Read with PRIDE on Epic!

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Although PRIDE Month is celebrated in the month of June each year, these inclusive texts promote self-affirmation, dignity, and equality that are perfect to read all year long! The increased visibility and representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and their experiences, in children’s books is essential when working against prejudice, but also fosters acceptance. By recognizing and affirming these parts of one’s identity, we celebrate everyone’s freedom to be themselves.

The following selections can be found on Epic, an award-winning subscription service, which gives millions of families and classrooms instant, unlimited access to thousands of books, videos and quizzes from leading publishers to help kids everywhere read, learn and grow. I call it the Netflix for books! Not only is this resource free for educators, but they are also offering a discounted rate for the summer– only $9.99 for 3 months!

So join me, and read with PRIDE today, and every day!

In love & solidarity,

Shannon

Some People Do by Frank Lowe

As a parent, discussing diversity with your child can be difficult, especially if you have your own questions. Some People Do boils this topic down to provide the simplest of answers. By the time your child finishes reading this book, they will have been introduced to all facets of people, without any one being more revered than the other.

An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing

From A to Z, simple explanations accompanied by engaging artwork teach children about the world we live in and how to navigate our way through it. Each right-hand page includes a brightly decorated letter with the word it stands for and an encouraging slogan. On the left, a colourful illustration and bite-size text sum up the concept. Cheerful people from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities lead the way through the alphabet.

  • L is for LGBTQIA. Find the words that make you, you.
  • N is for No. No means no.
  • P is for Privilege. Be aware of your advantages.
  • X is for Xenophobia. Ask questions and you’ll see there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Ask more Questions, share your Kindness, and learn to Understand the world.

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman

In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, this title welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. Also included is a reading guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways.

Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag by Gayle E. Pitman

Gilbert Baker always knew he wanted a life full of color and sparkle. In his small, gray, flat Kansas hometown, he helped his grandma sew and created his own art whenever he could. It wasn’t easy; life tried over and over again to make Gilbert conform. But his sparkle always shone through. He dreamed of someday going somewhere as vibrant and colorful as he was.

Set against the backdrop of San Francisco during the gay rights movement of the 1970s, Gilbert’s story unfolds just like the flag he created: in a riot of color, joy, and pride. Today the flag is everywhere, even in the small town where Gilbert grew up! 

Lovely by Jess Hong

Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!

Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman

In this heartwarming picture book, a big sister realizes that her little sister, Jackie, doesn’t like dresses or fairies-she likes ties and bugs! Will she and her family be able to accept that Jackie identifies more as “Jack”?

Susan thinks her little sister Jackie has the best giggle! She can’t wait for Jackie to get older so they can do all sorts of things like play forest fairies and be explorers together. But as Jackie grows, she doesn’t want to play those games. She wants to play with mud and be a super bug! Jackie also doesn’t like dresses or her long hair, and she would rather be called Jack.

Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman

Casey loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck, but he also loves things that sparkle, shimmer, and glitter. When his older sister, Jessie, shows off her new shimmery skirt, Casey wants to wear a shimmery skirt too. When Jessie comes home from a party with glittery nails, Casey wants glittery nails too. And when Abuelita visits wearing an armful of sparkly bracelets, Casey gets one to wear, just like Jessie. The adults in Casey’s life embrace his interests, but Jessie isn’t so sure. Boys aren’t supposed to wear sparkly, shimmery, glittery things. Then, when older boys at the library tease Casey for wearing “girl” things, Jessie realizes that Casey has the right to be himself and wear whatever he wants. Why can’t both she and Casey love all things shimmery, glittery, and sparkly? Here is a sweet, heartwarming story about acceptance, respect, and the freedom to be yourself in a world where any gender expression should be celebrated. Sparkly things are for everyone to enjoy!

Maiden & Princess by Daniel Haack & Isabel Galupo

Once in a faraway kingdom, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince’s royal ball, but she’s not as excited to go as everyone else. After her mother convinces her to make an appearance, she makes a huge impression on everyone present, from the villagers to the king and queen, but she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place. This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far from here, there was a prince in line to take the throne, so his parents set out to find him a kind and worthy bride. The three of them traveled the land far and wide, but the prince didn’t quite find what he was looking for in the princesses they met.

While they were away, a terrible dragon threatened their land, and all the soldiers fled. The prince rushed back to save his kingdom from the perilous beast and was met by a brave knight in a suit of brightly shining armor. Together they fought the dragon and discovered that special something the prince was looking for all along. This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family.

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl’s room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of his life that didn’t fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life.

Then Mom and Dad announce that they’re going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning–from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does “making things right” actually mean? And what happens if he messes up? With a little help, Aidan comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self.

Jacob’s Room to Choose by Sarah & Ian Hoffman

When Jacob goes to the boys’ bathroom he is chased out because the boys think he looks like a girl because of the way he is dressed. His classmate, Sophie, has a similar experience when she tries to go to the girls’ bathroom. When their teacher finds out what happened, Jacob and Sophie, with the support administration, lead change at their school as everyone discovers the many forms of gender expression and how to treat each other with respect.

Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They by Ian & Sarah Hoffman

As Mrs. Reeves class plans for their school show, Life on the Farm, all of the students, including Jacob, find themselves unexpectedly trying to understand Ari’s identity as they. Ms. Reeves helps Jacob through his confusion by saying, “From the outside, we can’t see who anybody is on the inside. So we have to trust them when they tell us.” After the show premieres and is a hit with family and friends, Jacob comes to full realization of what he, she, and they means and embraces Ari as who they are and the whole class reaches a new level of identity comprehension. This book introduces young readers to concepts of gender diversity and pronoun use and encourages an understanding of what gender is and how it needs to be respected for everyone, as who they are inside.

Willow and the Wedding by Denise Brennan-Nelson

Willow is back! This time she’s so excited to be flower girl for her favorite uncle and his boyfriend’s wedding. Willow just can’t wait to help make it perfect. The beach ceremony! The dinner! The dessert! The dancing! But there’s just one hiccup. Uncle Ash refuses to dance these days. A wedding with no dancing?! Willow makes it her mission to remind him of the joy he found in dancing years ago. On the evening of the wedding, Uncle Ash surprises them all and everyone dances in just the ways they were meant to.

A Little Bit Different by Claire Alexander

Meet the ploofers. The ploofers have been practicing something special that they all want to do at the exact same time—but wait! What’s that? One of them does something different! When one little ploofer goes against the usual flow of things, the rest of them turn their backs on him. But all it takes is for one person to recognize the beauty in being different to spark a change in attitude of everyone.

Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart

A must-have primer for young readers and a great gift for pride events and throughout the year, beautiful colors all together make a rainbow in Rainbow: A First Book of Pride. This is a sweet ode to rainbow families, and an affirming display of a parent’s love for their child and a child’s love for their parents. With bright colors and joyful families, this book celebrates LGBTQ+ pride and reveals the colorful meaning behind each rainbow stripe. Readers will celebrate the life, healing, light, nature, harmony, and spirit that the rainbows in this book will bring.

I Love My Purse by Belle Demont

Charlie loves the bright red purse that his grandmother let him have. One day, he decides to take it to school. First his father, then his friends, and even the crossing guard question him about his “strange” choice. After all, boys don’t carry purses. They point out that they, too, have things they like, but that doesn’t mean they go out in public wearing them. But Charlie isn’t deterred. Before long, his unselfconscious determination to carry a purse starts to affect those around him. His father puts on his favorite, though unconventional, Hawaiian shirt to go to work; his friend Charlotte paints her face, and the crossing guard wears a pair of sparkly shoes. Thanks to Charlie, everyone around him realizes that it isn’t always necessary to conform to societal norms. It’s more important to be true to yourself. With its humorous, energetic illustrations, this book is ideal as a read-aloud or as a text for emerging readers. It can also be used as a starting point for a discussion about gender roles.

Jamie is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way by Afsaneh Moradian 

There are so many fun things to play with at Jamie’s new preschool—baby dolls to care for, toy cars to drive—and Jamie wants to play with them all! But the other children are confused by Jamie’s gender expression . . . is Jamie a boy or a girl? Some toys are just for girls and others are just for boys, aren’t they? Not according to Jamie!

Join Jamie’s new friends as they learn the importance of cooperation, creativity, and empathy. Jamie Is Jamie is a great way to start a conversation with children about gender expression by:

  • challenging gender stereotypes
  • showing readers that playing is fundamental to learning
  • reinforcing the idea that all children need the freedom to play unencumbered

Papa, Daddy, & Riley by Seamus Kirst

Riley is Papa’s princess and Daddy’s dragon. She loves her two fathers! When Riley’s classmate asks her which dad is her real one, Riley is confused. She doesn’t want to have to pick one or the other.


Families are made of love in this heartwarming story that shows there are lots of ways to be part of one.

Pride Puppy! by Robin Stevenson

A young child and their family are having a wonderful time together celebrating Pride Day―meeting up with Grandma, making new friends and eating ice cream. But then something terrible happens: their dog gets lost in the parade! Luckily, there are lots of people around to help reunite the pup with his family. 

This rhyming alphabet book tells a lively story, with rich, colorful illustrations that will have readers poring over every detail as they spot items starting with each of the letters of the alphabet. An affirming and inclusive book that offers a joyful glimpse of a Pride parade and the vibrant community that celebrates this day each year.

Julián at the Wedding (Epic! video) by Jessica Love

Julián and his abuela are going to a wedding. Better yet, Julián is in the wedding. Weddings have flowers and kissing and dancing and cake. And this wedding also has a new friend named Marisol. It’s not long before Julián and Marisol set off for some magic and mischief of their own, and when things take an unexpected turn, the pair learns that everything is easier with a good friend by your side. 

Riley Can’t Stop Crying by Stephanie Boulay

Riley is inconsolable. He can’t stop crying and nothing is making him feel better. His sister, Regina, tries her best to help him figure out what’s wrong, but four-year-old Riley isn’t sure. It’s not his tummy, or his head, or the monsters under the bed. Regina and their dad try everything they can to make Riley smile, but nothing works until one day Regina has an idea. Maybe it’s Riley that is making Riley upset.

Regina knows what it feels like to be uncomfortable in her body, but she also knows that she’s pretty amazing and really good at a lot of things. So how can she help Riley see that he’s pretty amazing and really good at a lot of things? A charming story about a child’s search for his true self under the compassionate eye of his older sister.

Except When They Don’t by Laura Gehl

Children are often told by many different people about what toys they’re supposed to play with, what interests they should have, and who they should be simply because of their gender. This stereotype-breaking book invites children to examine what they’re told “boy” and “girl” activities are and encourages them to play with whatever they want to and to be exactly who they are! This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.

Jamie & Bubbie: A Book About People’s Pronouns by Afsaneh Moradian 

Jamie is excited to spend the day walking around the neighborhood with great-grandma Bubbie. They meet so many friends and neighbors throughout the day along the way . . . but Jamie has to correct Bubbie when she incorrectly assumes Ms. Wallace is a he and their server is a she. 

“You can’t always know if someone goes by he or she or something else. Sometimes a person will tell you. If they don’t, you can use the person’s name or you can say they.” 

Jamie helps Bubbie understand that it’s important not to assume a person’s pronouns based on appearance, and to always use the name and pronouns they go by: he, she, they, or something else.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino

Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. But most of all, Morris loves wearing the tangerine dress in his classroom’s dress-up center. The children in Morris’s class don’t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses. One day when Morris feels all alone and sick from their taunts, his mother lets him stay home from school. Morris dreams of a fantastic space adventure with his cat, Moo. Inspired by his dream, Morris paints the incredible scene he saw and brings it with him to school. He builds his own spaceship, hangs his painting on the front of it and takes two of his classmates on an outer space adventure.

Princess Kevin by Michael Escoffier

This year, Kevin is going to the school costume show as a princess. His costume is perfect but he knows that the best costumes are authentic. So he is outraged that none of the knights will partner with him and complete the look. Things don’t go quite a smoothly as he planned. Next year, there is only one thing for it. He will just have to be something even more fabulous.


This is a heartwarming and funny story about imagination, diversity and persevering at expressing your fabulous self.

Rainbow Boy by Taylor Rouanzion

A little boy attempts to answer one of grown-ups’ all-time favorite questions: “What’s your favorite color?” But with so many wonderful colors to choose from, he doesn’t know how to answer. He loves his pink sparkly tutu, bright red roses, soft yellow baby doll pajamas, and big, orange basketball. How will he ever pick?

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60 Diverse Picture Books to Celebrate the Holiday Season

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All the Colors of Christmas

Written by Matthew Paul Turner & Illustrated by Gillian Gamble

It’s God within
a baby’s skin
on that very first Christmas Day.
 
All the colors come together when readers are reminded that Christmas is YOU—you’re a part of the story, the joy and the glory! Matthew shows us again and again that the holidays are nothing without being with the people we love, celebrating treasured traditions, and making new memories—all in vivid color.

Always Together at Christmas

Written by Sara Sargent & Illustrated by Mark Chambers

Christmas will always mean love.
Even if love looks a little different this year.

As families and communities come together–and stay apart–in creative ways this holiday season, bring comfort and joy to children with this story about a Christmas like no other. Always Together at Christmas highlights different family traditions and the ways they’re changing in 2020: from Santa’s elves practicing social distancing to opening presents via Zoom on Christmas morning. And it even includes ideas for new quarantine-appropriate Christmas traditions!

The sweet and cozy illustrations add classic touches, making this book the perfect gift to share with family and friends from across the miles.

This Is the Stable

Written by Cynthia Cotten & Illustrated by Delana Bettoli

A gorgeous, poetic new version of the Nativity story

Wondrous things are happening in this humble little stable. The animals are gathering round. Shepherds and wise men and angels are coming from afar. All of them are flocking to see the Christ child, born this night in Bethlehem.

Snow Globe Wishes

Written by Erin Dealey & Illustrated by Claire Shorrock

As the worst snow storm of the year rolls in, one family hunkers down together in a cozy blanket fort for the night. A little girl makes a wish on a snow globe and, in the morning, the sun rises on a winter wonderland–beckoning all outside. And what if, on this snow-filled day, families shake their busy lives and everyone goes out to play? A lyrical holiday story about wishes and community and snow–lots and lots of snow.

Christmas in Lagos

Written by Sharon Abimbola Salu & Illustrated by Maria Nikla

A delightful and charming story celebrating Christmas in Lagos, a modern West African city.  This picture book explores the sights and sounds of Lagos at Christmas through the eyes and words of a little Nigerian girl writing a Christmas journal.

The Miracle of the First Poinsettia: A Mexican Christmas Story

Written by Joanne Oppenheim & Illustrated by Fabian Negrin

Originally native to Mexico, beautiful poinsettia plants decorate homes around the world every holiday season. But few people who love the plant’s deep red tones know the traditional Mexican tale about how the poinsettia first came to be. This narrative transports readers to Old-World Mexico and into the arms of a young girl as her trust leads her straight into a miracle. A beautiful alternative to the traditional nativity story, this book is a wonderful evocation of Mexican customs and culture

Winter Wonderland (National Geographic Kids)

Written by Jill Esbaum

Each year, as days grow shorter and trees become bare, the world outside seems to slow and darken. But for children, this time of year is magical. The frosty air crackles with play and laughter. There’s a sense of excitement as snow and cold weather make for outdoor adventures that aren’t possible any other time of year. This charming picture book, the latest in National Geographic’s popular Picture the Seasons series, is a vibrant celebration of winter traditions. 

Over the River and Through the Wood

Illustrated by Emma Randall

In this stunning paper-over-board picture book, a blustering wind stings the toes and bites the nose, but hearts are warm and there’s lots to eat–for ’tis Thanksgiving Day! Bundle up as you navigate a winter wonderland of sparkling snow-covered trees and adorable woodland creatures in this cherished holiday tale. Coupled with Emma Randall’s delightful illustrations, the familiar poem-turned-song is the perfect way to celebrate the season. Just remember to leave room for pumpkin pie!

