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Here are three multicultural books that girls will definitely enjoy. Each is part of a series that is fun and humorous. So if your kids want to read more of a character, more books are available! They feature multi-cultural characters and explore important themes.

 

Victoria Torres (Unfortunately Average) – Face the Music by Julie Bowe

                                                       
 
Recommended for: Third to Fifth graders
 
This book is one of the Victoria Torres series. Also known as Vicka by friends and family, Victoria Torres is a middle school girl of Hispanic origin, who believes that she is a boring and average girl. In many ways, she is an ordinary teenage girl who has a secret crush on a classmate, loves chocolate chip pancakes, texting and having sleepovers with her girlfriends. Through the course of the story, we find out that she is definitely more than an average girl, as she tries out for a solo part in the school band and deals with her jealous best friend in a manner that is both mature and kind. Vicka gains confidence in herself and learns an important lesson – on some occasions, such as when performing in a group, it is better to match your friends than to shine alone.
 
The multicultural aspect of the book unfolds completely naturally, through conversations with her family and sentences sprinkled with Spanish words. Any teenage girl will identify very well with the trials and triumphs of Vicka. My son who is in fifth grade also liked the book because he recently joined the school band and could relate to the story. Very importantly, the story shows that there is nothing alarmingly different in Vicka’s family life even though her origins may be different from that of her classmates. 

 

Sofia Martinez – My Family Adventure by Jacqueline Jules

                                            

Recommended for: Kindergarten to Second graders
 
Sofia Martinez is an adventurous seven year old girl full of ideas for every contingency. Kids will love her stories and bright, colorful illustrations about life with her extended family – parents, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandmother. The 3 stories in the book are full of humorous mishaps but everything does come right in the end. Other than the humor, what I really liked about the book is the use of everyday Spanish words mixed in with the English text. A Spanish Glossary at the end of the book explains the meanings. The book would be great to use as a way to reinforce basic vocabulary words for beginning Spanish learners. 
 
 
Katie Woo and Friends by Fran Manushkin
 
                                         
 
Recommended for: Kindergarten to Second graders
 
This book contains four joyful stories that cover important themes for children: playing nicely with friends, the excitement of losing that first tooth, dealing with the loss of a pet by recalling happy memories, and a first camping trip. It is a great early chapter book, and very well-illustrated.
 
The multi-cultural aspect is very subtle, apparent only through the names of the characters and their appearance in the pictures. Using multi-cultural names is very important because I feel children of different races and nationalities need to see characters with names like their own. I notice that my own kids always come up with Caucasian names when asked to write stories. Books like Katie Woo encourage kids to give their characters more ethnic names that fit their stories better. The back of the book has a couple of wonderful activities – making a scrapbook and making apple, peanut butter,marshmallow snacks. 

I received complimentary copies of the books from Capstone Publishing. All opinions expressed in these reviews are mine. The books can be ordered through Amazon.

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