The most recommended books about multiculturalism

Who picked these books? Meet our 38 experts.

38 authors created a book list connected to multiculturalism, and here are their favorite multiculturalism books.
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Book cover of It Starts With Me!

Artika Tyner Author Of Justice Makes a Difference: The Story of Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire

From my list on children celebrating diversity.

Who am I?

The library has always been my favorite place to visit. As a child, I would travel the world through books. I learned about different cultures and studied other languages. Through these experiences, I gained a deep appreciation for cultures around the world. I also learned an important lesson that inclusion is the thread that weaves together a rich multicultural tapestry. Fast forward to today, I share these lessons through my work as an author, leadership scholar, and law professor. My booklist reflects a celebration of diverse cultures, introduces learning tools for becoming an inclusive leader, and provides an invitation to join me in taking intentional action for justice and equity.  

Artika's book list on children celebrating diversity

Artika Tyner Why did Artika love this book?

I love the journey this book brings readers on.

It raises questions of what can we build together, how do we live out our values, and what does a sense of belonging look like? As we each go on this journey of exploration, we can redefine our present and build a better future.

In addition, I appreciate that this book is also offered in Spanish, something that can be hard to find for young readers. 

Book cover of A Relational Theory of World Politics

Brantly Womack Author Of China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry

From my list on China perspectives.

Who am I?

Where you sit determines what you see. China is complex, and so it pays to move around and view it from as many perspectives as possible. My view of China is formed by visits to all of its 31 provinces and to most of its neighbors.  A professor of foreign affairs at the University of Virginia, I have taught and written about Chinese politics for the past forty years, and I have worked with Chinese universities and scholars. This list suggests some excellent books presenting different vantage points on China’s past and present.

Brantly's book list on China perspectives

Brantly Womack Why did Brantly love this book?

Qin is the former president of China Foreign Affairs University and China’s foremost thinker on international relationships. This book is not an easy read, but it is worth the effort because Qin presents an original perspective on world affairs that is rooted in Chinese intellectual traditions. In contrast to current theories of international relations, Qin emphasizes the importance of relationships over transactions—attention to managing long-term, particular connections rather than “the art of the deal.” In addition, he describes a dialectic based on the mutual transformation of opposites—a yin-yang relationship—rather than the usual Western assumption of separate categories. Qin is a hard read because he is presenting a new way of thinking.

By Yaqing Qin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Relational Theory of World Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on Chinese cultural and philosophical traditions, this book offers a ground breaking reinterpretation of world politics from Yaqing Qin, one of China's leading scholars of international relations. Qin has pioneered the study of constructivism in China and developed a variant of this approach, arguing that culture defined in terms of background knowledge nurtures social theory and enables theoretical innovation. Building upon this argument, this book presents the concept of 'relationality', shifting the focus from individual actors to the relations amongst actors. This ontology of relations examines the unfolding processes whereby relations create the identities of actors and provide motivations…


Book cover of Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Liberalism, Culture and Coercion

From my list on multiculturalism and the role of culture in our lives.

Who am I?

I'm intrigued by boundaries and the relationships between different ideologies, or isms. In 1992, I joined the European Project at The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. This was a fascinating group of people from Israel, Palestine, and Germany who studied the connections between Europe and the Middle East. Then I opened a new field of studies that continues to engage me: multiculturalism. In my books and articles (most recent: The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab), I examine the extent to which democracy may interfere in the cultural affairs of minorities within democracy, how to find a balance between individual rights and group rights, and whether liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable. 

Raphael's book list on multiculturalism and the role of culture in our lives

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Why did Raphael love this book?

I met Bhikhu Parekh when I arrived at the University of Hull in 2008. Bhikhu and I share many common interests and we interact constantly on a number of projects. Bhikhu Parekh wrote many important books and essays, and Rethinking Multiculturalism is arguably one of the most important books, if not the most important. The book is divided into three parts: historical, theoretical, and practical. In this comprehensive and rich work, Parekh critiques Rawls, Raz, and Kymlicka and then probes practices that most frequently lead to clashes of intercultural evaluation. Parekh argues that we can understand individual rights also in non-Western ways, so as to ensure that we do not deny non-liberal cultures certain opportunities to promote their own ways of living.