The First Day of Winter

Written & Illustrated by Denise Fleming

Alive with swirling snow and lots of outdoor fun, the first ten days of winter bring special gifts for a special friend. This cumulative tale will have children chanting along as they discover all the trimmings needed for the most perfect snowman ever!

12 Days of Christmas (The Christmas Choir)

Illustrated by Lara Hawthorne

Celebrate the magic of Christmas time with this well-loved traditional poem, The Twelve Days of Christmas, beautifully illustrated by Laura Hawthorne.

Take a walk through each beautiful scene brimming with details that will remind you of the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Perfect to read with your true love.

Oh no Mr. Snowman!

By Make Believe Ideas, Ltd.

Katy and her brother build a magical snowman. When it gets too cold to play outside, they go into the house – but Mr. Snowman wants to come in, too!

What follows is a humorous tale as Mr. Snowman tries to sneak in without anyone noticing. Everywhere he goes, things freeze! From crystals on the dinner plates, to icebergs in the bath, Mr. Snowman is found and asked to leave every time.

But at the Christmas Eve party, something goes wrong. The desserts won’t set and the ice-cream melts! Can Mr. Snowman save the day?

Roc and Roe’s Twelve Days of Christmas

Written by Nick Cannon & Illustrated by AG Ford

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey’s twins, Roc and Roe, decorate their Christmas tree with their “pip” version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

From an angel with sparkly, shiny wings to four skiing snowmen to twelve chugging choo-choos, Roc and Roe have a frolicking time getting ready for the holidays.

The Night Before Christmas

Retold & Illustrated by Rachel Isadora

Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora sets her colorful, unique version of this well-known Christmas poem in Africa, capturing the anticipation and excitement of the holiday in her stunning collages. Children will pore over the enchanting artwork–brimming with special touches like traditional African toys and a Santa who sports dreadlocks–as they chime along with the familiar rhyming text.

Jackie’s Gift

Written by Sharon Robinson & Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Young Steve Satlow is thrilled when his hero Jackie Robinson moves onto his block. After the famed second baseman invites Steve to a Dodgers game, the two become friends. So when Jackie hears that the Satlows don’t have a Christmas tree, he decides to give them one, not realizing the Satlows are Jewish. But Jackie’s gift helps these two different families discover how much they have in common.

‘Twas Nochebuena: A Christmas Story in English and Spanish

Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong & Illustrated by Sara Palacios

It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re invited to a Nochebuena celebration! Follow a family as they prepare to host a night filled with laughter, love, and Latino tradition. Make tasty tamales and hang colorful adornos (decorations) on the walls. Gather to sing festive canciones (songs) while sipping champurrado (hot chocolate). After the midnight feast has been served and the last gifts have been unwrapped, it’s time to cheer, “Feliz Navidad and to all a good night!”

Where Would Santa Go?

Written by Julia Inserro & Illustrated by Natalie Merheb

If you could travel the world, where would you go? How about Antarctica, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Nepal, Egypt, Iceland and Oman? Now who do you take with you? How about the most famous world traveler who’s seen it all?

Join Santa in this playful sleigh-ful Christmas adventure as he shows you all his favorite places around the world from his magic sleigh on Christmas Eve. Now you can answer the question, Where Would Santa Go?

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem

Written by Maya Angelou and Illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

Angelou’s beautiful, moving, and beloved poem, which she first read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony, now comes alive as a fully illustrated children’s book, celebrating the promise of peace in the holiday season. In this simple story, a family joins with their community—rich and poor, black and white, Christian, Muslim, and Jew—to celebrate the holidays.

A World of Cookies for Santa

Written by M.E. Furman & Illustrated by Susan Gal

A World of Cookies for Santa takes readers across the globe to see all the treats that await Santa on Christmas Eve. Head to the Philippines, where children leave out puto seko cookies and ginger tea for Santa; jet to Russia for a honey-spice cookie; then set out for Malawi for a sweet potato cookie! When you’ve returned home, the journey’s still not over—M. E. Furman provides recipes for children to bake some of Santa’s cookies for themselves.  

Under the Christmas Tree

Written by Nikki Grimes & Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Presented from an African-American perspective by a Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, a holiday tale provides readers with twenty-three charming poems that capture the joy and happiness of one family’s Christmas celebration.

Long Ago, on a Silent Night

Written by Julie Berry & Illustrated by Annie Won

In this poignant and lyrical story by Printz Honor recipient Julie Berry, the miracle of Christmas and the promise in every new child come together in a luminous celebration of unconditional love and hope. With tender, incandescent illustrations by Annie Won, the wonder of the nativity story and the marvel of every baby come alive in a wholly extraordinary book for families everywhere.

Damon and the Magic Christmas Tree

Written by Tash Creates & Illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Damon and the Magic Christmas Tree teaches children about the delights of Christmas and Hanukkah. Damon will show readers how to recognize the joys that can be found all around them. This smart, sweet little boy dreams of being a superhero. His dream comes true as he brings light and laughter to your family this holiday season.

My First Kwanzaa

By Karen Katz

Hooray! Hooray!
It’s time to get ready for Kwanzaa.”

During the seven days of Kwanzaa, we celebrate the importance of family, friends, and community. This warm and lively introduction to a very special holiday will help even the youngest children join in!

The Square Root of Possible: A Jingle Jangle Story

Written by Lyn Sisson-Talbert & David E. Talbert

A charming picture book story based on the Netflix holiday film Jingle Jangle, starring Phylicia Rashad, Forrest Whitaker, Anika Noni Rose, Keegan Michael Key, and newcomer Madalen Mills, about an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention, that if they can get it to work in time for the holidays, could change their lives forever.

Walk This World at Christmastime

By Big Picture Press & Illustrated by Debbie Powell

A collection of global cultures, Walk This World at Christmastime illustrates the ways people around the world celebrate Christmas. Travel to a new set of countries with every turn of the page. Lift the numbered flaps for all the fun of an Advent calendar in a format to be read again and again.

When Christmas Feels Like Home

Written by Gretchen Griffith & Illustrated by Carolina Farias

After moving from a small village in Mexico to a town in the United States, Eduardo is sure it will never feel quite like home. The other children don’t speak his language and they do not play fútbol. His family promises him that he will feel right at home by the time Christmas comes along, when “your words float like clouds from your mouth” and “trees will ride on cars.” With whimsical imagery and a sprinkling of Spanish vocabulary, Gretchen Griffith takes readers on a multicultural journey with Eduardo who discovers the United States is not so different from Latin America and home is wherever family is.

Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

Written by Donna L. Washington & Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Li’l Rabbit is not having a very good Kwanzaa. Granna Rabbit is sick, and so his family won’t celebrate his favorite part of Kwanzaa this year: a big feast called Karamu. Li’l Rabbit knows what to do! He’ll find Granna Rabbit a special treat for Karamu so she can celebrate anyway. He looks under a pile of logs, in the field, and in the pond and along the way meets Groundhog, Momma Field Mouse, and the frogs—but he doesn’t find anything for Granna Rabbit.

Maybe I’m just too little to help Granna Rabbit celebrate Kwanzaa, Li’l Rabbit thinks. Or maybe he just needs a little help from his family and friends.

Native American Night Before Christmas

Adapted & Written by Gary Robinson and Illustrated by Jesse T. Hummingbird

An innovative retelling of the classic Christmas tale, Native American Night Before Christmas presents a whimsical look at a Native American Christmas Eve, when Old Red Shirt (the Indian Santa Claus) comes a-calling on his wooden sleigh pulled by a team of flying white buffalo. Jesse Hummingbird’s inspired illustration transform the author’s playful adaptation into a fresh and modern work of art. A delight for people of all ages and cultures. Winner of the 2010 Moonbeam Award for Holiday Books.

Grandma’s Gift

By Eric Velasquez

This prequel to Eric Velasquez’s biographical picture book Grandma’s Records is the story of a Christmas holiday that young Eric spends with his grandmother. After they prepare their traditional Puerto Rican Christmas celebration, Eric and Grandma visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a school project, where he sees a painting by Diego Velasquez and realizes for the first time that he could be an artist when he grows up. Grandma witnesses his fascination, and presents Eric with the perfect Christmas gift-a set of paints-to use in his first steps toward becoming an artist. 

King Island Christmas

Written by Jean Rogers & Illustrated by Rie Munoz

Winter is closing in on Alaska’s King Island, and soon the Eskimo villagers will be cut off from the world for many months. That suits them fine — but only if they can first brave a rough and windy sea to fetch the new priest in time for Christmas. 

Elijah’s Angel

Written by Michael J. Rosen & Illustrated by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson

Michael and Elijah are friends, but when Elijah gives Michael one of his special carved angels, Michael doesn’t know what to do. How can he possibly take home a Christmas angel, a forbidden graven image–especially on Chanukah? “A strikingly illustrated story that tenderly bridges the boundaries of age, race, and religion.”–American Bookseller

An Angel Just Like Me

Written by Mary Hoffman and Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

An inspiring text and festive illustrations highlight the story of Tyler’s quest to find a Christmas tree angel who does not have golden hair and pink skin, but rather looks like him and his family, is a unique Christmas story that celebrates ethnic diversity.

Pick a Pine Tree

Written by Patricia Toht & Illustrated by Jarvis

Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. 

The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood

Written by Virginia Hawk Sneve & Illustrated by Ellen Beier

Virginia’s old coat is too small. The cold South Dakota wind blows across the Rosebud Indian Reservation, making her shiver as she walks to school. Virginia dreams of a new coat arriving in the Theast boxes–parcels of clothing from churches in The East. But, she knows she may not have a chance for a coat this year. Her father is the village Episcopal priest, so her family chooses last, and as Mama always says, The others need it more than we do. Generosity and unexpected joy remind Virginia of the importance of community within this story from the author s childhood.

Our Favorite Day of the Year

Written by A.E. Ali & Illustrted by Rahele Jomepour Bell

Musa’s feeling nervous about his first day of school. He’s not used to being away from home and he doesn’t know any of the other kids in his class. And when he meets classmates Moisés, Mo, and Kevin, Musa isn’t sure they’ll have much in common. But over the course of the year, the four boys learn more about each other, the holidays they celebrate, their favorite foods, and what they like about school. The more they share with each other, the closer they become, until Musa can’t imagine any better friends.

A Pinata in a Pine Tree

Written by Pat Mora & Illustrated by Magaly Morales

An award-winning author and a rising star artist have put a festive Latino twist on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” populating it with piñatas in place of partridges, plus burritos bailando (dancing donkeys), lunitas cantando (singing moons), and much more, all displayed in the most vivid colors imaginable. In this version a little girl receives gifts from a secret amiga, whose identity is a sweet surprise at the book’s conclusion. There are things to find and count in Spanish on every page, with pronunciations provided right in the pictures and a glossary and music following the story. This joyous fiesta will warm even the coldest of hearts.

Simonie and the Dance Contest

Written by Gail Matthew & Illustrated by Ali Hinch

Simonie loves to dance! When he sees a sign for Taloyoak’s annual Christmas Jigging Dance Contest, he can’t wait to enter. But practising is hard work, and Simonie starts to worry that he won’t do a good job in front of all his friends and neighbours. Luckily, with a little advice from his anaana and ataata, and some help from his friends Dana and David, Simonie learns how to listen to the music and dance the way it makes him feel. When the time comes for the contest, he’s ready to dance his very best. Based on the annual Christmas dance contest in the community of Taloyoak, Nunavut, this heartwarming picture book shows how a lot of hard work―and a little inspiration―can go a long way.

Miracle on 133rd Street

Written by Sonia Manzano & Illustrated by Marjorie Pricemon

It’s Christmas Eve and Mami has bought a delicious roast for a Christmas feast. But, oh no! It’s too big to fit in the oven. Jose and Papa need to find an oven big enough to cook Mami’s roast. As they walk from door to door through their apartment building, no one seems to be in the Christmas spirit. So they head down the street to find someone willing to help, and only when they do, lo and behold, the scent—the itself magical smell—of dinner begins to spread, and holiday cheer manifests in ways most unexpected.

Danny’s Christmas List

Written by Tieska Jumbo & Illustrated by Aquil Khan

When Danny and his family visit a local Christmas market, he finds himself in a chance encounter with Santa. With his list in hand and Santa all alone, Danny sees a chance he must take. Can you guess what Danny asks? Join Danny and Santa in this heartwarming tale that is sure to be a Christmas classic!

Grace at Christmas

Written by Mary Hoffman & Illustrated by Cornelius van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Grace loves Christmas – acting out the nativity story, opening presents, celebrating with Ma, Nana and Paw-Paw. But this Christmas Nana announces they will have visitors from Trinidad. Grace is horrified! She does NOT want to share the day with another little girl she doesn’t even know. But after some wise words from Nana, Grace’s generous spirit shines through. And in the end, as they all share a special surprise, Grace thinks it could be the best Christmas ever!

Celebrate Kwanzaa (National Geographic Kids)

Written by Carolyn Otto

Celebrate Kwanzaa continues the spectacular Holidays Around the World series by focusing on this African-American holiday, which falls during the festive, gift-giving season and is celebrated by families, communities, and schools throughout America. With succinct, lively text and beautiful photographs, the book celebrates African-American culture and helps us to understand and appreciate this special holiday.

Silent Night (The Christmas Choir)

Illustrated by Lara Hawthorne

Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated book, based on the world’s best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory—from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels—as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. The world’s diversity is reflected in a cast of characters with a range of skin tones. A gorgeous book for all the family to share during the festive season.

Amadi’s Snowman

Written by Katia Novet Saint-Lot & Illustrated by Dimitrea Tokumbo

When he runs off to the market instead of sticking around for a reading lesson, he encounters a much-admired older boy secretly reading at a book stall, and then Amadi becomes intrigued by a storybook with pictures of a strange white creature that has a carrot for a nose. Unable to shake his questions about the snowman, Amadi discovers the vast world reading can open up―especially for an Igbo boy of Nigeria.

N is for Navidad

Written by Susan Middleton Elya & Merry Brooks and Illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Bienvenidos! to a celebration of Christmas, Latino-style! From the ngel (angel) hung above the door to the zapatos (shoes) filled with grass for the wise men s camels, each letter in this festive alphabet introduces children to a Spanish word, and each colorful page takes them through another joyous aspect of the 22 days of the traditional holiday. Vibrant art from acclaimed illustrator Joe Cepeda beautifully complements the lively, rhythmic text to bring the reader a wealth of heritage and a season of light! Feliz Navidad!

12 Days of Christmas

Illustrated by Rachel Isadora

Set in Africa, this beautiful rendition of the classic Christmas carol has a unique twist: colorful icons illustrate the various gifts repeated in each verse of this cumulative song, creating a rebus-style text that gives young children a fun way to follow along and chime in with the lyrics. The gorgeous, wonderfully detailed collage illustrations, comprised of colorful kente cloth and cut paper, feature tribal drummers and dancers, traditional clothing and native wildlife, making every scene as visually striking as the last.

A Coqui and the Three Wise Men: From Boriquen to Bethlehen

Written by Lara Mercado and Armando Valdes & Illustrated by Nivea Ortiz

From Boriquén to Bethlehem: A Coquí and the Three Wise Men” is the story of a magical coquí (a tree frog native to Puerto Rico) who traveled with the Magi to the first Christmas. The coquí’s call helps the Magi find the little Baby Jesus. In gratitude, the Kings promise to yearly visit the children of Puerto Rico, and to find them wherever they may be if they hear the coquí’s song.

Count with Santa

By Angela Y. Nixon

This book combines simple counting with fun similar to game “I Spy”. A perfect book for your little learners. They’ll develop focusing skills while try to find the cute Christmas objects. As your child looks through the vibrant Christmas-themed pictures he or she will count their numbers 1-10. Your child will have so much fun reading repeatedly number book they won’t even know they’re learning! They’ll also develop the ability to concentrate, as well as their observational skills. This is a delightful book for parents, grandparents, teachers and friends to share with their children

A Very Noisy Christmas

Written by Tim Thornborough & Illustrated by Jennifer Davison

Some think that Christmas was a “”Silent Night””. Far from it. It was filled with shouting, singing and screaming! It was as noisy as any of our Christmas celebrations.

