I am perfectly serious when I say a lot of challenges in multiracial and multicultural families are solved with food. Food is the ultimate comfort in difficult or stressful times. That immediate connection to those familiar smells makes you feel right at home and less likely to feel isolated. For today’s column, I want to introduce to you a few of my favorite multicultural children’s books about Sunday Dinner.
The Tradition of Sunday Dinner
For me personally, I had to learn about the time-honored tradition of “Sunday Dinner”. For those who grew up in the South in the United States, every week the family gets together for a special meal. After learning about the tradition, I went on a hunt to find multicultural children’s books about Sunday dinner. As it turned out, these books are extremely popular.
My husband and I cook together often, which meant Sunday dinner in our family meant blending our different comfort foods into the meal. This was NOT as easy as it sounds, and any of you in a multicultural family know this to be true. You should have seen my face the first time I ate pig’s feet. Vice versa; when I told my husband I loved fish tacos for special occasions, he looked at me like I had two heads.
Multicultural Children’s Books About Sunday Dinner
I had always loved reading books about food traditions to both my students and my own children. I believe books are such a great way for children to experience other cultures. However, African-American Southern cuisine took on a new meaning when I was actually forced to try some of the dishes.
Cooking has not always been easy for me, but reading books; definitely in my comfort zone. Additionally, the most fabulous advice I ever received about chores was to teach kids how to cook for themselves. So, today I have compiled a list of books we LOVE to read aloud. All of these books showcase the amazing cultural tradition of Sunday Dinner.
These books will not only teach children vocabulary and culture but most importantly, be used as a window to bridge the gap to raise globally minded children.
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Board Book Recommendation
Count forwards and backward to 10 with this vibrantly illustrated board book; perfect for every child 0-2. We count as an African-American family who is shopping for food, preparing dinner, and sitting down to eat together. This gorgeous story will leave you hungry while you learn about classic foods such as collards, sweet potatoes, ham hocks and more that are needed for a traditional Sunday dinner feast.
Feast For 10 is a fun and lively read-aloud. Pre-readers will hear and learn important vocabulary. Furthermore, this is a perfect for getting children interested in cooking as a family. The perfect book to start teaching early reading skills while having fun meal planning and cooking. Read on for tips on how to teach reading through cooking.
Toddler Book Recommendations
This is a brand new book published this year which is an ADORABLE counting story to follow Feast for 10! Rhymers are readers and young children will be counting along with the brilliant rhythm of this book.
The storyline is centered around an extended African-American family. This African- American author uses her own voice and personal experience for this amazing story. Brown-Wood blends wonderful and authentic cultural elements of the story into the narrative. However, all cultures that have large extended families will nod their heads emphatically with the storyline. With piles of cousins, piles of food, and piles of fun, this book is a must-have for all.
Everyone knows that the little kid’s table is the place to be for any big family gathering. This describes my family perfectly where I was always having to sit with my siblings at the “kid table”.
However, just like us, the little kids in this fun story know how to make the best of it. This silly, rhyming story follows a group of rambunctious cousins from table setting to dessert. You, as well as the children reading with you, will love this thrilling family food adventure. Recommended age 3-8 years old.
Picture Book Recommendations
Auntie Mabel and her multiracial family and friends have gathered for their big Sunday dinner and can’t wait to dig into a delicious, mouthwatering meal. Before they can begin, Auntie Mabel starts—and doesn’t stop!—blessing everyone and every single item she sees in front of her. I love this delectable celebration of food and family. This book is a joyous appreciation of how traditions and rituals bring us, and keep us, together.
Author and illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton is one of our all-time favorite people in the children’s literature world. This classic book has continued to be a favorite with each new child that is born in our family.
In this classic book, we read the tale of a beautiful interracial friendship. A little Russian girl and two African-American brothers are neighbors. When they become friends, they walk into a store together. We watch as the shopkeeper racially profiles the boys and then accuses them of violence.
Although a serious book, it is so crucial for ALL children to read this book. It shows the reality of skin color when going about everyday errands. The story concludes with showing how adults can learn to appreciate the diversity too. The important lesson of getting to know each other instead of claiming to be “color blind” is critical. Reading Chicken Sunday will foster a wonderful discussion for students or your own children about race and white privilege.
After the Meal Book Recommendation
After reading about all this delicious multicultural food, this sleepy book is a perfect segway to bedtime. In this beautifully written story of a multiracial family, Lucy and her parents spend a fun day at the beach. They are digging sand castles, flying kites, and rolling on the dunes. After their full day, they decide to make it an early bedtime. Soon after bedtime, Lucy awakens and decides she needs her bear, Molasses, for comfort.
Lucy yawns quite often in the process as she takes many trips up and down the stairs. Throughout the book, a total of twenty yawns are woven into the story. Most of them towards the end; presumably when your little one’s eyes will be getting heavy. Watch out if you are reading this during the day; you won’t be able to keep from yawning too.
If you enjoyed these book recommendations, be sure to check out The Anatomy of a Diverse Bookshelf for more book lists for your home and/or classroom library.
If you liked the recommendations above and choose to buy any of these books, please click on the relevant links above. These are our affiliate links and items purchased using these links allow us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support in keeping this website going.