By Bhikhu Parekh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rethinking Multiculturalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This important and much acclaimed book rapidly became a classic on first publication. In it, Bhikhu Parekh shows that the Western tradition of political philosophy has very limited theoretical resources to cope with cultural diversity. He then discusses how it can be revised and what new conceptual tools are needed. The core of the book addresses the important theoretical questions raised by contemporary multicultural society, especially the nature and limits of intercultural equality and fairness, national identity, citizenship, and cross-cultural political discourse. The new second edition includes a substantial additional chapter addressing key issues.


Book cover of Liberalism, Community, and Culture

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Liberalism, Culture and Coercion

From my list on multiculturalism and the role of culture in our lives.

Who am I?

I'm intrigued by boundaries and the relationships between different ideologies, or isms. In 1992, I joined the European Project at The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. This was a fascinating group of people from Israel, Palestine, and Germany who studied the connections between Europe and the Middle East. Then I opened a new field of studies that continues to engage me: multiculturalism. In my books and articles (most recent: The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab), I examine the extent to which democracy may interfere in the cultural affairs of minorities within democracy, how to find a balance between individual rights and group rights, and whether liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable. 

Raphael's book list on multiculturalism and the role of culture in our lives

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Why did Raphael love this book?

Studying at Oxford, I was surprised that quite a few of my lecturers, including Ronald Dworkin and Jerry Cohen, hardly ever discussed the importance of culture in our lives. As someone who believes in the motto Know from where you are coming in order to know where you are going, I do not underestimate the power of culture, religion, and tradition in shaping communities. My library research discovered the excellent DPhil dissertation that Kymlicka wrote while he was in Oxford. This dissertation was a fresh air for me, accentuating the need to take culture seriously. Kymlicka reshaped his dissertation into this book which I regard as one of his very best books. Kymlicka presents the liberal view about the nature and value of community culture and bridges between liberalism and multiculturalism. I share this view and promote it in my own studies.

Kymlicka and I later cooperated in writing together…

By Will Kymlicka,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Liberalism, Community, and Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Liberalism is often described as a theory about the proper relationship between the individual and the state, but it also contains a broader account of the relationship between the individual and society. This book presents the liberal view about the nature and value of community and culture in an unusually explicit and systematic way, and links it to more familiar liberal views on individual rights and state neutrality.


Book cover of Antiracist Baby

Christine Ieronimo Author Of The Purple Pail

From my list on bringing children together in acceptance and kindness.

Who am I?

I'm passionate about a world of kindness and inclusiveness. Growing up, I loved to write stories, but reading was hard. My eyes would go over the words but the meaning wouldn’t get to my brain. So I stopped writing. We must start with little children, making sure they believe in themselves, presenting issues of acceptance, diversity, and social justice. I've published two books on this theme and am working on two more. I talk to school classes and the media, and travel to Ethiopia, where I'm involved with their clean water project. I 'm involved in sustainable projects that improve health and education for children and young women. Please visit my website to learn more.

Christine's book list on bringing children together in acceptance and kindness

Christine Ieronimo Why did Christine love this book?

This is a must for all babies and their readers! Ibram Kendi is the director of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research. He was one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People, 2020. A New York Times bestseller, the book has sold more than half a million copies to date. Antiracist Baby includes nine steps for building world where everyone thrives. 

Illustrator Ashley Lukashevsky, born in Hawaii, uses her art to champion people’s rights, from Black Lives Matter to LGBTQ+ to immigrants.

By Ibram X. Kendi, Ashley Lukashevsky (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Antiracist Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby's nine easy steps for building a more equitable world.

With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.


Book cover of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

Kathryn Harkup Author Of Superspy Science: Science, Death and Tech in the World of James Bond

From Kathryn's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Science communicator Vampirologist Book rescuer (it’s not hoarding when it’s books) Wannabe Bond villain Tea drinker

Kathryn's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Kathryn Harkup Why did Kathryn love this book?