This fun and fresh retelling of the Christmas story comes with sound effects so that children can join in as parents read to them. But it also shows children that at the heart of the Christmas story is something we should all be quiet and see: God’s son Jesus was born, so that we can be friends with God forever. Now that’s something worth shouting about!

Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border

Written by Mitali Perkins & Illustrated by Sara Palacios

It’s almost time for Christmas, and Maria is traveling with her mother and younger brother, Juan, to visit their grandmother on the border of California and Mexico. For the few minutes they can share together along the fence, Maria and her brother plan to exchange stories and Christmas gifts with the grandmother they haven’t seen in years. But when Juan’s gift is too big to fit through the slats in the fence, Maria has a brilliant idea. Here is a heartwarming tale of families and the miracle of love.

I Got the Christmas Spirit

Written by Connie Schofield-Morrison & Illustrated by Frank Morrison

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. The little girl hears sleigh bells ringing and carolers singing. She smells chestnuts roasting–CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!–and sees the flashing lights of the department store windows–BLING! BLING! BLING! She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish–for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.

Christmas Makes Me Think

Written by Tony Medina & Illustrated by Chandra Cox

The young narrator of Christmas Makes Me Think is thrilled with the holiday’s prospects: the presents he’s wishing for, the big tree he’s hoping to get, the cake he’ll bake with his grandmother. But he begins to wonder. What about the people who don’t get presents, or don’t even have a place to live? He soon realizes that he can make a difference by giving some of his presents to kids who have none.

My Baby Loves Christmas

Written by Jabari Asim & Illustrated by Tara Nicole Whitaker

Baby loves candy canes wrapped in bows.

Baby loves jingle bells.

Baby loves snow. . . .

Celebrate all the lovely things that Baby discovers about Christmas. This board book, the perfect gift for a new baby, features rhythmic poetry from Jabari Asim and adorable art from Tara Nicole Whitaker.

Ming’s Christmas Wishes

Written by Susan L. Gong & Illustrated Masahiro Tateishi

Ming wishes for three things at Christmas. First, to sing in the school Christmas choir. Second, to have a Christmas tree like the one in the department store window. And third, to feel she belongs somewhere.

Tree of Cranes

Written & Illustrated by Allen Say

As a young Japanese boy recovers from a bad chill, his mother busily folds origami paper into delicate silver cranes in preparation for the boy’s very first Christmas.

Christmas in the Time of Billy Lee

Written by Jerdine Nolen & Illustrated by Barry Moser

One holiday season Ellie makes three wishes: that her parents will see that her friend Billy Lee is not imaginary; that snow will fall on Septon’s Creek for the first time in fifty years; and that joy will return–especially to her parents, who always seem worried lately. Billy Lee always says, “There is magic in believing something good with all your heart.” When Ellie begins to believe, all kinds of miracles occur, from broken tree lights twinkling again, to angel shapes appearing in snow, to the biggest one of all: a baby brother arriving soon.

The Nutcracker in Harlem

Written by T.E. McMorrow & Illustrated by James Ransome

This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season.

In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.

Chita’s Christmas Tree

Written by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard & Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Papa and Chita leave downtown Baltimore in a buggy to find a Christmas tree in the deep woods.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Written by C.C. Moore & Jayla Joseph

The classic Christmas poem. Twas the Night Before Christmas. (A Visit From St Nicholas)By Clement Clarke Moore. This is the original story featuring African American Characters.

Christmas for 10

By Cathryn Falwell

The cheerful, busy family that prepared the delectable meal in “Feast for 10” now gets ready for Christmas. A simple counting format frames all the festivities, from one star at the top of the Christmas tree to ten hands stringing popcorn, then counting once again from one wreath to ten folks wishing peace for all. There’s a special job for everyone: Grandmother reads a story, Mom bakes and her children taste, Dad and Sister wrap baskets for the needy, and everyone, even the littlest, joins together to sing carols. Inviting, cleverly patterned cut-paper illustrations complement simple rhymes as this special family make the preparations part of their Christmas celebration.

The Christmas Truck

Written by J.B. Blankenship & Illustrated by Cassandre Bolan

When celebrating a special Christmas tradition things go awry. Papa, Dad, their amazing kid, and one fabulous grandmother work together and implement a plan to save Christmas for a child they have never met.

The 12 Trains of Christmas

Written by Chrissy Bozik & Illustrated by Joe Bucco

This book is pretty simple: twelve kinds of trains presented in the style of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” song: “On the third day of Christmas Santa gave to me, three streetcars, two maglevs, and an electric train with a fir tree. Choo-choo!” It features a different train for each number and my kid loves seeing them all. I also like that it helps with ordinal numbers.

Ten Ways to Hear Snow

Written by Cathy Camper & Illustrated by Kenard Pak

One winter morning, Lina wakes up to silence. It’s the sound of snow — the kind that looks soft and glows bright in the winter sun. But as she walks to her grandmother’s house to help make the family recipe for warak enab, she continues to listen. As Lina walks past snowmen and across icy sidewalks, she discovers ten ways to pay attention to what might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

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Literally Cultured’s 2019 “12 Days of Diverse Christmas Books” Reboot!

As I plan for this year’s winter book list and blog post of diverse titles, I couldn’t help but reminisce on the books I shared from last holiday season! This upcoming 2020 list will focus on a wider array of winter holidays and traditions, whereas last year’s picks were specifically chosen for Christmas.

Tis the season for warming up with a good book…and REPRESENTATION! Enjoy!

I Got the Christmas Spirit

Written by Connie Schofield-Morrison & Illustrated by Frank Morrison

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. The little girl hears sleigh bells ringing and carolers singing. She smells chestnuts roasting–CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!–and sees the flashing lights of the department store windows–BLING! BLING! BLING! She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish–for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.

Long Ago, on a Silent Night

Written by Julie Berry & Illustrated by Annie Won

Long ago, in a dusty barn, a mother took a child in her arms, wrapped him snug, made his bed in the hay. He was her gift that Christmas Day. There’s no sweeter gift than a life so new. My best gift, little one, is you.

In this poignant and lyrical story by Printz Honor recipient Julie Berry, the miracle of Christmas and the promise in every new child come together in a luminous celebration of unconditional love and hope. With tender, incandescent illustrations by Annie Won, the wonder of the nativity story and the marvel of every baby come alive in a wholly extraordinary book for families everywhere.

Roc and Roe’s 12 Days of Christmas

Written by Nick Cannon & Illustrated by AG Ford

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey’s twins, Roc and Roe, decorate their Christmas tree with their “pip” version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

From an angel with sparkly, shiny wings to four skiing snowmen to twelve chugging choo-choos, Roc and Roe have a frolicking time getting ready for the holidays.

The Twelve Trains of Christmas

Written by Chrissy Bozik & Illustrated by Joe Bucco

This fun picture book shares twelve kinds of trains presented in the style of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” song

“On the third day of Christmas Santa gave to me, three streetcars, two maglevs, and an electric train with a fir tree. Choo-choo!”

A World of Cookies for Santa

Written by M.E. Furman & Illustrated by Susan Gal

A World of Cookies for Santa takes readers across the globe to see all the treats that await Santa on Christmas Eve. Head to the Philippines, where children leave out puto seko cookies and ginger tea for Santa; jet to Russia for a honey-spice cookie; then set out for Malawi for a sweet potato cookie! When you’ve returned home, the journey’s still not over—M. E. Furman provides recipes for children to bake some of Santa’s cookies for themselves.  
 
A World of Cookies for Santa is a multicultural celebration that families will return to year after year.
Winner of the American Book Fest Best Book Award and the Moonbeam Book Award!

Walk This World at Christmastime

Written by Big Picture Press & Illustrated by Debbie Powell

Let’s take a stroll around the world,
to all four corners of the globe.
Peek through windows, open doors,
watch as Christmastime unfolds . . .

A collection of global cultures, Walk This World at Christmastime illustrates the ways people around the world celebrate Christmas. Travel to a new set of countries with every turn of the page. Lift the numbered flaps for all the fun of an Advent calendar in a format to be read again and again.

A Very Noisy Christmas

Written by Tim Thornborough & Illustrated by Jennifer Davison

Some think that Christmas was a “Silent Night”. Far from it. It was filled with shouting, singing and screaming! It was as noisy as any of our Christmas celebrations.

This fun and fresh retelling of the Christmas story comes with sound effects so that children can join in as parents read to them. But it also shows children that at the heart of the Christmas story is something we should all be quiet and see: God’s son Jesus was born, so that we can be friends with God forever. Now that’s something worth shouting about!

Christmas Makes Me Think

Written by Tony Medina & Illustrated by Chandra Cox

The young narrator of Christmas Makes Me Think is thrilled with the holiday’s prospects: the presents he’s wishing for, the big tree he’s hoping to get, the cake he’ll bake with his grandmother. But he begins to wonder. What about the people who don’t get presents, or don’t even have a place to live? He soon realizes that he can make a difference by giving some of his presents to kids who have none. Chandra Cox’s bright collage art adds beauty to Tony Medina’s thoughtful message about community and caring.

Silent Night (The Christmas Choir)

By Lara Hawthorne

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright

Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated book, based on the world’s best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory—from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels—as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. The world’s diversity is reflected in a cast of characters with a range of skin tones. A gorgeous book for all the family to share during the festive season.

Christmas in Lagos

Written by Sharon Abimbola Salu & Illustrated by Maria Nikla

It is ten days to Christmas, and also the last day of school.  Ranti, a six year old girl who lives in the West African city of Lagos, Nigeria, sits in class and listens to her classmates describe all the exciting, far-away places they will visit during the Christmas holidays.  Many of them will travel abroad for Christmas with their families.

Ranti feels left out, and believes that her Christmas will be the most boring Christmas ever because she will be spending it in the city where she lives: Lagos.  Because there is no snow in Lagos, she won’t go ice skating or build a frosty snowman.

However, with the encouragement of her class teacher, Miss Ani, Ranti starts a Christmas journal where she details all the amazing things that take place in the city of Lagos during Christmas.  Although there is no snow in Lagos, and no tower to visit, Ranti develops a newfound appreciation for Lagos, and discovers all the exciting reasons that make Christmas in Lagos so special. 

An Angel Just Like Me

Written by Mary Hoffman & Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Haw Hu

An inspiring text and festive illustrations highlight the story of Tyler’s quest to find a Christmas tree angel who does not have golden hair and pink skin, but rather looks like him and his family, is a unique Christmas story that celebrates ethnic diversity.

Snow Globe Wishes

Written by Erin Dealey & Illustrated by Claire Shorrock

As the worst snow storm of the year rolls in, one family hunkers down together in a cozy blanket fort for the night. A little girl makes a wish on a snow globe and, in the morning, the sun rises on a winter wonderland–beckoning all outside. And what if, on this snow-filled day, families shake their busy lives and everyone goes out to play? A lyrical holiday story about wishes and community and snow–lots and lots of snow.

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A Book List for Our Youngest Citizens: Future Voters & Change-makers

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As we anxiously await Election Day 2020 there is no better time to begin addressing questions such as these with our “future voters”:

What does it mean to be a good citizen?

What does it mean to be American?

and most importantly…What really makes America great?

This curated list of texts cover a variety of topics around citizenship, equality, voting rights, presidents, etc., as well as countless trailblazers and changemakers who forged a path to a more equal and just country. With these books we encourage our youngest citizens to remain hopeful and believe in the possibility of improving so that they, and future generations, will live in a better country and world than we do now.

Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights

Written by Rob Sanders & Illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr

Protesting. Standing up for what’s right. Uniting around the common good—kids have questions about all of these things they see and hear about each day. Through sparse and lyrical writing, Rob Sanders introduces abstract concepts like “fighting for what you believe in” and turns them into something actionable. Jared Schorr’s bold, bright illustrations brings the resistance to life making it clear that one person can make a difference. And together, we can accomplish anything.

V is for Voting

Written by Kate Farrell & Illustrated by Caitlin Kuhwald

V Is for Voting is an ABC book that introduces progressive families to concepts like social justice and civil rights and reminds readers that every vote counts!

A is for active participation.
B is for building a more equal nation.
C is for citizens’ rights and our duty.
is for difference, our strength and our beauty.

An engaging introduction to the tenets of democracy, V Is for Voting is a playful, poetic, and powerful primer about the importance of voting and activism. 

The Night Before Election Day

Written by Natasha Wing & Illustrated by Amy Wummer

Wave your flags! It’s time to vote! Election Day is right around the corner in the latest big moment to be celebrated in Natasha Wing’s best-selling series.

Yes! It’s almost here. And the big question is: Who will be our next president? Will our leader be a he or a she? A young citizen gives her take on politics and Election Day in this charming story (featuring a colorful sticker sheet!), told in the style of Clement C. Moore’s holiday poem.

Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America

Written by Deborah Diesen & Illustrated by Magdalena Mora

A right isn’t right
till it’s granted to all…

The founders of the United States declared that consent of the governed was a key part of their plan for the new nation. But for many years, only white men of means were allowed to vote. This unflinching and inspiring history of voting rights looks back at the activists who answered equality’s call, working tirelessly to secure the right for all to vote, and it also looks forward to the future and the work that still needs to be done.

Vote for Our Future!

Written by Margaret McNamara & Illustrated by Micah Player

Every two years, on the first Tuesday of November, Stanton Elementary School closes for the day. For vacation? Nope! For repairs? No way! Stanton Elementary School closes so that it can transform itself into a polling station. People can come from all over to vote for the people who will make laws for the country. Sure, the Stanton Elementary School students might be too young to vote themselves, but that doesn’t mean they can’t encourage their parents, friends, and family to vote! After all, voting is how this country sees change–and by voting today, we can inspire tomorrow’s voters to change the future.

The Power Book: What is it, Who has it, and Why?

Written by Claire Saunders, Georgia Amson-Bradshaw, Minna Salami, Mik Scarlet, and Hazel Songhurst & Illustrated by Joelle Avelino, Forward by Roxanne Gay

What makes you the boss of me? What makes a king a king, or a queen a queen? Why can some people vote for their leaders, but other people can’t? Does having lots of money make you powerful? Why are there fewer female scientists, leaders, and artists than men in history books?

These are things that kids wonder about. The Power Book answers these and other questions in a relatable way for young people, including thought-provoking discussions on challenging topics, like war, bullyingracismsexism, and homophobia. You will gain an understanding of your place in your family, your school, and the world, and will discover ways in which you can use your own power to shape the future.

I Voted: Making a Choice Makes a Difference

Written by Mark Shulman & Illustrated by Serge Bloch

I Voted explains the concept of choosing, individually, and as a group, from making a simple choice: “Which do you like better, apples or oranges?”, to selecting a class pet, to even more complicated decisions, like electing community representatives.

You may not always get want you want, but there are strategies to better your odds!

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z

Written by Irene Latham & Charles Waters, Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

How can we make the world a better place? This inspiring resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a “try it” prompt for an activity.

Get Up, Stand Up

Adapted by Cedella Marley & Illustrated by John Jay Cabuay

A heartfelt and meaningful book that brings Bob Marley’s music to life in a new way: As a young girl goes on with her day in school, she comes across several instances of teasing and intimidation. But with loving action and some help from her friends, she’s able to make things right for herself and others.

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing

Written by James Weldon Johnson & Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Written by civil rights leader and poet Johnson in 1899, this anthem is sung throughout America. The song is recognized as a testimonial to the struggle and achievements of African-American people – past, present, and future. Featuring stunning, emotionally charged paintings by an award-winning illustrator, this picture book is a treasure for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

When Penny Met Potus

Written by Rachel Ruiz & Illustrated Melissa Manwill

From debut author Rachel Ruiz, When Penny Met POTUS is a unique and clever picture book about a young girl whose mother works for the president of the United States. Penny has heard the term POTUS over and over but doesn’t know what it means―and her imagination runs wild! When she spends a day at the office with her mother, she asks a few questions, looks around, and tries to discover just who―or what― POTUS is.

