Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Third Grade

Reading books with children at a young age not only helps them better prepare for school, but it also opens their minds to new cultures and experiences. Exposing children early to both “mirror” and “window” books – that is, books in which they can see themselves, and books in which they can learn about others- is the best way to create engaged readers and support social and emotional growth.

Lee & Low Books offers hundreds of great books for third graders. Our books include English, Spanish, and bilingual titles; books about many different cultures; books that span a wide range of subjects and themes; and both fiction and nonfiction. Browse our 3-6 classroom collections to see what we offer, and check out our other book lists by grade:

Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Preschool

Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Kindergarten

Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for First Grade

Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Second Grade 

While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 10 of our absolute favorite diverse books for third grade! Favorite Multicultural Books for Third Grade

1. Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle, illus. by Jeanne Rorex Bridges:

Seven slaves cross the big river to freedom, led by a Choctaw angel walking on water.

2. Where Wonder Grows by Xelena González, illus. by Adriana M. Garcia:

From the creators of the award-winning picture book All Around Us comes another lyrical intergenerational story exploring our connections to nature, family, and traditions. Also available in Spanish, Donde las maravillas crecen.

3. Sharuko: : El arqueólogo peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown, illus. by Elisa Chavarri:

A fascinating bilingual picture book biography of Peruvian archaeologist and national icon Julio C. Tello, who unearthed Peru’s ancient cultures and fostered pride in the country’s Indigenous history.

4. Seven Golden Rings by Rajani LaRocca, illus. by Archana Sreenivasan:

In this clever, convivial picture book, an Indian boy untangles a mathematical conundrum to win a place at the Rajah’s court.

5. The Unstoppable Garrett Morgan byJoan DiCicco, illus. by Ebony Glenn:

Garrett Morgan, a prolific African American inventor and entrepreneur, must test his latest invention in a daring rescue after an explosion at the Cleveland Waterworks.

6.  Benji, the Bad Day, and Me by Sally Pla,  illus. by Ken Min:

Sammy is having the absolute rottenest, worst day ever. His little brother, Benji, knows exactly what that’s like. Also available in Spanish, Benyi, un mal día y yo.

7. Crane Boy by Diana Cohn, illus. by Youme: 

Kinga and his classmates create a dance to honor the cranes of Bhutan and to create awareness for their plight.

8. Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins , illus. by Nicole Wong:

Where do poems come from? This beautiful picture book about a young aspiring poet and his grandfather shows that the answer lies all around us–if we take the time to look.

9. Nibi’s Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco, illus. by Chief Lady Bird: 

This bright and vivacious book from two Native creators celebrates the energy, moxie, and determination of water activists of all ages.

10. Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words by Karen Abouraya, illus. by Susan L. Roth:

The inspiring true story of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who has become an international activist for universal education, with beautiful collage illustrations by award-winning artist Susan L. Roth. Also available in Spanish, Malala Yousafzai: Guerrera con palabras.

Further Reading
Culturally Responsive Teaching in Third Grade: Going Beyond the “Single Story”
Social Activism Books for Third Grade

What Does Close Reading Look Like in Third Grade?

Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books in Third and Fourth Grade

Also check out our amazing Grade 3-5 collections:

kindness and compassion collection

Asian/Asian American English Collection Grades 3-5

Black History Collection Grades 3-6

Kindness and Compassion Collection

Cinderella Around the World Collection

Social Activism Books for Third Grade

Poetry Grades 3-6

Nonfiction Grades 3-6

Native American Collection Grades 3-6

Latin American Collection Grades 3-6