Multicultural Literature in Norwood's Libraries

The Norwood libraries feature diverse literature as the cornerstone of our program to provide a window into the lives of children from cultures all around the world. Through memoirs, novels, folktales, fairy tales, trickster tales, myths, and legends Norwood students are introduced to the variety – and the core commonality – of the human experience. Lower school library students enjoy titles such as Akimbo and the Lions, Nadia’s Hands, Mice and Beans, and Dim Sum for Everyone.They study folktales and legends to track the way ancient tales travel the world, picking up different cultural details as the story spreads. Children are fascinated to learn that the Cinderella story originated in ancient China (where tiny feet were prized) and that Brer Rabbit stories were adapted from Africa’s traditional Anansi tales.
In the Middle School, several remarkable books allow Norwood students to experience how children their age live around the world. Every fifth and sixth grader hears The Circuit, a classic immigrant memoir by Francisco Jiménez about his experiences entering America illegally as a little boy with his family in the 1950s to work the migrant circuit in California and The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis about a girl forced to masquerade as a boy in order to provide for her family while living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water based on the lost boys of Sudan and Li Keng Wong’s memoir Good Fortune: My Journey to Gold Mountain expand the range of cultures and experiences presented in library classes. In both libraries holidays provide the opportunity to hear core stories from various cultures, ranging from Hispanic folktales during Hispanic Heritage Month to Hanukkah tales by Isaac Bashevis Singer to O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi to Chinese myths and legends during Chinese New Year to traditional African and African American folktales during Black History Month.
In addition to the diversity of literature highlighted in library classes, the collection of books in the two libraries purposely includes quality works representing every constituent. Seeking out excellent diverse material is a core mission of Norwood’s acquisition policy and goals. Frequently changing library displays feature various cultures and celebrations and provide another opportunity to highlight a variety of books.

Norwood’s visiting author program offers another opportunity for the librarians to expose Norwood students to diverse voices. During their time at Norwood, the goal is for every student to hear at least one acclaimed visiting author who they feel represents “them.” We want every Norwood student to realize that they have an important story to tell that deserves to be heard. Joseph Lekuton of Kenya, Eloise Greenfield, Lulu Delacre, Lisa Yee, Jacqueline Woodson, Jerry Pinkney, and Ellen Oh are recent visiting authors who have masterfully conveyed this important message to our students.

Sampling of Authors of Multicultural Books for Grades K-8

List of 7 items.

  • African American

    Donald Crews
    Christopher Paul Curtis
    Valerie Flournoy
    Elizabeth Fizgerald Howard
    Angela Johnson
    Julius Lester
    Kekla Magoon
    Patricia McCormick
    Patricia McKissack
    Walter Dean Myer
    Brian Pinkney
    Gloria Jean Pinkney
    Faith Ringgold
    Rita Williams-Garcia
    Jacqueline Woodson
  • African

    Baba Waque Diakite
    Alexander McCall-Smith
    Joseph Lekuton
  • Asian

    Narinder Dhami
    Chitra Banerjee Divakatuni
    Karen English
    Ina R. Friedman
    Cynthia Kadohata
    Uma Krishnaswami
    Grace Lin
    Irfan Master
    Linda Sue Park
    Suzanne Fisher Staples
    Amy Tan
    Shaun Tan
    Chieri Uegali
    Nahoko Uehashi
    Lisa Yee
    Laurence Yep
  • Latino/Hispanic

    Alma Flor Ada
    Isabel Allende
    Carman Agra Deedy
    Arthur Dorros
    Francisco Jimenez
    Pat Mora
    Nacy Osa
    Pamela Munoz Ryan
    Alex Sanchez
    Gary Soto
  • Middle Eastern

    Randa Abdel-fetah
    Eve Bunting
    Deborah Ellis
    Khaled Hosseini
    Hena Khan
    Suzanne Fisher Staples
  • Multicultural Folktails

    Shirley Climo
    Paul Goble
    Rachel Isadora
    Eric Kimmel
    Gerald McDermott
    Robert San Sousi
    John Steptoe
    Ed Young
  • Native American

    Sherman Alexie
    Joseph Bruchac
    Louise Erdrich
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.