Book Reviews · Dive Into Diversity · Multicultural Children's Book Day

The Sandwich Swap

Multicultural children's book day

Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

I try to check out a wide variety of books when we go to the library. I am also participating in the Dive Into Diversity reading challenge. These are the titles my children and I picked out this week:

why mosquitoes

the chicken chasing queen


  • Me I Am! by Jack Prelutsky ~ illustrated by Christine Davenier

Me I am!

The Sandwich Swap by Kelly DiPucchio ~ illustrated by Tricia Tusa

The Sandwich Swap

The Sandwich Swap is a story about two friends. Lily eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for lunch. Salma eats a hummus and pita sandwich every day for lunch. Lily has never tasted hummus, and Salma has never tried peanut butter. Lily thinks Salma’s sandwich looks yucky. Salma thinks Lily’s sandwich looks gross. One day, they share their disgust about each other’s sandwiches. Their hurt feelings turn mad and they both say things they don’t mean. A food fight breaks out in the lunch room and all the kids start calling each other names.


The next day, Lily and Salma decide to swap sandwiches. Mmmm! Yummy!


At the end of the book, Salma and Lily meet with the principal to suggest a special event for the school. This spread folds out to reveal a long table with children sharing dishes from all over the world.


The Sandwich Swap celebrates difference and encourages children to learn about cultures through a topic everyone relates to: food. This is a great picture book to pair with a fun family activity. Invite your children to help prepare a meal from a different part of the world.

My son, Mason, is a blue belt in taekwondo. Although he learns a lot in taekwondo, they don’t teach much about South Korea. Mason learned Grand Master’s favorite food is kimchi, and he thinks Grand Master is pretty cool so we will make kimchi for our first dish. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables.

Grand Master
Grand Master signing Mason’s belt at the ATA City of Trees Tournament.

The Sandwich Swap inspired us to learn more about South Korea. First, we looked at a map.

“Wow, South Korea is so far away,” Mason said.

Then I printed a South Korean flag coloring sheet and information about the meaning of the flag.


I am excited to incorporate activities for more multicultural children’s books in my February post for Dive Into Diversity. To learn about participating in Multicultural Children’s book Day click here. There will be a Twitter party tonight at 9 pm EST. Follow #ReadYourWorld to learn about other wonderful multicultural children’s books.

Continue the celebration the rest of the year! Read diverse books for Dive Into Diversity hosted by Rather Be Reading and Reading Wishes!





14 thoughts on “The Sandwich Swap

  1. Thanks for sharing! This is a brilliant and much needed initiative. Here in the UK we are suffering a similar scenario and I am currently working with a number of schools to initiate change. I am interested in communicating with more (but not only) British publishers that have new/recent titles (especially with World Book Day around the corner) to share with primary children in particular. Drop me a line at

      1. Thank you for your kind comments. I can’t wait to check out the books you’ve kick started with and this is an excellent platform to hear about many more! The link you tried is my email address but the link to my children’s book is I hope you enjoy it.
        Best wishes, Salihah

  2. Sandwich Swap is one of my all-time favorites! I picked up the Arabic version when I was in Jordan and added stickers to make it bilingual – really a shame they didn’t publish a bilingual version. If you look at the pictures of my students celebrating MCCBD you can see both versions – and the opposite covers!

  3. I’ve been reading the cookbook Jerusalem and how that food is perhaps the only hope for bringing people together and that hummus just might be the thing that binds so I loved this connection to The Sandwich Swap! Can’t wait to read it! Thank you for your wonderful review and for joining us for Multicultural Children’s Book day! We really appreciate your support!

  4. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing these books. I have a 20 month old grandson and fortunately our library has a wide variety of books with multiple layers of diversity. Is the work of love done? No, but efforts like yours make a difference, one book, one child at a time.

  5. Hey! I remember reading the first book on the list in elementary school. I lived in a neighborhood with a lot of Caribbean immigrants and their children (which includes me) so there would be a lot of African folk stories part of our readings like Anansi to name a few.

    1. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing. It’s neat when we rediscover books from our childhood. This is one of the reasons why I love the kid lit blogging community. I can re-read those little treasures I forgot about :).

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