This is a brilliantly written book about how Britain was built from its empire. It explodes the myths and takes the shine off the glorious empire and brings some of its darker aspects into a brighter light.

Sanghera’s account is well-researched, and both wide-ranging and personal. It fills in some of the gaps skipped over in my school’s history classes and gives context to some of the events, places and people I had heard of only fleetingly in the past. It is a surprisingly short book for a subject so vast. It made me want to find out more.

By Sathnam Sanghera,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Empireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2022 BRITISH BOOK AWARD FOR NARRATIVE NONFICTION

***THE BOOK THAT INSPIRED THE CHANNEL 4 DOCUMENTARY 'EMPIRE STATE OF MIND'***
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'The real remedy is education of the kind that Sanghera has embraced - accepting, not ignoring, the past' Gerard deGroot, The Times
_____________________________________________________

EMPIRE explains why there are millions of Britons living worldwide.
EMPIRE explains Brexit and the feeling that we are exceptional.
EMPIRE explains our distrust of cleverness.
EMPIRE explains Britain's particular brand of racism.

Strangely hidden from view, the British Empire remains a subject of both shame and glorification. In his bestselling…


Book cover of The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Liberalism, Culture and Coercion

From my list on multiculturalism and the role of culture in our lives.

Who am I?

I'm intrigued by boundaries and the relationships between different ideologies, or isms. In 1992, I joined the European Project at The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. This was a fascinating group of people from Israel, Palestine, and Germany who studied the connections between Europe and the Middle East. Then I opened a new field of studies that continues to engage me: multiculturalism. In my books and articles (most recent: The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab), I examine the extent to which democracy may interfere in the cultural affairs of minorities within democracy, how to find a balance between individual rights and group rights, and whether liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable. 

Raphael's book list on multiculturalism and the role of culture in our lives

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Why did Raphael love this book?

Drawing on contemporary cultural politics from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States, Benhabib understands cultures as continually creating, re-creating, and renegotiating the imagined boundaries between "us" and "them." She defends the creation and expansion of deliberative discursive multicultural spaces in liberal democracies, arguing that a legal pluralist model can be a good complement to deliberative and discursive democratic multiculturalism. In her insightful study, Benhabib contends that the Rawlsian model of public reason and the deliberative model of democracy share certain fundamental premises. Both view the legitimation of political power in the examination of the justice of institutions to be a public process, open to all citizens. The idea that justice should be in the public eye, open to scrutiny, examination, and reflection is fundamental.

By Seyla Benhabib,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Claims of Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can liberal democracy best be realized in a world fraught with conflicting new forms of identity politics and intensifying conflicts over culture? This book brings unparalleled clarity to the contemporary debate over this question. Maintaining that cultures are themselves torn by conflicts about their own boundaries, Seyla Benhabib challenges the assumption shared by many theorists and activists that cultures are clearly defined wholes. She argues that much debate - including that of "strong" multiculturalism, which sees cultures as distinct pieces of a mosaic - is dominated by this faulty belief, one with grave consequences for how we think injustices…


Book cover of Lola Levine Is Not Mean!

Kathryn Holmes Author Of Tally Tuttle Turns into a Turtle (Class Critters #1)

From my list on early chapter books about big feelings.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved books that take me on an emotional journey. Whether the story is realistic or fantastical, set firmly in the here and now or on another planet centuries in the future, I want to ride the roller coaster as the characters experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That’s also one of my focuses as a writer for children. Little kids can have very big feelings, and stories for young readers can validate those feelings—without skimping on the fun. After all, joy can be a big feeling too. 

Kathryn's book list on early chapter books about big feelings

Kathryn Holmes Why did Kathryn love this book?

When soccer-loving Lola accidentally injures a classmate during a pickup game at recess, her peers start calling her “Mean Lola Levine.” Losing playground privileges and friends is enough to put Lola in a bad mood that almost lives up to her unfortunate new nickname. I like that Brown treats Lola with empathy (after all, what happened was an accident) while also having her realize she was playing too aggressively and does bear some responsibility for the incident. This story can guide young readers through similarly sticky situations. 