Americans

Written by Douglas Wood & Illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles

What really makes Americans great?

Americans are different from one another in many ways. But despite these differences, Americans share certain ways of doing and being that hold us all together. From the Fourth of July to the Bill of Rights, Douglas Wood and Elizabeth Sayles share the story of what it is to be American.

Grace for President

Written by Kelly DiPucchio & Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

“Where are the girls?” When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides she wants to be the nation’s first and immediately jumpstarts her political career by running in her school’s mock election! The race is tougher than she expected: her popular opponent declares that he’s the “best man for the job” and seems to have captured the votes of all of the class’s boys. But Grace is more determined than ever. Even if she can’t be the best man for the job, she can certainly try to be the best person!

This timely story not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system but also teaches the value of hard work, courage, independent thought — and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.

Granddaddy’s Gift

Written by Margaree King Mitchell & Illustrated by Larry Johnson

When her granddaddy becomes the first Black registered voter in their small Mississippi town, Little Joe learn about determination and courage in the face of prejudice.

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

Written by Chris Barton & Illustrated by Don Tate

John Roy Lynch spent most of his childhood as a slave in Mississippi, but all of that changed with the Emancipation Proclamation. Suddenly people like John Roy could have paying jobs and attend school. While many people in the South were unhappy with the social change, John Roy thrived in the new era. He was appointed to serve as justice of the peace and was eventually elected into the United States Congress.

Vote!

Written & Illustrated by Eileen Christelow

Eileen Christelow’s Vote! has everything you need to know about voting and how our democracy works—parties, voter registration, campaigns, rallies, debates, Election Day, even recounts! Topics are presented in a clear, kid-friendly graphic format as the story of a local election unfolds, with hilarious commentary by the candidates’ pets.

Rebel Voices: The Global Fight for Women’s Equality and the Right to Vote

Written by Eve Lloyd Knight & Illustrated by Louise Kay Stewart

A timely, beautiful and bold compendium of women around the world who said times up on inequality. Rule Breakers. Risk Takers. Rebel Women. Law Makers. This book is a celebration of women standing up, speaking out, and sticking together to battle inequality and win the vote. In January 2017, more than 3 million women around the world marched, demanding their voices be heard and their rights defended. Rebel Voices is a book about historical events, but truly for our times.

Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box

Written by Michael S. Bandy & Eric Stein, Illustrated by James E. Ransome

Based on the true story of one family’s struggle for voting rights in the civil rights–era South, this moving tale shines an emotional spotlight on a dark facet of U.S. history.

Life on the farm with Granddaddy is full of hard work, but despite all the chores, Granddaddy always makes time for play, especially fishing trips. Even when there isn’t a bite to catch, he reminds young Michael that it takes patience to get what’s coming to you. One morning, when Granddaddy heads into town in his fancy suit, Michael knows that something very special must be happening—and sure enough, everyone is lined up at the town hall! For the very first time, Granddaddy is allowed to vote, and he couldn’t be more proud. But can Michael be patient when it seems that justice just can’t come soon enough? This powerful and touching true-life story shares one boy’s perspective of growing up in the segregated South, while beautiful illustrations depict the rural setting in tender detail.

This Is America: The American Spirit in Places and People

Written by Don Robb & Illustrated by Joy Pratt

What is America? It’s the special places that remind us of important events. It’s the people who have dedicated themselves to improving our country. And most of all, it’s the ideals and beliefs that we share. Informative text and bold scratchboard illustrations pay homage to our country’s past and present.

Features a diverse collection of historical figures from science, entertainment, politics, and education.

ABC What an Informed Voter You’ll Be! 

Written by Modern Kid Press & Illustrated by Jacy Corral

In this A to Z overview of American government, children will be introduced to the structures of government, influential leaders in US history, and individual freedoms afforded to all people.

With topics ranging from the Constitution to Democracy to the Electoral College, complex subjects are simplified with engaging writing and eye-catching illustrations. Even young elementary children will be excited to learn what it means to be an American!

Small and mighty, this book will help raise up the next generation of engaged, informed, VOTING Americans prepared to exercise their democratic rights.

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan

Written by Chris Barton & Illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Even as a child growing up in the Fifth Ward of Houston, Texas, Barbara Jordan stood out for her big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice. It was a voice that made people sit up, stand up, and take notice.

So what do you do with a voice like that?

Barbara took her voice to places few African American women had been in the 1960s: first law school, then the Texas state senate, then up to the United States congress. Throughout her career, she persevered through adversity to give voice to the voiceless and to fight for civil rights, equality, and justice.

What Does It Mean to Be American?

Written by Rana DiOrio & Elad Yoran, Illustrated by Nina Mata

What does it mean to be American? Does it mean you like apple pie or fireworks? Not exactly.

This patriotic picture book is perfect for Memorial Day, Independence Day, Election Day, or any day you want to share with your child what it means to be an American. After all, Fourth of July isn’t the only time to celebrate what makes America special!

While politics seem to divide our country into the two opposing teams of red and blue, one truth remains: we are all Americans. But what does that mean?

We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders

Sixteen award-winning children’s book artists illustrate the civil rights quotations that inspire them in this stirring and beautiful book. Featuring an introduction by Harry Belafonte, words from Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. among others, this inspirational collection sets a powerful example for generations of young leaders to come. It includes illustrations by Selina Alko, Alina Chau, Lisa Congdon, Emily Hughes, Molly Idle, Juana Medina, Innosanto Nagara, Christopher Silas Neal, John Parra, Brian Pinkney, Greg Pizzoli, Sean Qualls, Dan Santat, Shadra Strickland, Melissa Sweet, and Raúl the Third.

The Teachers March!: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History

Written by Sandra Neil Wallace & Rich Wallace, Illustrated by Charly Palmer

Reverend F.D. Reese was a leader of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. As a teacher and principal, he recognized that his colleagues were viewed with great respect in the city. Could he convince them to risk their jobs–and perhaps their lives–by organizing a teachers-only march to the county courthouse to demand their right to vote? On January 22, 1965, the Black teachers left their classrooms and did just that, with Reverend Reese leading the way. Noted nonfiction authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace conducted the last interviews with Reverend Reese before his death in 2018 and interviewed several teachers and their family members in order to tell this story, which is especially important today.

Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote

Written by Veronica Chambers & The Staff of The New York Times

Who was at the forefront of women’s right to vote? We know a few famous names, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but what about so many others from diverse backgrounds—black, Asian, Latinx, Native American, and more—who helped lead the fight for suffrage? On the hundredth anniversary of the historic win for women’s rights, it’s time to celebrate the names and stories of the women whose stories have yet to be told.

How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea

Written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti & Illustrated by Ziyue Chen

From Newbery Honor medalist Susan Campbell Bartoletti and in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America comes the page-turning, stunningly illustrated, and tirelessly researched story of the little-known DC Women’s March of 1913.

Bartoletti spins a story like few others—deftly taking readers by the hand and introducing them to suffragists Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. Paul and Burns met in a London jail and fought their way through hunger strikes, jail time, and much more to win a long, difficult victory for America and its women.

Citizen Baby: My Vote

Written by Megan E. Bryant & Daniel Prosterman, Illustrated by Micah Player

Citizen Baby knows a thing or two about voting. It’s important to meet the candidates (they love babies!) and to call voters. Plus, you get a sticker at the polls! Children and adults alike will enjoy learning about voting in this adorable, informative board book.

Citizen Baby: My President

Written by Megan E. Bryant & Daniel Prosterman, Illustrated by Micah Player

What does the president do all day? Citizen Baby knows! Learn all about the most powerful person in the world from the most powerful person in the household. Children and adults alike will enjoy learning about the presidency in this adorable, informative board book.

We Came to America

Written & Illustrated by Faith Ringgold

From the Native Americans who first called this land their home, to the millions of people who have flocked to its shores ever since, America is a country rich in diversity. Some of our ancestors were driven by dreams and hope. Others came in chains, or were escaping poverty or persecution. No matter what brought them here, each person embodied a unique gift—their art and music, their determination and grit, their stories and their culture. And together they forever shaped the country we all call home. Vividly expressed in Faith Ringgold’s sumptuous colors and patterns, We Came to America is an ode to every American who came before us, and a tribute to each child who will carry its proud message of diversity into our nation’s future.

Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker 

Written by Patricia Hruby & Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

“What do you hope to accomplish?” asked Ella Baker’s granddaddy when she was still a child.
Her mother provided the answer: “Lift as you climb.”

Long before the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, Ella Baker worked to lift others up by fighting racial injustice and empowering poor African Americans to stand up for their rights. Her dedication and grassroots work in many communities made her a valuable ally for leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and she has been ranked as one of the most influential women in the civil rights movement. In the 1960s she worked to register voters and organize sit-ins, and she became a teacher and mentor to many young activists.

When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times

Written & Illustrated by Maya Gonzalez

Bullying is real, but we can change the story by changing the focus. Begin with yourself. Begin the journey of art activist. You are the artist. You are the storyteller. Change yourself. Change the world!

The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents

Written by Kate Messner & Illustrated by Adam Rex

Who will be the NEXT president? Could it be you? When George Washington became the first president of the United States, there were nine future presidents already alive in America, doing things like practicing law or studying medicine.

When JFK became the thirty-fifth president, there were 10 future presidents already alive in America, doing things like hosting TV shows and learning the saxophone.

And right now—today!—there are at least 10 future presidents alive in America. They could be playing basketball, like Barack Obama, or helping in the garden, like Dwight D. Eisenhower. They could be solving math problems or reading books. They could be making art—or already making change.

Her Right Foot

Written by Dave Eggers & Illustrated by Shawn Harris

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty. Have you seen her?

She’s in New York.
She’s holding a torch.
And she’s in mid-stride, moving forward.
But why?

In this fascinating and fun take on nonfiction for kids, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential of an entire country’s creation.

What Can A Citizen Do?

Written by Dave Eggers & Illustrated by Shawn Harris

This is a book about what citizenship—good citizenship—means to you, and to us all: Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but ultimately connected actions by different children, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community—and watch a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

Written by Barack Obama & Illustrated by Loren Long

In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

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35 Diverse & Inclusive Books for ‘Back to School’

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Hello Literally Cultured Readers!

Wow! I can’t believe a new school year is upon us, and whether a teacher, parent, or a caregiver — will be one that will surely be different than we have ever experienced before. I myself am gearing up for returning to school as full-time online teacher. Among the myriad of concerns I have, probably the biggest one is how to effectively build an online classroom community.

While building community was at the forefront of my mind in curating this list, as you know, representation and diversity in my picture book selections has always been my top priority. I kept these two goals in mind when selecting the books on this list. Even as a 4th grade teacher, picture book read alouds are a MUST. I am always looking for new or new (to me) titles that will resonate with my students and my own children — and in this case, that touch upon important social situations, emotions, feelings, and interactions within the school setting. Additionally, because many teachers like myself will not be in a brick and mortar classroom, I have included online versions of the texts that are available to read for free (for educators) on Epic.com. Click on the Epic logo when you see it to be redirected to the book on the website.

Still want more? Check out my “Back to School” book list from 2019 here!

Thank you for continuing to explore my book recommendations and I hope you have a safe and fun start to the school year!

Happy Reading,

Shannon

All Welcome Here

Written by James Preller & Illustrated by Mary GrandPre

The bus door swishes
Open, an invitation.
Someone is not sure . . .

The first day of school and all its excitement, challenges, and yes, anxieties, are celebrated here in connected haiku poems. A diverse cast of characters all start―and finish―their first days of school, and have experiences that all children will relate to.

ABC Ready for School: An Alphabet of Social Skills

Written by Celeste Delaney & Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

C is for cooperate. G is for grow. P is for play! This friendly and reassuring alphabet book helps young children (and those who care for them) consider, explore, and discuss a wide range of skills related to school readiness. Kids preparing for kindergarten or preK will learn social skills from A to Z, building or reinforcing their knowledge of the alphabet at the same time. Charming art brings the skills to life with encouraging scenes of fun and learning in the classroom, on the playground, and more. A special section for adults presents ideas for helping children get ready for this big change and have a successful start to school.

Grandmother School

Written by Rina Singh & Illustrated by Ellen Rooney

Every morning, a young girl walks her grandmother to the Aajibaichi Shala, the school that was built for the grandmothers in her village to have a place to learn to read and write. The narrator beams with pride as she drops her grandmother off with the other aajis to practice the alphabet and learn simple arithmetic. A moving story about family, women and the power of education―when Aaji learns to spell her name you’ll want to dance along with her. Based on a true story from the village of Phangane, India, this brilliantly illustrated book tells the story of the grandmothers who got to go to school for the first time in their lives.

When Charley Met Emma

Written by Amy Webb & Illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard

When Charley goes to the playground and sees Emma, a girl with limb differences who gets around in a wheelchair, he doesn’t know how to react at first. But after he and Emma start talking, he learns that different isn’t bad, sad, or strange–different is just different, and different is great!

This delightful book will help kids think about disability, kindness, and how to behave when they meet someone who is different from them.

Butterflies on the First Day of School

Written by Annie Silvestro & Illustrated by Dream Chen

Rosie can’t wait to start kindergarten—she’s had her pencils sharpened and her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, on the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly, and she’ll feel better soon. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she says hello to a new friend on the bus, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! As the day goes on, Rosie frees all her butterflies, and even helps another shy student let go of hers, too.

Danbi Leads the School Parade

Written & Illustrated by Anna Kim

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.

I Am Because I Choose

Written by Patrice McLaurin & Illustrated by Dian Wang

I Am Because I Choose is an engaging picture book that encourages children to embrace their most amazing SUPERPOWER which is their power to CHOOSE! Each page demonstrates how children can become whatever it is that they choose to be while highlighting the positive consequences that can result from making good choices! The book is also a wonderful Social Emotional Learning tool that can be easily used to help facilitate the core competencies of SEL. It fosters an understanding of the important connection between behavior and personal choice, thus promoting self-awareness, which consequently results in better decision making. Furthermore, it emboldens children with the knowledge that they get to choose how they behave and empowers them by allowing for ownership of their choices. This will ultimately work to assist children in eliminating the urge to blame others for what it is that they choose to do. 

a kids book about bullying

Written by Elizabeth Tom

Sometimes kids can be mean. Really mean. While sticks and stones might break some bones, words will always hurt more.  This book explores how hard bullying can be and how complicated it can be to call it what it is when it’s happening.  

Our Class is a Family

Written by Shannon Olsen & Illustrated by Sandie Sonke

Teachers do so much more than just teach academics. They build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe, included, and loved.

With its heartfelt message and colorfully whimsical illustrations, “Our Class is a Family” is a book that will help build and strengthen that class community. Kids learn that their classroom is a place where it’s safe to be themselves, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to be a friend to others. When hearing this story being read aloud by their teacher, students are sure to feel like they are part of a special family.

I Promise

Written by LeBron James & Illustrated by Nina Mata

Just a kid from Akron, Ohio, who is dedicated to uplifting youth everywhere, LeBron James knows the key to a better future is to excel in school, do your best, and keep your family close.

I Promise is a lively and inspiring picture book that reminds us that tomorrow’s success starts with the promises we make to ourselves and our community today.

Where’s Rodney?

Written by Carmen Bogan & Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Rodney is that kid who just can’t sit still. He’s inside, but he wants to be outside. Outside is where Rodney always wants to be. Between school and home, there is a park. He knows all about that park. It’s that triangle-shaped place with the yellow grass and two benches where grown-ups sit around all day. Besides, his momma said to stay away from that park. When Rodney finally gets a chance to go to a real park, with plenty of room to run and climb and shout, and to just be himself, he will never be the same.

