At Beanstalk we support children with a diverse range of experience, cultures, and countries, so we do our best to ensure that the books we read with them reflect this. Based on the knowledge of our staff and trained reading helpers, we’ve put together a short-list of books and websites which celebrate and explore the wide multicultural world we live in.

Books for early years

Picture book, winner of the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Bronze Award.

  • Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colours by Hena Khan

Captures the colourful world of Islam for younger readers.

Uplifting story about a small boy with a very big personality.

Reflective book about an unusual friendship.

Touching story of young and old set in an African town.

  • Over the Hills and Far Away A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes from Around the World by Elizabeth Hammill

A collection of 150 rhymes from countries all over the English-speaking world.

Story about the Prophet Muhammad told from the perspective of a spider, in simple rhyming text.

Books for younger readers (5+)

Part of the series about an imaginative and enquiring girl who is sometimes mischievous but always endearing.

A boy feels out of place in a country so different from his Somalian home. But gradually things change... and he sees the colours of his new home.

Part of the Walker Stories Series, this one is about Kasia and her mum who have moved to the UK from Poland.

Although thousands of miles apart, there are many similarities between the homes of the two boys in this book.

  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters An African Tale by John Steptoe

Mufaro has two daughters, one rude and mean and the other generous and thoughtful...which will win the hand of the King?

Collection of short stories, poems and prose examining the world through the eyes of Muslim children.

  • The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke

Part of the Walker Racing Reads Series.

Books for older readers (8+)

Jamal and sister Bibi want to lead Australia to victory in the World Cup, but that entails a journey from their homeland Afghanistan, where their family has upset the authorities.

Story about a man washed up on an island beach, which explores the theme of intolerance.

Semi-autobiographical tale about a boy who grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China.

Its hard being the new kid in school, especially when you’re from another country and don’t know the language.

Ayesha lives in war-torn Beirut. When her granny falls ill, she must cross the barricades into deadly no-man's land to get the medication that is so badly needed.

The story of two girls who are best friends and share everything together...except their lunch.

The story of two boys who live in Jerusalem's Old City - Avi in the Jewish Quarter and Hamudi in the Muslim Quarter.

Quirky story about the relationship between Andi, who is short and her long-lost, enormous half-brother Bernardo from the Philippines.

Two brothers struggle to make a life for themselves on the streets of London. Winner of the Diverse Voices Award 2010.

Luminous illustrations and a lyrical story provide an ideal introduction to Ramadan.

Biography of the first black British professional football player and officer in the British Army.

  • 1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization (National Geographic Kids)

Useful websites and links

  • Child’s Play:a publishing programme that aims to create innovative books for children aged 0-8 years which reflect our diverse society.
  • Lantana Publishing : a small, independent publishing house which champions cultural diversity in children’s books.
  • Letterbox Library : children’s online bookseller celebrating equality and diversity.
  • Tamarind Books : children’s publisher, now part of Random House, with a mission to redress the balance of diversity in children’s publishing.

If you have any more great tips on how to engage reluctant and struggling readers, then speak to us as we'd love to hear them!