Adoption & Multicultural Families Storytime

Stories for children who identify with more than one ethnicity or culture, which would be most citizens of the United States. This storytime is for those children who identify with at least one Asian or Asian-American culture.

Welcome/Opening Activity:

For good opening fingerplays to introduce storytime, see the book I’m a Little Teapot! Presenting Preschool Storytime (Black Sheep Press, 1996) by Jane Cobb. This book is a great safety blanket for those starting out with storytime. Although some of the books listed may be older titles that are not available, the songs and fingerplays, as well as the opening and closing rhymes are great for newer storytellers who haven’t found their favorite websites or haven’t developed their own program for storytime.


Title: Dumpling Soup
Author/Illustrator: Jama Kim Rattigan; Lillian Hsu-Flanders
Publisher/Date: Perfection Learning, 1998
Comments: A family gathers to make mandoo (or dumplings) for New Year’s Eve. The Yang family is descended from a variety of native and immigrant populations in Hawaii: Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, and European Americans. This book is better for older children in Family storytime. For preschoolers, Another book to try is This Next New Year (Frances Foster Books, 2000) by Janet S. Wong; illustrated by Yangsook Choi. The only issue is that children might be confused by reading this book anytime that’s not close New Year or Lunar New Year.

Title: A Mother for Choco
Author/Illustrator: Keiko Kasza
Publisher/Date: Putnam, 1992.
Comments: This sweet story features a motherless bird adopted by a bear. Of course, the moral of the story here is that you don’t have to look like your parents in order for them to love you.

Another book to try is Every Year on Your Birthday (Little, Brown, 2007) by Rose A. Lewis, illustrated by Jane Dyer. This book shows a mother’s love for her adopted daughter from China.

Title: I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother
Author/Illustrator: Selina Alko
Publisher/Date: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009
Comments: A biracial boy is expecting a new sibling and wonders what he or she will look like. The author uses food to describe himself, his parents, and eventually, his new sibling!
Other books to use: Oscar’s Half Birthday (Candlewick Press, 2005) by Bob Graham or the Colors of Us (Henry Holt and Co., 1999) by Karen Katz, or the Skin You Live In (Chicago Children’s Musuem, 2005) by Michael Tyler, illustrated by David Lee Csicsko.

Storytelling/Oral History:

Try these websites for fingerplays. You can use any fun fingerplays that don’t have to exactly match the theme of the books you’re using.
There is a themes link on left hand side of page.
This is where the best transition fingerplays and songs are located to quiet down and prepare for the next story. The best ones listed here areTransition Song, Everybody Sit Down, Not a Single Word. This website also has good opening and closing fingerplays or songs, and if storytime is not conducted in a circle, you can adapt it to a group by changing “circle” to “story.”


Hap Palmer and Raffi are a favorite, but also try Georgiana Liccione Stewart, Laurie Berkner, or Ella Jenkins, Tom Knight, or “Greg and Steve.”

Games/Other Activities:

For good stretches between books, see


Instead of a snack, have a brief movie or craft. Scholastic/Weston Woods films are usually short enough, age appropriate, and it can be shown without fear of copyright or viewing permission violations.


See this website for good closing/ending songs or fingerplays:

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