I’m Gonna Push Through!

Written by Jasmyn Wright & Illustrated by Shannon Wright

Hold your head high. No matter what stands in the way of your dreams, remember this: YOU can push through anything!
If someone tells you it’s too hard, don’t you 
ever listen. You tell them, “I’m gonna push through!”

Inspired by a mantra written for her third-grade students, Jasmyn Wright’s uplifting call to “push through” is an invitation to young readers to announce their own power and to recognize and reaffirm that of others, regardless of setbacks. Her empowering words not only lift children up, but show them how to lift themselves up and seize their potential.

Your Name is a Song

Written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow & Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl’s mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class. Your Name is a Song is a celebration to remind all of us about the beauty, history, and magic behind names.

My Name is Bilal

Written by  Asma Mobin-Uddin MD M.D. & Illustrated by Barbara Kiwak

When Bilal and his sister Ayesha move with their family, they have to attend a new school. They soon find out that they may be the only Muslim students there. When Bilal sees his sister bullied on their first day, he worries about being teased himself, and thinks it might be best if his classmates didn’t know that he is Muslim. Maybe if he tells kids his name is Bill, rather than Bilal, then they would leave him alone. Mr. Ali, one of Bilal’s teachers and also Muslim, sees how Bilal is struggling. He gives Bilal a book about the first person to give the call to prayer during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. That person was another Bilal: Bilal Ibn Rabah. What Bilal learns from the book forms the compelling story of a young boy grappling with his identity.

S is for School

by Greg Paprocki

An ABC primer that introduces your brilliant baby to what to expect when they’re ready to go to school.

Lots of kids look forward to going back to school each fall. This collection of 26 illustrations featuring words from A to Z will introduce toddlers to what all the fuss is about in a unique and engaging way. Included are artist Greg Paprocki’s colorful and wonderfully detailed illustrations that bring to life concepts from the school bus to the classroom, including activities, school subjects, friends, classmates, and teachers.

Oopsie-Do!

Written by Tim Kubart & Illustrated by Lori Richmond

From Grammy Award–winning musician and TV host Tim Kubart and illustrator Lori Richmond comes a lively picture book debut that reassures children that it’s okay to make mistakes!

When a girl drops her snack or scrapes her knee, does she get upset? No! She says, “Oopsie-do!” Readers will delight as they follow along and call out the OOPSIE-DO! refrain throughout the story.

Goodbye Brings Hello

Written by Dianne White & Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

There are many ways of letting go. 
With each goodbye, a new hello.

From being pushed on a swing to learning how to pump your legs yourself, from riding a beloved trike to mastering your first bike ride, from leaving the comforts of home behind to venturing forth on that first day of school, milestones are exciting but hard. They mean having to say goodbye to one moment in order to welcome the next.   
  

The Unicorn Came to Dinner

Written by Lauren DeStefano & Illustrated by Gaia Cornwall

The unicorn smells nice, but she is very rude. She never waits for an invitation to come over―she walks right in and tracks heart-shaped hoof-prints across the carpet. She sits in Elizabeth’s chair and makes a complete mess of the house. She even sleeps in Elizabeth’s bed.

But the unicorn is no ordinary unicorn . . .

In The Unicorn Came to Dinner, author Lauren DeStefano and illustrator Gaia Cornwall invite parents and their kids to talk about feelings―especially worries and anxiety―and ultimately about how to be yourself.

All Are Welcome

Written by Alexandra Penfold & Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

Discover a school where—no matter what—young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.

a kids book about belonging

Written by Kevin Carroll

This is a book about belonging. It tackles what it’s like when you feel like you belong to a group or family or team and what it’s like when you don’t. It addresses what it feels like when you don’t fit in, or when others don’t want you around. This book teaches kids how to belong to themselves and how that helps them belong anywhere.

Fun and Games: Everyday Play

Written by Celeste Cortwright & Illustrated by Sophie Fatus

Follow a diverse group of children as they enjoy their favorite games! Readers can delight in familiar play like hide-and-seek to more unusual activities like tangrams, all while learning about the importance of taking turns and participating. Includes educational endnotes about the cultural origins of the featured games and toys.

From Far Away

Written by Robert Munsch & Saoussan Askar, Illustrated by Rebecca Green

When Saoussan immigrated with her family from war-torn Lebanon, she was only seven years old. This picture book tells the story of how she had to adjust to her new home in Canada. She describes the frustration of not understanding the teacher when she started school, not knowing how to ask to go to the bathroom, and being terrified of a Halloween skeleton. This is the perfect book to help kids empathize with immigrant children whose experiences are very similar to Saoussan’s.

The Honest-to-Goodness Truth

Written by Patricia C. McKissack & Illustrated by Giselle Potter

If telling the truth is the right thing to do, why is the whole world mad at Libby?

“Tell the truth and shame the devil,” Libby’s mama has told her. So whatever is Libby doing wrong? Ever since she started telling only the truth, the whole world seems to be mad at her. First it’s her best friend, Ruthie Mae, who gets upset when Libby tells all their friends that Ruthie Mae has a hole in her sock. Then Willie gives her an ugly look when she tells the teacher he hasn’t done his homework. It seems that telling the truth isn’t always so simple.

Be Kind

Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & Illustrated by Jen Hill

When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering: What does it mean to be kind?

From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.

With a gentle text from the award-winning author of Sophie’s Squash, Pat Zietlow Miller, and irresistible art from Jen Hill, Be Kind is an unforgettable story about how two simple words can change the world.

The Day You Begin

Written by Jacqueline Woodson & Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Book or Bell?: The Story of a boy, a great book, and a loud bell

Written by Chris Barton & Illustrated by Ashley Spires

The first page has Henry hooked. The second page has him captivated. The third page . . .

BBBBRRRRIIIIINNNNNGGGGG! . . . will have to wait. That is, unless Henry ignores the bell, stays put, and keeps on reading the most awesome book.

By not springing up with the ringing of the bell, Henry sets off a chain reaction unlike anything his school or town has ever seen. Luckily, Mayor Wise, Governor Bright, and Senator Brilliant know exactly what the situation calls for: A louder bell. MUCH louder.

My Panda Sweater

Written by Gilles Baum & Illustrated by Barroux

A quirky kid doesn’t mind too much when classmates tease her for dancing in her beloved sweater with panda ears. When she outgrows the sweater and donates it, she starts to think about the stories behind the clothing she sees. When she sees her panda sweater again, this time being worn by a new classmate who recently moved to town looking for a safer place to live, she knows she’s found a new dance partner. Brought to life by sweet, quirky artwork by beloved French illustrator Barroux, this timely story addresses difficult topics, such as immigration, with a light, engaging and child-friendly approach. It also offers the perfect opportunity to start conversations about a wide range of important subjects for social-emotional growth: bullying, friendship, sharing, new experiences and self-confidence.

Our Favorite Day of the Year

Written by A.E. Ali & Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell

Musa’s feeling nervous about his first day of school. He’s not used to being away from home and he doesn’t know any of the other kids in his class. And when he meets classmates Moisés, Mo, and Kevin, Musa isn’t sure they’ll have much in common. But over the course of the year, the four boys learn more about each other, the holidays they celebrate, their favorite foods, and what they like about school. The more they share with each other, the closer they become, until Musa can’t imagine any better friends.

Greetings, Leroy

Written by Itah Sadu & Illustrated by Alix Delinois

The first day at a new school is nerve-wracking enough, never mind when it’s in a new country! In this lively picture book from award-winning storyteller Itah Sadu, Roy realizes he may come to love his new home as much as he loves his old home.

Rulers of the Playground

Written & Illustrated by Joseph Kuefler

One morning, Jonah decided to become ruler of the playground.

Everyone agreed to obey his rules to play in King Jonah’s kingdom . . .

Everyone except for Lennox . . . because she wanted to rule the playground, too.

I Got the School Spirit

Written by Connie Schofield-Morrison & Illustrated by Frank Morrison

Summer is over, and this little girl has got the school spirit! She hears the school spirit in the bus driving up the street–VROOM, VROOM!–and in the bell sounding in the halls–RING-A-DING! She sings the school spirit in class with her friends–ABC, 123!

The school spirit helps us all strive and grow. What will you learn today?

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices

Written by Sally Derby & Illustrated by Mika Song

In a unique narrative, readers meet a diverse group of six children ranging in age from Kindergarten through fifth grade. With nerves and excitement each child gears up for a new school year by hustling in the morning, meeting new teachers and new classmates during the day, and heading home with homework and relief by day’s end.

Simple, bright illustrations focus on each child and his/her worries, hopes, and successes on the first day of school.

David Jumps In

Written by Alan Woo & Illustrated by Katty Maurey

This lyrical tale, written in simple free verse, tells how a game with roots in ancient China — called elastic skip in this story — helps a boy find his footing on his first day at a new school.

It is David’s first day at his brand-new school. He doesn’t know anyone. At recess, he stands alone and watches the other children enjoying their activities on the playground, from practicing soccer moves and climbing monkey bars to playing hopscotch and daydreaming in the grass. Bundled deep inside David’s pocket is a string of rubber bands, knotted and ready for a game of elastic skip. But will anyone want to try that game? he wonders. Will anyone want to play with him?

Ruby’s Walk to School

Written by Kathryn White & Illustrated by Miriam Latimer

It’s Ruby’s first day at school, and it feels like there are beasts lurking around every corner! How will Mom help her find her courage? Ruby and Mom’s adventures open the door for caregivers to ask children about their anxieties about new experiences.

Lola Goes to School

Written by Anna McQuinn & Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Lola and her family prepare for the first day of school the night before, then get up early, take pictures, and head to class. Lola puts her things in her cubby, chooses her activities, reads, plays, and has a snack. Before she knows it, it’s time to sing the good-bye song and rush into Mommy’s arms for a warm reunion. A comforting, cheerful read that demystifies the school day for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

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Multiracial Representation: Books highlighting interracial families & the biracial experience

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At this point I’m sure that it is no secret that I am a momma of three biracial (black and white) boys, and am constantly looking for books that they can connect to. The following selection of picture books directly accomplishes one of the following:

  1. biracial and/or multiracial identity and addressing the concept of race
  2. books that depict multiracial and interracial families as characters within typical children’s book narratives

Not only is it important for my sons to see themselves in the books they read but it is also equally important for their non-biracial counterparts and peers. All children should have access to books that don’t depict BIPOC characters as a monolith or in stereotypical narratives. These books are great starting points for conversation with young children inside and outside the classroom, helping to foster understanding, acceptance, and eventually celebration of those that are different than themselves.

Mixed Me!

Written by Taye Diggs & Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Mom and Dad say I’m a blend of dark and light:
“We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.”

Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! His parents love him. And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them.

Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

I’m Mixed!

Written by Maggy Williams & Illustrated by Elizabeth Hasegawa Agresta

Growing up as a biracial child, Maggy Williams had three options: she could identify as black, white, or mixed. She chose to embrace her multiracial heritage because she was taught that she could. Her hope is that this book will help children to realize that it is possible to integrate their multiple racial identities.

black is brown is tan

Written by Arnold Adoff & Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Brown-skinned mama, the color of chocolate milk and pumpkin pie. White-skinned daddy, not the color of milk or snow, but light with pinks and tiny tans. And their two children, the beautiful colors of both.

For an all-American family, full of joy, warmth, and love, this is the way it is for us / this is the way we are

When it was first published in 1973, black is brown is tan featured the first interracial family in children’s books. Decades later, Arnold Adoff’s and Emily Arnold McCully’s picture book continues to offer a joyous and loving celebration of all the colors of the race, now newly embellished with bright watercolor paintings that depict a contemporary family of the twenty-first century.

Me and My Family Tree

Written by Joan Sweeney & Illustrated by Emma Trithart

Who is part of your family? How are they related to you? 

In this edition of Me and My Family Tree, with new art by Emma Trithart, a young girl uses simple language, her own childlike drawings, and diagrams to explain how the members of her family are related to each other and to her. Clear, colorful, detailed artwork and a fill-in family tree in the back help make the parts of the family–from siblings to grandparents to cousins–understandable to very young readers.

Mixed: A Colorful Story

Written & Illustrated by Arree Chung

In the beginning, there were three colors . . .

Reds,

Yellows,

and Blues.

All special in their own ways, all living in harmony―until one day, a Red says “Reds are the best!” and starts a color kerfuffle. When the colors decide to separate, is there anything that can change their minds?

A Yellow, a Blue, and a never-before-seen color might just save the day in this inspiring book about color, tolerance, and embracing differences.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match: Marisol McDonald no combina

Written by Monica Brown & Illustrated by Sara Palacios

My name is Marisol McDonald, and I don’t match. At least, that’s what everyone tells me.

Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. And don’t even think of asking her to choose one or the other activity at recess—she’ll just be a soccer playing pirate princess, thank you very much. To Marisol McDonald, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together.

Unfortunately, they don’t always make sense to everyone else. Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol—can’t she just be one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her.

I Am Mixed (I Am Book)

Written by Garcelle Beauvais & Sebastian Jones & Illustrated by James C. Webster

Jay and Nia are the children of two worlds, and as they will discover, they can enjoy the best of both. From Mommy’s jazz beats to Daddy’s classical piano, we will dance with the twins through a book that explores what it is to be of mixed ancestry, proving that a child is more than the sum of their parents.

Spork

Written by Kyo Maclear & Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

When you’re a little bit spoon and little bit fork, where do you go when the table is set? A funny “multi-cutlery” tale for everyone who has ever wondered about their place in the world.

Spork is neither spoon nor fork but, rather, a bit of both. His (spoon) mother and (fork) father think he’s perfect just the way he is. Only, Spork stands out. All the other cutlery belongs with those like themselves, and they all have a specific purpose. Spork tries fitting in with the spoons, and then with the forks, but he isn’t quite enough like either. Instead, he watches from the drawer at dinnertime as the others get to play with the food and then enjoy a nice warm bath in the sink. But one morning, a “messy thing” arrives. A thing that has obviously never heard of cutlery customs or table manners. Will Spork finally find his place at the table?

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

Written by Selina Alko & Illustrated by Sean Qualls

For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v. Virginia.

This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state’s laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents’ love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court – and won!

Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids

Words & Art by Kip Fulbeck

From beloved writer and artist Kip Fulbeck, author of Part Asian, 100% Hapa, this timely collection of portraits celebrates the faces and voices of mixed-race children. At a time when 7 million people in the U.S. alone identify as belonging to more than one race, interest in issues of multiracial identity is rapidly growing. Overflowing with uplifting elements—including charming images, handwritten statements from the children, first-person text from their parents, a foreword by Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng (President Obama’s sister), and an afterword by international star Cher (who is part Cherokee)—this volume is an inspiring vision of the future.

Lulu the One and Only

Written by Lynnette Mawhinney & Illustrated by Jennie Poh

Lulu loves her family, but people are always asking: What are you?

Lulu hates that question. Her brother inspires her to come up with a power phrase so she can easily express who she is, not what she is.  

Includes a note from the author, sharing her experience as the only biracial person in her family and advice for navigating the complexity of when both parents do not share the same racial identity as their children.

Maisie’s Scrapbook

Written by Samuel Narh & Illustrated by Jo Loring-Fisher

As the seasons turn, Maisie rides her bull in and out of Dada’s tall tales. Her Mama wears linen and plays the viola. Her Dada wears kente cloth and plays the marimba.They come from different places, but they hug her in the same way. And most of all, they love her just the same. A joyful celebration of a mixed-race family and the love that binds us all together.

Two Mrs. Gibsons

Written by Toyomi Igus & Illustrated by Daryl Wells

Two Mrs. Gibsons is author Toyomi Igus’s tender and touching tribute to the two most important women in her life, her Japanese mother and her African-American grandmother. In it, Toyomi celebrates the richness of growing up biracial. From her grandmother’s big bear hugs to her mother’s light caresses, from playing with her grandmother’s fancy Sunday-meetin’ hats to trying on her mother’s kimono, the author conveys the warmth of these special relationships.

