In Association with

These books are selected in coordination with a series of classes I took with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art multicultural workshops in partnership with and for the Los Angeles Unified School District (I don't mean to imply that LACMA or LAUSD are involved in any way in these pages--I made the selections in response to the classes). This is a list of books encountered during the multicultural workshop as well as related books of high artistic and cultural quality for elementary (primary and upper), intermediate, high-school, and teacher levels. They are available at discounts up to 30% and I have chosen paperback versions whenever possible. Ali Baba's is an Amazon Associate and a labor of love for me. I've done the research and the listing, and the books cost the same as through Amazon direct, so save yourself the time and make use of the service. It pays to order several books at a time, as shipping is $3.00 per shipment, plus $.95 per book. Books are delivered direct to you, usually within 3-4 days of their receiving payment. For busy teachers, it's great to find the books you want within days on your front porch!
See also the pages on The Real US
links to web pages and books on various aspects of popular culture in America

Search Amazon's warehouse:

Nedstat Counter

Ali Baba's Bookshop Directory
Ali Baba's Books for Primary Students
Reading, Language Development, and just for fun
Ali Baba's Books for Teachers
Reading Methodology and Phonics
Mrs. Johnson's Launch Pad
Links to my teaching pages
Ali's McArchives
My Artwork

Multiculturalism, Ancestors, and the Arts

Picture Books
Count Your Way Through China, Jim Haskins
The Folks in the Valley, A Pennsylvania Dutch ABC
Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry (age 4-8) Hardcover
Excellent poetry selections
The Old Man and His Door, by Gary Soto
El viejo misunderstands his wife to say Traje el puerto when she asks him to bring el puerco to a barbecue; however, he collects many items because of the door which add to the family barbecue. Good fun.
The Gullywasher, Joyce Rossi, Hardcover
Little Oh, Laura Krauss Melmed, Hardcover
Use, Critical Thinking: Compare with Thumbelina, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Peach Boy, Pinocchio; Cross-cultural comparisons, universal themes.
Brown Angels An Album of Pictures and Verse, Walter Dean Meyers
Unremarkable poetry but excellent photographs of African-American children from the past (studio photographs)
Grandpa's Town, Takaaki Nomura
Immigrant Kids, Russell Freedman
Photos of young urban immigrants at the turn of the century
Follow the Drinking Gourd, Jeanette Winter
Beautifully illustrated line by line version of the trail to freedom song; complete lyrics and music in the back.
Coming to America, Susannah Ryan
Smoky Night, Eve Bunting
1995 Caldecott Medal deals with the LA Riots from a child's point of view--external to losing her cat, which brings the family together with their Korean Neighbors. Found object collage illustrates the book.
  • ***I have this one listed on my page for a very low price, about $6.50***
A Child's Book of Play in Art: Great Pictures, Great Fun, Lucy Micklethwait
The Sweet and Sour Animal Book, Langston Hughes
The Story of Jazz, audio cassette, narrated by Langston Hughes, $11 (4-6 weeks)
(upper elementary)
I'm in Charge of Celebrations, Byrd Baylor
Grandfather's Journey, Allen Say (4-8)
The Bracelet, Yoshiko Uchida (4-8)
Canto Familiar, Gary Soto, (Hardcover)
25 Poems of common childhood moments, in Mexican-American context
Tar Beach, Faith Ringgold
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, by Deborah Hopkinson, James Ransome (Illustrator)
From Sea to Shining Sea, A Treasury of American Folkllore and Folksongs, compiled by Amy L. Cohn.
My Dream of Martin Luther King, Faith Ringgold
Baseball Saved Us, Ken Mochizuki (6-10)
El beisbol nos salvó,Ken Mochizuki (6-10)
I Was Dreaming to Come to America: Memories from the
Ellis Island Oral History Project
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, Bette Bao Lord
The Blue and the Grey, Eve Bunting
Just Like Me, Stories and self-Portraits by 14 Artists, Tomie Arai, ed. Hardcover
Multicultural Artists
A Piece of My Heart/Pedacito de mi Corazón: The Art of Carmen Lomas Garza
Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia Carmen Lomas Garza
In My Family/En Mi Familia, Carmen Lomas Garza
Do People Grow on Family Trees? Genealogy for Kids.... Ira Wolfman (9-12)
My Backyard History Book, David L. Weitzman (9-12)
Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story, Ken Mochizuki, (Hardcover)
The Japanese Schindler
If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island, Ellen Levine (9-12)
Good list of borrowed words
One More River to Cross: An African American Photograph Album, Walter Dean Meyers (All ages), (Hardcover) )
Excellent photo album across time and frontiers
Shades of L.A.: Pictures from Ethnic Family Albums, by Carolyn Kozo Cole (Editor), Kathy Kobayashi (Editor), Kathy Kobayaski (Contributor)
