Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Fourth Grade

Reading books with children at the elementary 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 fourth 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:

While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 10 of our absolute favorite diverse books for fourth grade! 

Favorite Multicultural Books for Fourth Grade1. Breaking to the Beat! by Linda J. Acevedo, illus. byFrank Morrison:

A boogie-down picture book about a shy boy named Manolo who overcomes his fears and insecurities to become part of a new innovative dance style called breaking.

2. She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illus. by Eric Velasquez:

A timely, inspiring picture book biography of the dynamic twentieth-century educator, activist, and politician Shirley Chisholm.

3. The Lion Queens of India written and photographed by Jan Reynolds: 

Award-winning photojournalist Jan Reynolds offers readers a fascinating glimpse into the world of the endangered Asiatic lions and the female forest rangers who fight to save them.

4. The Story of Olympic Diver Sammy Lee by Paula Yoo, illus. by Dom Lee:

This compelling entry in the “Story of” line of chapter-book biographies features Sammy Lee, a Korean American diver who became the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal.

5. Butterfly for a King: Saving Hawai’i’s Kamehameha Butterflies by Cindy Trumbore, illus. by Susan L. Roth:

The fascinating true story of a beautiful native Hawaiian butterfly, a great Hawaiian warrior king, and current-day efforts by scientists and citizens to restore the butterfly’s declining population.

6. A Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana Inés by Pat Mora, illus. by Beatriz Vidal:

From a very young age, Juana Inés loved words. When she was three years old, she followed her sister to school and begged the teacher to let her stay so she could learn how to read. Juana enjoyed poring over books and was soon making up her own stories, songs, and poems.

7. There’s No Base Like Home by Jessica Mendoza & Alana Mendoza Dusan, illus. by Ruth McNally Barshaw: 

ESPN Major League Baseball analyst and two-time Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza teams up with her sister Alana Mendoza Dusan for their first highly-illustrated novel for young readers, a Dork Diaries for sporty kids.

8. Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy, illus. by Beatriz Vidal:

marti's song for freedom cover

A bilingual biography of José Martí, who dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty-abolishment of slavery, political independence for Cuba, and intellectual independence from colonialism for all Latinos. Written in verse with excerpts from Martí’s seminal work, Versos sencillos.

9. My Tata’s Remedies/ Los remedios de mi Tata by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford, illus. by Antonio Castro L.:

A bilingual story of family and traditional wisdom: Tata teaches grandson Aaron natural remedies through healing neighbors and family.

10. The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Ortiz, illus. by Sharol Graves:

Republished for its fortieth anniversary, this powerful story by renowned Acoma Pueblo poet and storyteller Simon J. Ortiz traces the history of Native / Indigenous people of North America from the time of creation to the present.

Further Reading

Social Activism Books for Fourth Grade

What Does Close Reading Look Like in Fourth Grade?

How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Fourth Grade

Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books in Third and Fourth Grade

Also check out our amazing Grade 3-5 collections:

kindness and compassion collectionAsian/Asian American English Collection Grades 3-5

Black History Collection Grades 3-6

Kindess and Compassion Collection

Cinderella Around the World Collection

Poetry Grades 3-6

Nonfiction Grades 3-6

Native American Collection Grades 3-6

Latin American Collection Grades 3-6

2 thoughts on “Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Fourth Grade”

  1. I am so glad Marti’s Song of Freedom made the list. I would add a few female main characters to this list such as Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story by S. D. Nelson and Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh. I love using picture books with these upper elementary kids. They won’t admit it, but they love it too.

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