Black White, Just Right!

Written by Marguerite W. Davol & Illustrated by Irene Trivas

This simple story celebrates how the differences between one mother and father blend to make the perfect combination in their daughter. As this little family moves through the world, the girl notes some of the ways that her parents are different from each other, and how she is different from both of them. With each difference she lists, she highlights the ways that their individual characteristics join together to make her family. The fact that her mother is African American and her father is white is just one of the many interesting things that make this little girl and her family “just right.”

An African Princess

Written by Lyra Edmonds & Illustrated by Anne Wilson

I walk tall and say, “I’m Lyra. I’m an African princess. That’s me.”

Lyra’s mama tells her that she’s a princess from Africa. But at school the kids poke fun and call her silly. How many African princesses have freckles and live on the tenth floor? But on a visit to the Caribbean, Lyra meets her Taunte May, who shows Lyra how she is one in a long line of princesses from Africa. Based on author Lyra Edmonds’s own life and beautifully illustrated with Anne Wilson’s richly textured art, this is the wonderful story of a child who learns to be proud of who she is.

I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother

Written & Illustrated by Selina Alko

In this delightfully engaging picture book, our narrator, big brother, uses his boundless imagination to wonder what his new sibling will look like.

Baby brother or sister, will you look like me? I blend from semisweet dark
Daddy chocolate bar and strawberry cream Mama’s milk.
My hair is soft crunchy billows of cotton candy.
I’m your peanut butter big-brother-to-be.

Selina Alko’s lyrical and jazz-like text, matched with the vibrant energy of her illustrations, perfectly captures the excitement of a new baby for an older sibling, while celebrating the genuine love of family.

Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color

Written by Monique Fields & Illustrated by Yesenia Moises

A young biracial girl looks around her world for her color. She finally chooses her own, and creates a new word for herself―honeysmoke.

Simone wants a color.

She asks Mama, “Am I black or white?”

“Boo,” Mama says, just like mamas do, “a color is just a word.”

She asks Daddy, “Am I black or white?”

“Well,” Daddy says, just like daddies do, “you’re a little bit of both.”

For multiracial children, and all children everywhere, this picture book offers a universal message that empowers young people to create their own self-identity.

Real Sisters Pretend

Written by Megan Dowd Lambert & Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

This warm, engaging story, which unfolds entirely through the conversation of two adopted sisters, was inspired by the author’s own daughters, whom she overheard talking about how adoption made them “real sisters” even though they have different birth parents and do not look alike.

Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family

Written by Carrie Lara & Illustrated by Christine Battuz

The world is full of different colors…hundreds of colors, everywhere.
People are different colors too. Our colors make us beautiful and unique.
Mommy says it is part of our culture and the big word diversity — diversidad.

Marvelous Maravilloso follows a young girl as she finds joy in the colors of the world all around her. Her vantage point is particularly special as she comes from a bi-cultural family, and is able to appreciate the differences between her parents, as well as her own unique and beautiful color. As she is coming into her own identity and exploring what this means for her, she comes to appreciate how all families are uniquely beautiful.

Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers about celebrating the different kinds of people and families there are in the world.

The Heart of Mi Familia

Written by Carrie Lara & Illustrated by Christine Battuz

Follow a young girl as she works with her abuela and her grandma to create a wonderful birthday present for her brother that celebrates her multicultural family and honors both sides and generations of her family. This follow up to the award winning Marvelous Maravilliso: Me and My Beautiful Family is a must-read for all families.

French Toast

Written by Kari-Lynn Winters & Illustrated by Francois Thisdale

Phoebe―half Jamaican, half French-Canadian―hates her school nickname of “French Toast.” So she is mortified when, out on a walk with her Jamaican grandmother, she hears a classmate shout it out at her. To make things worse, Nan-Ma, who is blind, wants an explanation of the name. How can Phoebe describe the color of her skin to someone who has never seen it? “Like tea, after you’ve added the milk,” she says. And her father? “Like warm banana bread.” And Nan-Ma herself? She is like maple syrup poured over…well…

In French Toast, Kari-Lynn Winters uses descriptions of favorite foods from both of Phoebe’s cultures to celebrate the varied skin tones of her family. François Thisdale’s imaginative illustrations fill the landscape with whimsy and mouthwatering delight as Phoebe realizes her own resilience and takes ownership of her nickname proudly.

“Daddy Why Am I Brown?”: A healthy conversation about skin color and family

Written by Bedford Palmer & Illustrated by Winda Mulyasari

Joy lives in a diverse world and comes from a multicultural family. It is only natural for her to have some questions. Join Joy as she learns how to describe skin color, and about how her skin color can tell her about where her family is from, but not really about who they are. “Daddy Why Am I Brown?” is meant to be a starter conversation on how kids can learn to talk about skin color in a way that is kind, thoughtful, and healthy. And in the process, they learn a little bit about how to understand the difference between race, ethnicity, and culture.

Biracial, Multiracial & Interracial Representation in Picture Books

Oscar’s Half Birthday

Written & Illustrated by Bob Graham

Oscar is six months old today, but the truth is that no one can wait for his whole birthday. So there’s nothing else for Mom and Dad to do but pack some sandwiches, park Oscar in his stroller, and take older sister Millie — handmade fairy wings attached — to the “half country” of their urban park for a half-birthday party. As always in the warm, quirky world of Bob Graham, the joy is in the details — a stop in a graffitied tunnel as the train rushes overhead; the expressions on Oscar’s face as he watches a single leaf fall; the little half candle on his cake; and the impromptu gathering of admiring park visitors who join, one by one, in the hearty birthday song. With his jaunty watercolors full of charming surprises and a gently humorous text, Bob Graham creates an endearing, unconventional family readers will be happy to meet, and they’ll be tickled to join in their celebration.

Ten Tiny Tickles

Written & Illustrated by Karen Katz

From one tiny tickle on a lovely little head to ten twirling tickles on tender tubby toes, this book counts up the number of tickles each member of the family gives from one to ten! This charming Karen Katz board book with a counting concept is perfect for sharing with even the youngest readers!

Fussy Freya

Written by Katharine Quarmby & Illustrated by Piet Grobler

The old Freya loved nothing more than a delicious meal. The new one has suddenly decided that food is not nice and that she won’t take a single bite that night, or the next night, or the next! Before long, Mum and Dad are at their wits’ end. But Grandma and Grandpa have seen the problem before, and they may hold the key to changing the stubborn little girl’s mind. Fussy Freya uses a whimsical narrative and charming illustrations to explore a common childhood problem. In the process, it sensitively depicts a multicultural family and its cuisine, showcasing both parents’ and grandparents’ relationships with a child.

Shopping with Dad

Written by Matt Harvey & Illustrated by Miriam Latimer

It’s Saturday, and one small girl and her Dad are heading for the supermarket while Mom is working. It’s so exciting! How can she contain herself? She tries but she can’t! An enormous sneeze sets in motion a small calamity, and Dad gets the blame. But when his daughter speaks up and takes responsibility for her actions, the mood changes… Fast-paced, funny with a simple, uplifting message, this playful rhyming read-aloud is guaranteed to have you laughing out loud!

Cinnamon Baby

Written by Nicola Winstanley & Illustrated by Janice Nadeau

A contemporary fable about a magical remedy for a baby who won’t stop crying. Miriam is a baker whose bread is full of smells to make your nose twitch and tastes to make your tongue tingle. Miriam’s own favorite cinnamon bread so delights Sebastian, a musician who enters her shop, that he buys it every day for a year and then asks her to marry him. After a baby is born to the happy couple, all is blissful until their bundle of joy begins crying. And crying. Only when the two are almost at wit’s end does Miriam suddenly know, looking down at her baby curled up like a little raisin, exactly what she must do. A celebration of the bond between mother and child and an ode to the power of our senses, each delectable word and image of this beautifully told and illustrated story will be savored.

Twenty Yawns

Written by Jane Smiley & Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

As her mom reads a bedtime story, Lucy drifts off. But later, she awakens in a dark, still room, and everything looks mysterious. How will she ever get back to sleep?

Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley’s first picture book, illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Lauren Castillo, evokes the splashy fun of the beach and the quietude of a moonlit night, with twenty yawns sprinkled in for children to discover and count.

Anna Hibiscus’ Song

Written by Atinuke & Illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Anna Hibiscus is so filled with happiness that she feels like she might float away. And the more she talks to her mother and father and grandfather and grandmother and aunties and cousins about it, the more her happiness grows! There’s only one thing to do…Sing!

Blackout

Written & Illustrated by John Rocco

One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, “Mommm!” His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can’t work on her computer, and Dad can’t finish cooking dinner. What’s a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights–in stars that can be seen for a change–and so many neighbors it’s like a block party in the sky! On the street below, people are having just as much fun–talking, rollerblading, and eating ice cream before it melts. The boy and his family enjoy being not so busy for once. They even have time to play a board game together. When the electricity is restored, everything can go back to normal . . . but not everyone likes normal. The boy switches off the lights, and out comes the board game again.

Bringing Asha Home

Written by Uma Krishnaswami & Illustrated by Jamel Akib

It’s Rakhi, the Hindu holiday special to brothers and sisters, and Arun wishes he had a sister with whom to celebrate. Soon it looks as if his wish will come true. His parents are going to adopt a baby girl named Asha. She is coming all the way from India, where Arun’s dad was born.The family prepares for Asha’s arrival, not knowing it will be almost a year until they receive governmental approval to bring Asha home. Arun is impatient and struggles to accept the long delay, but as time passes he finds his own special ways to build a bond with his sister, who is still halfway around the world.With warmth and honesty, this tender story taps into the feelings of longing, love and joy that adoption brings to many families. Readers will find reassurance knowing there is more than one way to become part of a loving family.

A Most Unusual Day

Written by Sydra Mallery & Illustrated by E.B. Goodale

Today is a very unusual day! Caroline wakes up late, forgets her socks, and feels strange all the way to school. She tries to help her teacher, but everything is mixed up today and all Caroline manages to do is make a great big mess. Finally, the school day ends and Caroline rushes outside to greet her parents, who are having a rather extraordinary day themselves. In their arms they hold Caroline’s new baby sister, who has just arrived from far away.

Sydra Mallery’s debut picture book is a loving celebration of family, adoption, and sisters. Exquisitely realized by the acclaimed illustrator E. B. Goodale, this charming adoption story is perfect for anyone welcoming a new brother or sister into the family.

Teddy’s Favorite Toy

Written by Christian Trimmer & Illustrated by Madeline Valentine

A mom goes to great lengths to rescue her son’s favorite doll in this delightful tribute to treasured toys—and mothers.

Teddy has a lot of cool toys. But his very favorite doll has the best manners, the sickest fighting skills, and a fierce sense of style.

Then one morning, something truly awful happens. And there’s only one woman fierce enough to save the day. Can Teddy’s mom reunite Teddy with his favorite toy?

Life with My Family

Written by Renee Hooker and Karl Jones & Illustrated by Kathryn Durst

When a young girl gets frustrated with her chaotic life at home, she imagines what things would be like if her family were animals instead. Would life be better as a pod of pelicans, a pride of lions, or a herd of buffalo? Or is it ultimately a family of humans that she needs? In this beautifully illustrated book, young readers learn the names for groups of animals through a sweet, whimsical narrative that focuses on the importance of family.

Forever Rhen: A Story About Divorce

Written by Sandra Athans & Illustrated by John Joseph

Rhen’s parents are getting a divorce, and Rhen worries about the change. Find out what changes and what stays the same.

Our World is Whole

Written by Gail Bush & Illustrated by Jennie Poh

One little girl knows that our world is whole because the connections between us all makes it so–from the family cat to the chatty neighbor to Mom and Dad and cousin Jerry. Our World is Whole is a lyrical meditation on mindfulness that celebrates interconnectedness and the ways we support one another and keep our world whole and spinning.

Here and There

Written by Tamara Ellis Smith & Illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi

Can you hear the music all around you? In this touching picture book, Ivan finds healing and hope in nature’s music and beauty while experiencing the early stages of his parents’ separation. When he realizes that birds sing their enchanting songs both here at his mom’s house and there at his dad’s house, Ivan takes his first step toward finding the freedom and joy to sing along, whether he’s here or there. This tale of personal growth will provide a much-needed mirror for children in times of change — and an important reminder for all that there’s beauty everywhere you look.

The Good Dog

Written & Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld

When a puppy in need of a friend follows a kind girl into town, he lands himself into all sorts of trouble. He gets lost. He’s nearly run over. And he gets chased out of a bakery for being a “bad dog.”

But when the pup and the girl reunite in the park and she leaves behind her favorite doll, the puppy has a chance to prove just what a good dog he really is!

Peace & Love, Shannon

Book List: It’s Never Too Early to Introduce Diversity & Activism into Your Home Library

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This curated book list is targeted towards our littlest readers. These book picks are full of diverse, positive messages and images that depict a wide range of people, lifestyles, and experiences. Whether you are seeking to create a more diverse and inclusive collection for your little one, or looking to purchase a baby shower gift— this list is for you!

Little Heroes of Color: 50 Who Made a BIG Difference by David Heredia

Say hello to heroes! This book introduces preschoolers to 50 men and women of color who have changed the world!

A perfect book for tomorrow’s leaders, Little Heroes of Color educates and inspires by showing readers 50 trailblazers from a range of races and ethnicities. Bold colors and simple captions bring the youngest readers face-to-face with those who’ve shaped history and broken boundaries in science, the arts, government, and more.

Love the World by Todd Parr

What the world needs now is love–and who better than Todd Parr to share a message of kindness, charity, and acceptance. Touching upon themes including self-esteem, environmentalism, and respect for others, Todd uses his signature silly and accessible style to encourage readers to show love for themselves and all the people, places, and things they encounter.

Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

In the beginning, there were three colors . . . Reds, Yellows, and Blues.

All special in their own ways, all living in harmony—until one day, a Red says “Reds are the best!” and starts a color kerfuffle. When the colors decide to separate, is there anything that can change their minds?

A Yellow, a Blue, and a never-before-seen color might just save the day in this inspiring book about color, tolerance, and embracing differences.

Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne

For all the littlest progressives, waking up to seize a new day of justice and activism.

Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world.

This lyrical and empowering book is both a celebration of what it means to be a baby and what it means to be woke. With bright playful art, Woke Baby is an anthem of hope in a world where the only limit to a skyscrapper is more blue.

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. 

The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.

Brave by Stacy McAnulty

An empowering picture book for all kids that demonstrates to children that they can be real-life superheroes and that all kids have what it takes to be brave.Superheroes seek adventure, never give up, and stay calm when others are afraid. Superheroes are brave. But they aren’t the only ones.

Kids are brave every day. When they are told they are too little, but accomplish something big. When they check for monsters under the bed, just in case. When they face something uncertain, whether a thunderstorm or a hospital visit. When they stand up for what’s right, even when it means facing consequences.

Love is You and Me by Anna W. Bardaus

This adorable book helps young children to remember that love — whether between a parent and child, best friends, or even a dog and a mouse — is the most wonderful offering of all. Love Is You and Me is a vibrant, uplifting title perfect any time of day, any time of the year.

One Love by Cedella Marley

One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right: Adapted from one of Bob Marley’s most beloved songs, One Love brings the joyful spirit and unforgettable lyrics to life for a new generation. Readers will delight in dancing to the beat and feeling the positive groove of change when one girl enlists her community to help transform her neighborhood for the better. It’s a testament to the amazing things that can happen when we all get together with one love in our hearts.

Colors of Me by Brynne Barnes

Intriguing collage illustrations frame this playful rhyme told through the eyes of a curious, creative young child who determines the whole world is full of color. Would I climb a tree striped orange and blue? Does the rain have a color when it makes a puddle? If flowers had no color, would they smell as sweet? The child comes to realize and appreciate a world filled with all colors that paint the earth and sky–and decides she’d like to be them all.