By Monica Brown, Angela Dominguez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lola Levine Is Not Mean! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Meet Lola Levine--a biracial bicultural second grader, who isn't afraid to be herself, in this first book in a new chapter book series.

Lola loves writing in her diario, and playing soccer with her team, the Orange Smoothies. But when a soccer game at recess gets too "competitive," Lola accidentally hurts her classmate. Now everyone is calling her Mean Lola Levine! Lola feels terrible, but with the help of those who love her most, she learns how to navigate the 2nd grade in true Lola fashion--with humor and the power of words. In this first book in a series, Lola's…


Book cover of Why Do Men Barbecue? Recipes for Cultural Psychology

Elizabeth Maggie Penn Author Of Social Choice and Legitimacy: The Possibilities of Impossibility

From my list on how people shape their communities.

Who am I?

As a social scientist, I've always been interested in how the communities we live in shape our values, priorities, and behavior. I also care about how institutional change—from small things like a college offering a new major to big things like a town choosing to incorporatecan shape communities. Each of these books has changed my thinking about how we influence, and are influenced by, the communities we live in, for better or worse. I'm a professor in the departments of Political Science and Quantitative Theory and Methods at Emory University in Atlanta, and I hold a Ph.D. in the Social Sciences from Caltech. 

Elizabeth's book list on how people shape their communities

Elizabeth Maggie Penn Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Much of what we do in the social sciences requires articulating what it is that people want. What do people find beautiful, valuable, and correct? A cultural anthropologist, Shweder details the remarkable differences in how humans make meaning of their lives, and the different conceptions of morality, modesty, and normality found in different cultures. The book's most provocative chapter, "What About Female Genital Mutilation?," can be read as a qualified defense of the practice, arguing that using state coercion to enforce our own Western conceptions of correctness can constitute a form of liberal imperialism. Regardless of whether you find Shweder's case for FGM persuasive, the argument that tolerance requires seriously engaging with beliefs that may be alien and distressing is particularly welcome in these divided times.

By Richard A. Shweder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Do Men Barbecue? Recipes for Cultural Psychology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do American children sleep alone instead of with their parents? Why do middle-aged Western women yearn for their youth, while young wives in India look forward to being middle-aged? In these provocative essays, one of the most brilliant advocates of cultural psychology reminds us that cultural differences in mental life lie at the heart of any understanding of the human condition.

Drawing on ethnographic studies of the distinctive modes of psychological functioning in communities around the world, Richard Shweder explores ethnic and cultural differences in ideals of gender, in the life of the emotions, in conceptions of mature adulthood…


Book cover of In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies

Howard M. Guttman Author Of When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization

From my list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues.

Who am I?

I am the principal of Guttman Development Strategies (GDS), an organization development firm that works with senior executives and their teams in major corporations globally to build horizontal, high-performance teams, provide leadership coaching, and develop leadership skills. I am a speaker and author of three acclaimed management books and dozens of articles in business publications.

Howard's book list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues

Howard M. Guttman Why did Howard love this book?

This elegantly written book is chock-a-block with real-life examples and balances rigorous conceptual discussion with practical tips for moving organizations from mediocrity to excellence.

I especially like the author's distillation of eight practical tips that separate successful companies from the wannabes, including a bias for action, staying close to the customer, and “sticking to the knitting.” These were ahas! at the time and have since become timeless “musts” for well-run companies.

By Thomas J. Peters, Robert H. Waterman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of Excellence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The "Greatest Business Book of All Time" (Bloomsbury UK), In Search of Excellence has long been a must-have for the boardroom, business school, and bedside table.

Based on a study of forty-three of America's best-run companies from a diverse array of business sectors, In Search of Excellence describes eight basic principles of management -- action-stimulating, people-oriented, profit-maximizing practices -- that made these organizations successful.

Joining the HarperBusiness Essentials series, this phenomenal bestseller features a new Authors' Note, and reintroduces these vital principles in an accessible and practical way for today's management reader.