Altogether, they testify to the long history of ethnic diversity in Los Angeles (their historic span is approximately 1907-65). Also, much more often than not, in the clothing and other physical accoutrements and in the happy attitudes of the people in them, they bespeak cheerful acceptance of homogeneous American material culture rather than any cherishing of the artifacts of ethnic heritage. Discerning eyes will discover a lot more in them. Review: Ray Olson Copyright© 1996, American Library Association
Chapter Books:
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, Bette Bao Lord (9-12)
Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear, Lensey Namioka (9-12)
Yang the Third and Her Impossible Family, Lensey Namioka (9-12) The Breath of the Dragon, Gail Giles (9-12)
Hello, My Name Is Scrambled Eggs, Jamie Gilson (9-12)
for junior high school and above:
Here is My Kingdom: Hispanic-American Literature and Art for Young People, Charles Sullivan, (Hardcover)
Another beautifully assembled, balanced book of high quality art and literature
A Jar of Dreams, Yoshiko Uchida (9-12)
Japanese girl in 1935 Berkeley
Journey Home, Yoshiko Uchida
Farewell to Manzanar, Jean Wakatsuki Houston
April and the Dragon Lady, Lensey Namioka (YA)
Under the Blood-Red Sun, Graham Salisbury
Japanese teenager in WWII Hawaii; book takes no sides, has no villains, no answers
Pacific Crossing, Gary Soto (9-12)
Chicano boy spends time in rural Japan and is reminded of migrant laborers here
500 Years of Chicano History in Photographs, Elizabeth Martinez
for the high school reader (reading at grade level and AP); for independent reading: choose and report
The Oregon Trail,
My Name is Aram, William Saroyan
The Best of Simple, Langston Hughes
The Big Sea, Langston Hughes
to pursue more by an author: Spring Moon, Bette Bao Lord
Check the reviews: some states are giving this for high school social studies. It's "an epic novel of China," lively and exciting.
Iron and Silk, Mark Salzman
The Eighth Day, Thornton Wilder (not yet [re]published)
The Bridge at San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder
Personal threads of life after a bridge collapse, 1700's Peru
Our Town, Thornton Wilder
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
We Dee Peepo, Antonio Burciaga
Native Son, Richard Wright
Intruder in the Dust, William Faulkner
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Blue Highways, A Journey Into America, William Least Heat Moon
Colored People, Henry Louis Gates
For adults--teachers:
Tripmaster Monkey--His Fake Book, Maxine Hong Kingston
"Think of it as The Joy Luck Club with more brains, more heart, and less syrup. Think of it as the Great American Classic that it is." from Henderson NV , August 15, 1997
The Right to an Answer, Anthony Burgess (out of print)
The Long Day Wanes, A Malayan Trilogy, Anthony Burgess
The Eighth Day, Thornton Wilder (not yet re-published)
We Dee Peepo, Antonio Burciaga
Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston*
China Men, Maxine Hong Kingston*
Cuentos Hispanos de los Estados Unidos, Julian Olivares, ed. $12.00
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Henry Miller
Intruder in the Dust, William Faulkner
Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust: 2 Novels, Nathaniel West
The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy, Evelyn Waugh
Talking to High Monks in the Snow Lydia Yuri Minatoya
Culture Shock, U.S.A., Esther Wanning
*Having spent ten years living and working in Taiwan, an oasis of traditional Chinese culture, I found the books of Amy Tan pedestrian and cliched, but (so?) she's the one selected for schools. She seems to have a better publicity machine than Maxine Kingston, as well as be a writer of books that are "easier to understand," more palatable perhaps because they fit neatly into today's stereotypes of Asian Americans more so than do Kingston's surrealistic, more literary tales. I find I'm bucking the system to say so, but recently, in researching books for this list, found a wonderful a review from a Chinese-American reader in San Jose who confirms this opinion of Ms. Tan's popular novel in her April 26, 1998 review for of Mark Salzman's Iron and Silk:
As a Chinese, I read Iron and Silk and am amazed at how much Mark [Salzman] got into the soul of the ordinary Chinese people. Written in simple, elegant language, there were so many enchanting anecdotes in the short-story-like segments, that it moved me to find an American knowing so much about China. As a naturalized American, now raising my children in the U.S., I have seen books such as Joy Luck Club on the reading lists of my children's high school English classes. It disturbs me that Joy Luck Club really presents a pseudo, stereotypical China. I hope high school English teachers will take a look at this book, and include Iron And Silk in the reading lists for their students. I want my children to read good books that tell about a real China. In my opinion this book is much better than Joy Luck Club for high school education. The back cover of this book tells me Mark Salzman graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude from Yale in 1982 with a degree in Chinese Language and Literature. This book is much more than a martial arts book. While it is fun to read as a series of short stories on an American martial arts student's journey in China, it really teaches so much about how the Chinese society is. I highly recommend it for high school reading lists.