No! My First Book of Protest by Julie Merberg

Little ones who love to say “No!” can chime in while they learn about iconic activists from Frederick Douglass and Alice Paul to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala.

Each spread introduces an iconic figure—such as Gloria Steinem or Cesar Chavez—along with a super simple summary of the actions they took to change the course of history. Activists of all ages will learn about the abolitionist movement, civil rights, women’s rights, and more! Detailed, colorful art will thoroughly engage toddlers and preschoolers. And the chance to join the refrain on every spread “NO, NO!” is sure to please the tiniest protestors. (A mini history of protest movements at the end of the books is a handy cheat sheet for parents!)

Every Little Thing adapted by CedellaMarley

A beautiful book that brings Bob Marley’s beloved song to life for a new generation: Every family will relate to this universal story of a boy who won’t let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three special little birds. This cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages—because every little thing’s gonna be all right

Be Who You Are by Todd Parr

Be who you are!
Be proud of where you’re from.
Be a different color. Speak your language.
Wear everything you need to be you.

Who better than Todd Parr to remind kids that their unique traits are what make them so special? With his signature silly and accessible style, Parr encourages readers to embrace all their unique qualities.

Skin Again by Bell Hooks

Celebrating all that makes us unique and different, Skin Again offers new ways to talk about race and identity. Race matters, but only so much–what’s most important is who we are on the inside. Looking beyond skin, going straight to the heart, we find in each other the treasures stored down deep. Learning to cherish those treasures, to be all we imagine ourselves to be, makes us free.

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children’s activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picture book offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.

Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin

Is there anything more splendid than a baby’s skin? Cocoa-brown, cinnamon, peaches and cream. As children grow, their clever skin does, too, enjoying hugs and tickles, protecting them inside and out, and making them one of a kind. Fran Manushkin’s rollicking text and Lauren Tobia’s delicious illustrations paint a breezy and irresistible picture of the human family — and how wonderful it is to be just who you are.

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

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.

We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates

Who better than Sesame Street to teach us that we may all look different on the outside—but it’s important to remember that deep down, we are all very much alike. We all have the same needs, desires, and feelings. Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it’s our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place. This enduring, colorful, and charmingly illustrated book offers an easy, enjoyable way to learn about differences—and what truly matters. It is an engaging read for toddlers and adults alike.

Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children

From Guatemala to Bhutan, seventeen vibrantly colored photographs embrace our global diversity and give glimpses into the daily life, traditions, and clothing of babies from around the world. Simple text in Spanish and English teaches the littlest readers that everywhere on earth, babies are special and loved.

I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont

High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves—inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here’s a little girl who knows what really matters.      

At once silly and serious, Karen Beaumont’s joyous rhyming text and David Catrow’s wild illustrations unite in a book that is sassy, soulful . . . and straight from the heart. The sturdy board book is just right for little hands. 

I Love Me by Sally Morgan & Ambelin Kwaymullina

I Love Me is a vibrant, multi-colored, and award-winning board book that teaches kids one of life’s most important lessons: self acceptance.

The 2019 Children’s Picture Book Silver Nautilus Book Award winner. “I love my eyes, I love my nose, I love the way my curly hair grows!” Acclaimed Australian creators Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina celebrate individuality and joyous self-esteem in bouncy, rhythmic prose and lively color. I Love Me is inclusive, fun, simple, and contains a necessary lesson for all about the positivity of self love.

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20 Children’s Books Celebrating Blackness

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As a mother of three biracial boys, it has always been of the utmost importance to have a wide selection of books that not only represent themselves and the people they love and know in a positive light, but to also celebrate all of the beautiful and wonderful things about their Black identity.

While it is crucial that my boys grow up surrounded by positive images reflecting who they are, it is just as crucial, if not more so, that other children (specifically white children) are exposed to the same images and stories.

As parents and educators we have a duty and responsibility to introduce and surround ALL children with these stories at a time in their life when ideas of right and wrong are more simple; a time free of all of the grown-up created “gray areas”. The time before their minds and hearts are convoluted with the opinions and beliefs of others who may only share a singular story about a certain group of people. More importantly, before they are exposed to the negatively biased, often violent, and sometimes horrific images of Blackness that we see in the media today.

With books like the ones I am sharing below, my hope is that the children reading them will have enough positive narratives of Blackness in their ally arsenal that they are strong enough to call out the hate and racism they are sure to see as they grow older.

Together let’s take control of the narrative now, before it’s too late.

My People by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes’s spare yet eloquent tribute to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today.

My Brown Skin by Dr. Thomishia Booker

Diversity in children’s books matters. Stories are a child’s first steps into their imagination. Hey Carter! Children’s Book Series allows your child to READ IN COLOR. Each book in the Hey Carter! Children’s Book Series references a King. This hidden meaning is a reinforcement that our children deserve respect. We must remind our children that they are powerful and amazing. “My Brown Skin” is a heartwarming story about embracing who you are. A child’s first words of confidence and pride. 

Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson

All children deserve to see themselves represented positively in the books they read. Highlighting the talent and contributions of black leaders and changemakers from around the world, readers of all backgrounds will be empowered to discover what they too can achieve. Strong, courageous, talented, and diverse, these extraordinary men and women’s achievements will inspire a new generation to chase their dream…whatever it may be.

Skin Like Mine by Latashia M. Perry

From the Creators of Hair Like Mine, Skin Like Mine is a fun, easy-to- read for beginners as well as advanced readers. An entertaining yet creative way to address and celebrate diversity among young children. Guaranteed to make you smile and a bit hungry.

Soul Looks Back in Wonder by Tom Feelings

In this compelling collection of words and pictures, the voices of thirteen major poets, including Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Walter Dean Myers, rise in response to the dazzling vistas and emotionally vivid portraits of award-winning artist Tom Feelings. A unique and moving collaboration that celebrates the sustaining spirit of African creativity. 

Mommy, Am I Brown? by Deandra Abuto

“Mommy, Am I Brown?” begins as a normal day in the park with Eli and his mother. His curiosity is sparked when they grab his favorite treat. As they experience the day, he soon realizes that he is connected to the world in more ways than he realized.

*Sidenote: As you can tell, my own Eli was more than elated to share this book with you all!

Our Children Can Soar by Michelle Cook

This is the seed of a unique and inspirational picture book text, that is part historical, part poetry, and entirely inspirational. It symbolically takes the reader through the cumulative story of the US Civil Rights Movement, showing how select pioneers’ achievements led up to this landmark moment, when we have elected our first black President. Each historical figure is rendered by a different award-winning illustrator, highlighting the singular and vibrant contribution that each figure made.

Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy

From the wheels of a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall’s back, Black surrounds our lives. It is a color to simply describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and thrive.

Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs

A timely book about how it feels to be teased and taunted, and how each of us is sweet and lovely and delicious on the inside, no matter how we look.

The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon

Told by a succession of exuberant young narrators, Magnificent Homespun Brown is a story — a song, a poem, a celebration — about feeling at home in one’s own beloved skin.With vivid illustrations by Kaylani Juanita, Samara Cole Doyon sings a carol for the plenitude that surrounds us and the self each of us is meant to inhabit.

Black Magic by Dinah Johnson

Black is a look, a taste, a speed, an emotion. It’s the surprising stripes on a zebra, the taste of dark chocolate, the scary, exciting feeling of going inside a tunnel, and a mother’s voice as her daughter falls asleep.

In this celebration of the African American spirit, Dinah Johnson and R. Gregory Christie paint a picture of “black” that is vivid, varied, and proud.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.

M is for Melanin by Tiffany Rose

M is for Melanin
shining in every inch of your skin.
Every shade, every hue.
All beautiful and unique.

Each letter of the alphabet contains affirming, Black-positive messages, from A is for Afro, to F is for Fresh, to W is for Worthy. This book teaches children their ABCs while encouraging them to love the skin that they’re in.

Be bold. Be fearless. BE YOU.

Look What Brown Can Do! by T. Marie Harris

A must have for every Brown child who’s still dreaming about what to be when s/he grows up!”Foster your little one’s imagination and encourage them to dream big with this modern Black History book created to inspire brown children everywhere.

This book is a perfect conversational tool for parents, teachers, caretakers, and anyone looking to help lovely Brown children understand the greatness that can be achieved in every shade of Brown. No matter the child’s interests, be it painting, dancing, science, music, writing, athletics … “Look What Brown Can Do!” captures an array of accomplishments from yesterday’s and today’s Black heroes.

Beautiful Shades of Brown: The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring by Nancy Churnin

Growing up in the late 19th century, Laura Wheeler Waring didn’t see any artists who looked like her. She didn’t see any paintings of people who looked like her, either. As a young woman studying art in Paris, she found inspiration in the works of Matisse and Gaugin to paint the people she knew best. Back in Philadelphia, the Harmon Foundation commissioned her to paint portraits of accomplished African-Americans. Her portraits still hang in Washington DC’s National Portrait Gallery, where children of all races can admire the beautiful shades of brown she captured.

*Check out our Youtube read aloud here!

Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea by Joyce Carol Thomas

National Book Award winner Thomas celebrates the beauty and heritage of African Americans in a lyrical collection of poems. Couched in language that is learned yet emotional, the verses focus on family life, love, freedom and dreams.

Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse by Walter Dean Myers

Join acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers in a heartwarming celebration of African-American childhood in words and pictures. Sharing favorites from his collection of long-forgotten turn-of-the-century photographs, and punctuating them with his own moving poetry, Mr. Myers has created a beautiful album that reminds us that “the child in each of us is our most precious part.”

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney

I am Black / I am Unique / I am the creamy white frost in vanilla ice cream / and the milky smooth brown in a chocolate bar…
Using simple poetic language and stunning photographs, Sandra and Myles Pinkney have created a remarkable book of affirmation for African-American children. Photographic portraits and striking descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture, and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage. A joyous celebration of the rich diversity among African-Americans.

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? by Patrice McLaurin

Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? is a journey into the often forgotten contributions of African-American inventors, that contributed to the American landscape. It chronicles the school day of a little boy, highlighting different inventions that he uses throughout the day, all of which were invented by African-Americans.  The book comes complete with brief biographies about each inventor as well as fun activities to promote and encourage reading comprehension. 

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30+ Asian American & Pacific Islander Picture Books to read online with Epic!

Featured

The month of May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and what better way to celebrate than the stories and illustrations from beautiful picture books! While many of us are still social distancing and participating in distance learning, the website Epic! is a FREE RESOURCE for educators! If you haven’t heard of Epic!, I am more than elated to share it with you!

Epic! is an award-winning subscription service, which gives millions of families and classrooms instant, unlimited access to thousands of books, videos and quizzes from leading publishers to help kids everywhere read, learn and grow. Additionally, because of Covid-19, home accounts are FREE until June 30th. This is a great opportunity to check out Epic! and all of its amazing titles!

For AAPI Heritage Month, I have curated the following titles into a collection on Epic! that can be accessed here. If you don’t have an account yet, no worries! You can sign-up at this link.

Sumo Joe by Mia Wenjen

On Saturday mornings, Sumo Joe is a gentle big brother to his little sister. But on Saturday afternoons, he and his friends are sumo wrestlers! They tie on makeshift mawashi belts, practice drills like teppo, and compete in their homemade dohyo ring. They even observe sumo’s ultimate rule: no girls allowed! But when Sumo Joe’s little sister wants to join in the fun, Sumo Joe is torn between the two things he’s best at: sumo, and being a big brother. [Japanese American]

Grandmother’s Visit by Betty Quan

Grandmother lives with Grace’s family. She teaches her how to measure water for rice. She tells her stories about growing up in China and together they savor the flavors of her childhood. Grandmother says goodbye when she drops Grace off at school every morning and hello when she picks her up at the end of the day.

Then, Grandmother stops walking Grace to and from school, and the door to her room stays closed. Father comes home early to make dinner, but the rice bowls stay full. One day, Grandmother’s room is empty. And one day, Grandmother is buried. After the funeral, Grace’s mom turns on all the outside lights so that Grandmother’s spirit can find its way home for one final goodbye. [Chinese American]

A Scarf for Keiko by Ann Malaspina

It’s 1942. Sam’s class is knitting socks for soldiers and Sam is a terrible knitter. Keiko is a good knitter, but some kids at school don’t want anything to do with her because the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor and her family is Japanese American. When Keiko’s family is forced to move to a camp for Japanese Americans, can Sam find a way to demonstrate his friendship? [Japanese American]

‘Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis

Join the family, or ohana, as they farm taro for poi to prepare for a traditional luau celebration with a poetic text in the style of The House That Jack Built.

“This is the land that’s never been sold, where work the hands, so wise and old, that reach through the water, clear and cold, into the mud to pick the taro to make the poi for our ohana’s luau.” [Hawaiian]

When I Found Grandma by Saumiya Balsasubramaniam

When Maya’s grandma makes a surprise visit from thousands of miles away, Maya is delighted. But her excitement doesn’t last long. When Grandma picks her up from school, she wears fancy clothes and talks too loudly. Grandma’s morning prayer bells wake Maya up, and she cooks with ingredients Maya doesn’t usually eat. Plus, Maya thinks cupcakes taste better than Grandma’s homemade sweets.

Maya and Grandma try to compromise, and on a special trip to the island Grandma even wears an “all-American” baseball cap. But when Maya rushes off to find the carousel, she loses sight of her mother, father and grandmother. She is alone in a sea of people — until she spots something bobbing above the crowd, and right away she knows how to find her way. [Indian American]

Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina Lazo Gilmore

Cora loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon. One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama’s assistant chef. And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora’s head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish. With Mama’s help, Cora does the grown-up jobs like shredding the chicken and soaking the noodles (perhaps Mama won’t notice if she takes a nibble of chicken or sloshes a little water on the floor). Cora even gets to stir the noodles in the pot carefully– while Mama supervises. When dinner is finally served, her siblings find out that Cora did all their grown-up tasks, and Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking. [Filipino]

Mela and the Elephant by Dow Phumiruk

2019 Colorado Book Award Finalist Recognized in The 50 Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018 Mela sets out to explore the river outside her village but quickly ends up in trouble when her little boat is swept downstream and into the dense jungle. She encounters a crocodile, a leopard, and some monkeys, offering each a prize return for helping her find her way home but the animals snatch up their rewards without helping Mela back to her village. Just when she’s about to give up, an elephant shows Mela that kindness is its own reward. This new fable is told with authentic Thai customs and includes an author’s note with more Thai traditions and language. [Taiwanese]

A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang

As the seasons change, so too does a young Hmong girl’s world. She moves into a new home with her family and encounters both birth and death. As this curious girl explores life inside her house and beyond, she collects bits of the natural world. But who are her treasures for? [Hmong]

The Tsunami Quilt by Anthony D. Fredericks

April 1, 1946 – an enormous tsunami wave strikes Hilo, Hawai’i, causing death and destruction. Even those islanders who are fortunate to have survived find their lives forever altered. Young Kimo loves his grandfather very much – they go everywhere together, sharing island stories and experiences. But there is one story his grandfather has yet to share and that is the reason behind their yearly pilgrimage to Laupahoehoe Point. Here, in silent remembrance, Grandfather places a flower lei atop a stone monument. It is only after his grandfather’s sudden death that Kimo learns the story behind their annual visit and the reason for the sadness that has haunted his grandfather throughout the years. [Hawaiian]

Mooncakes by Loretta Seto

Mooncakes is the lyrical story of a young girl who shares the special celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival with her parents. As they eat mooncakes, drink tea and watch the night sky together, Mama and Baba tell ancient tales of a magical tree that can never be cut down, the Jade Rabbit who came to live on the moon and one brave woman’s journey to eternal life. With a gentle focus on the importance of family, Mooncakes is both a perfect book for parent and child to read together and an ideal choice for schools and libraries. [Chinese]

