tito Puente, Mambo King by Monica Brown, illustrated Rafael Lopez: The colorful and lively illustrations in this book reflects the Mambo King’s passion for music. Your kids can’t help dancing along with the fun rhythms of Tito Puente. (Pura Belpré Honor Book)

Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch: Traditionally women are not allowed to become sushi chefs. Japanese American Hiromi Suzuki trained under her father in their family restuarant and became one of the first female sushi chefs in New York. Make sure you pick up some sushi before reading this book because you’ll definitely crave it afterwards!

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson: Written in free verse, the book tells the inspiring story of Nelson Mandela, who spoke out against apartheid in South Africa. His belief in equality for all people-no matter their skin color-pushed him to organize a resistance program that led to his arrest and imprisonment. His determination and triumph as the first black president of South African will encourage children to pursue their dreams–no matter how challenging. (Coretta Scott King Honor Book)

What books would you add to this list?