Pele and Poli’ahu retold by Malia Collins

Long, long ago, on the Island of Hawaii, there lived two beautiful goddesses. Pele, the goddess of fire, lived on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Poliahu, the goddess of snow, lived on the snow capped peaks of Mauna Kea. So begins the retelling of the classic Hawaiian legend a tale of fire and ice when Pele ventured off her fiery mountaintop to make mischief and challenge Poliahu to a sled race down the snowy slopes of Mauna Kea. It is a story about the power of nature, the power of wills, the power of skill, and an explanation of why the Big Island, to this day, is and island of contrasts. [Hawaiian]

Yoga in the Jungle by Ramiro Calle

Yoga in the Jungle is a wonderful tale of friendship that unfolds in the vibrant jungle of India, introducing young readers to the practice of yoga. While mimicking the body language of the exotic animals in the story, the beautifully illustrated yoga poses will help children to improve their poise and concentration, nurturing a learning process that will fill them with peace, happiness and a sense of being connected to nature. [Asian Indian]

Sadako’s Cranes by Judith Loske

Based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki, who lived in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, Sadako’s Cranes tells the story of her battle with leukemia. When Sadako hears of a Japanese legend which says that a person who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish, she begins folding cranes. Her wish was simply to live. [Japanese]

Maggie’s Chopsticks by Alan Woo

Maggie comes from a family of unique individuals, all with their own opinions and style, each one of them willing to give advice on how the child should hold her new chopsticks. Maggie listens to all of them in turn, weighing her options. Grandmother suggests using chopsticks in a rather forthright way, while Sister suggests a more graceful approach. As Maggie begins to worry that she may never find her own style, her father suggests that she be herself. Because of his encouragement, she is able to find just what works for her. Maggie comes from a traditional Chinese family, and she clearly wants to make them proud. [Chinese]

Mali Under the Night Sky: a Lao Story of Home by Youme Landowne

This book is a 2011 Skipping Stones honor book and the true story of Laotian American artist Malichansouk Kouanchao, whose family was forced by civil war to flee Laos when she was five. Before the war began, Mali lived an idyllic life in a community where she felt safe and was much loved. But the coming war caused her family to flee to another country and a life that was less than ideal. What did she carry with her? She carried her memories. And they in turn carried her across the world, sharing where she is from and all that she loves with the people she meets. [Laotian]

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

In this clever picture-book retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” Chinese New Year starts with Goldy Luck’s mother asking her to bring turnip cakes to their panda neighbors, the Chans. Goldy heads next door, promptly spilling her plate of turnip cakes as she walks in the front door; from there, things unfold as might be expected. She eats up Little Chan’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and falls asleep on his futon. Goldy Luck’s conscience gets the better of her, though, and she learns some valuable lessons about friendship and being a good neighbor. 

In Andal’s House by Gloria Whelan

As a young boy in Gujarat, India, Kumar sometimes feels like he lives in two worlds. First there is the old world where people and their choices are determined by prejudice and bigotry. But then there is the second, modern world: in this world Kumar can be friends with whomever he chooses and his future looks bright. As part of the annual Diwali celebration, Kumar is invited to the house of his classmate Andal to watch fireworks. Andal is from a high-caste Brahmin family so Kumar is especially pleased to be included. But there in Andal’s house, Kumar’s two worlds collide in a very unpleasant way. Instead of being welcomed as a guest, Kumar is sent away, forbidden to join the festivities. Angry and hurt, Kumar is left questioning his place in Indian society. Where does he fit in? To which world does he really belong? [Asian Indian]

Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch

Growing up in New York City, Hiromi Suzuki missed spending time with her father, a sushi chef who worked long hours in the family’s Japanese restaurant. So one day when she was eight years old, Hiromi begged her father to take her to the Fulton Fish Market, where he bought fresh fish. Hiromi was fascinated by what she saw and learned; by the time she was thirteen, she was ready to take the next step. She asked her father to teach her to make sushi. Little did Hiromi realize that her request would lead her to the forefront of a minor culinary revolution, as women claimed their place in the once all-male world of sushi chefs. [Japanese American]

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! by Uma Krishnaswami

A young boy spots a baby tree growing in the middle of a dusty path in his village. He carefully places rocks around it as the local mango seller rushes past shouting, “Out of the way! Out of the way!” As the tree grows bigger, people and animals traverse the path until it becomes a lane, flowing like a river around the tree — getting out of its way. Over time, the lane becomes a road, and a young man crossing the road with his children remembers the baby tree from long ago. By the time he is an old man, the tree has become a giant. The city traffic continues to rattle past, noisier and busier than ever, but sometimes the great tree works its magic, and people just stop, and listen. [Asian Indian]

Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service by Annette Bay Pimental

Tie Sing was born in the mountains. The mountains were in his blood. But because he was of Chinese descent at a time in America when to be Chinese meant working in restaurants or laundries, Tie Sing’s prospects were limited. But he had bigger plans. He began cooking for mapmakers and soon built a reputation as the best trail cook in California.
 
When millionaire Stephen Mather began his quest to create a national park service in 1915, he invited a group of influential men—writers, tycoons, members of Congress, and even a movie star—to go camping in the Sierras. Tie Sing was hired to cook.
 
Tie Sing planned diligently. He understood the importance of this trip. But when disaster struck—twice!—and Tie Sing’s supplies were lost, it was his creative spirit and quick mind that saved the day. His sumptuous menus had to be struck and Tie Sing had to start over in order to feed the thirty people in the group for ten whole days. His skills were tested and Tie Sing rose to the challenge.
 
On the last night, he fed not just the campers’ bodies, but also their minds, reminding them to remember and protect the mountains. [Chinese American]

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki

As a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania in the 1940s, Chiune Sugihara had a chance to help thousands of Jews escape the Holocaust through Japan, but it was against his government’s orders. When his five-year-old son Hiroki asked, “If we don’t help them, won’t they die?” Sugihara decided to assist the refugees. [Japanese]

Manjiro: The Boy Who Risked His Life for Two Countries by Emily Arnold McCully

In 1841, Japan had been closed to the outside world for 250 years, and anyone who tried to return to the country after leaving it could be executed. So when the small fishing boat on which fourteen-year-old Manjiro was working was shipwrecked, he despaired of ever returning to his village. The captain of the American whaling ship that rescued Manjiro took a special interest in him, inviting him to come live in Massachusetts. There, Manjiro was treated like Captain Whitfield’s son, and he began to feel as though Massachusetts was his second home. Still, he never gave up his dream of finding a way to return to Japan and see his mother again. [Japanese American]

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & June Jo Lee

“Sohn maash” is the flavors in our fingertips. It is the love and cooking talent that Korean mothers and grandmothers mix into their handmade foods. For Chef Roy Choi, food means love. It also means culture, not only of Korea where he was born, but the many cultures that make up the streets of Los Angeles, where he was raised. So remixing food from the streets, just like good music—and serving it up from a truck—is true to L.A. food culture. People smiled and talked as they waited in line. Won’t you join him as he makes good food smiles? [Korean American]

Peach Girl by Raymond Nakamura

When the farmer and her husband find a giant peach at their door, they can’t imagine how it got there. But they are even more surprised when the skin bursts open and out leaps . . . a girl. Momoko is here to make the world a better place, and what better way to start than by investigating the rumours about a fearsome local ogre? Everyone says the ogre has teeth like knives, shoots flames from his eyes, and eats small children.

But Momoko wants to find out for herself, and her new friends Monkey, Dog, and Pheasant might just be able to help her – as long as she’s willing to share those tasty peach dumplings. [Japanese]

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn

It’s Chinese New Year in Chinatown, and young Sam has four dollars of New Year money burning a hole in his pocket. As he and his mother are milling through the crowded streets–alive with firecrackers, lion dances, and shoppers–Sam accidentally steps on the foot of a homeless man who is buried in a pile of red paper. Flustered, Sam hurries back to his mother, and is soon distracted by the char siu bao and other sweets he might buy with his gift money. When he sees fish-tail cookies that remind him of toes, he remembers the old man again, and Sam starts to think of his “lucky money” in a new light. [Chinese American]

Crane Boy by Diana Cohn

Every year, Kinga and his classmates wait for the black-necked cranes to return to the kingdom of Bhutan. The birds fly south over the highest mountains in the word to winter in the valley where Kinga lives, deep in the Himalayas. The cranes have been visiting the valley since ancient times, but every year, fewer cranes return. Kinga is concerned. “What can he do?,” he wonders. He and his classmates approach the monks for permission to create and perform a dance to honor the cranes and to remind the Bhutanese people of their duty to care for them. The monks caution them to first watch the cranes to see how they move and learn from them. The children watch and practice. And practice some more until the big day when they perform before the king of Bhutan. [Bhutanese]

Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family’s Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp by Katie Yamasaki

For two boys in a Japanese American family, everything changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States went to war.

With the family forced to leave their home and go to an internment camp, Jimmy loses his appetite. Older brother Taro takes matters into his own hands and, night after night, sneaks out of the camp and catches fresh fish for Jimmy to help make him strong again. [Japanese American]

Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki

Suki’s favorite possession is her blue cotton kimono. A gift from her obachan, it holds special memories of her grandmother’s visit last summer. And Suki is going to wear it on her first day back to school — no matter what anyone says.

When it’s Suki’s turn to share with her classmates what she did during the summer, she tells them about the street festival she attended with her obachan and the circle dance that they took part in. In fact, she gets so carried away reminiscing that she’s soon humming the music and dancing away, much to the delight of her entire class! [Japanese American]

King for a Day by Rukshana Khan

Basant is here, with feasts and parties to celebrate the arrival of spring. But what Malik is looking forward to most is doing battle from his rooftop with Falcon, the special kite he has built for speed. Today is Malik’s chance to be the best kite fighter, the king of Basant.

In two fierce battles, Malik takes down the kites flown by the bully next door. Then Malik moves on, guiding Falcon into leaps, swirls, and dives, slashing strings and plucking kites from the sky. By the end of the day, Malik has a big pile of captured kites. He is the king! But then the bully reappears, trying to take a kite from a girl in the alley below. With a sudden act of kingly generosity, Malik finds the perfect way to help the girl. [Pakistani]

Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America by Helen Foster James & Virginia Shin-Mui Loh

In 1926, 12-year-old Fu Lee lives with his grandparents in a small village in China. He lives with his grandparents because his parents are dead. It is a difficult life but made easier by the love Lee shares with his grandparents. But now Lee must leave all that he knows. Before his parents died, they spent all of their money buying a “paper son slot” for Lee to go to America. Being a “paper son” means pretending to be the son of a family already in America. If he goes, he will have the chance for a better life. But first he must pass the test at Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco. Only then will he be allowed to live with his new family. If Lee makes even a single mistake, he could be sent back to China. Lee knows his grandparents want a better life for him. He can’t let them down. [Chinese American]

Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants by Barbara Ann Porte

Ma Jiang’s family earns their living by selling orange ants to farmers who use them to protect their orchards from other destructive insects. The child’s father and brothers climb high into the trees to cut down the nests of the fierce biting ants and her mother sells them at market in the rush-mat bags that she weaves. When war is declared, all the men must serve in the emperor’s army, leaving Ma Jiang, her mother, and baby brother to fend for themselves. The society discouraged women from learning to climb trees so the family’s orange-ant business seems doomed. Ma Jiang is a quick-witted heroine who invents a low-hanging trap after noticing hundreds of ants drawn to a drop of spilled honey. When her father and brothers return home, they applaud her survival skills and creative thinking. [Chinese]

Lin Yi’s Lantern by Brenda Williams

Meet Lin Yi — a little boy with a big heart and a talent for bargaining. He wants to buy himself a red rabbit lantern at the market for the moon festival tonight; but first, he must buy the things his mother needs. Will he be able to save enough money on his mother’s needs to buy the lantern? This heartwarming story shows the practical use of math in everyday life and the rewards of putting others first. Features educational notes at the end about the Chinese moon festival, life in rural China and the legend of the moon fairy. [Chinese]

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Shorty and his family, along with thousands of other Japanese Americans, have been forced to relocate from their home to Camp. One day Shorty’s dad looks out across the desert and decides they should build a baseball field. Fighting the heat, dust, and freezing cold nights, the prisoners need something to look forward to, even if only for nine innings. So in this unlikely place, surrounded by barbed-wire fences and guards in towers, a baseball league is born. And Shorty soon finds that he is playing not only to win, but to gain dignity and self-respect. [Japanese American]

Ghost Train by Paul Yee

Left behind in China by her father, who has gone to North America to find work, Choon-yi has made her living by selling her paintings in the market. When her father writes one day and asks her to join him, she joyously sets off, only to discover that he has been killed. Choon-yi sees the railway and the giant train engines that her father died for, and she is filled with an urge to paint them. But her work disappoints her until a ghostly presence beckons her to board the train where she meets the ghosts of the men who died building the railway. She is able to give them peace by returning their bones to China where they were born. [Chinese American]

Keala and the Hawaiian Bird by Patricia McLean

Every fine morning, when the sun starts to rise Over the mountains in the blue Maui sky, Keala is woken by birds in the trees, Greeting the day with their sweet symphony. Until…one morning Keala hears a new, strange sound. What kind of bird could it be? A delightful story told in rhyme will give kids an idea of what it’s like growing up in Hawaii where bird song is always in the air. Keala, a curious young girl, wakes up every morning to the sounds of chirping, squawking, and crowing. Then one day, Keala hears another sound….a screech. What kind of bird makes that sound? Keala searches around her home to find out. [Hawaiian]

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind by Cynthia Grady

When Executive Order 9066 is enacted after the attack at Pearl Harbor, children’s librarian Clara Breed’s young Japanese American patrons are to be sent to prison camp. Before they are moved, Breed asks the children to write her letters and gives them books to take with them. Through the three years of their internment, the children correspond with Miss Breed, sharing their stories, providing feedback on books, and creating a record of their experiences. [Japanese American]

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Book Set: Native American History & Decolonizing Thanksgiving

The following titles offer a glimpse of the perspectives of the people that are often overlooked in the historical narrative of American History, especially those of the indigenous peoples affected by the advent of colonization in the “New World.” Thanksgiving offers an opportunity to clear up some historical misconceptions surrounding the Thanksgiving story, and is also a chance to link the topic of colonial expansion to other historical events, changes, conflicts, and migration patterns. These texts can be used to explore your current knowledge and understanding, as well as provide context for the modern-day issues that indigenous people face, and a window into their experiences.

Elementary

The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Ortiz

from Amazon.com

Told in the rhythms of traditional oral narrative, this powerful telling of the history of the Native/Indigenous peoples of North America recounts their story from Creation to the invasion and usurpation of Native lands. As more and more people arrived, The People saw that the new men did not respect the land. The People witnessed the destruction of their Nations and the enslavement of their people. The People fought hard, but eventually agreed to stop fighting and signed treaties.

Many things changed and became more difficult, but The People continued to farm and create crafts. They remembered and told their children, “You are Shawnee. You are Lakota. You are Pima. You Acoma. . . . You are all these Nations of the People.” The People held onto their beliefs and customs and found solidarity with other oppressed people. And despite struggles against greed, destruction of their lands, and oppression, The People persisted.
Click here for an educator’s guide!

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

from Amazon.com

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard

from Goodreads.com

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner Juana Martinez-Neal.

Fry bread is food.
It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.
Fry bread is time.
It brings families together for meals and new memories.
Fry bread is nation.
It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.
Fry bread is us.
It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson

from Amazon.com

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.
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This Land is My Land by George Littlechild

from Amazon.com

In his own words and paintings, acclaimed Native American artist George Littlechild takes young readers back in time to the first meeting between his Plains Cree ancestors and the first European settlers in North America. Through inspiring autobiographical stories accompanied by vivid, dramatic paintings, he recounts the history of his people and their relationship to the land, relating their struggles and triumphs with sensitivity, irony, and humor. Littlechild expresses his wish to use his art to portray the wonders of his heritage and to heal the pain of his people’s history and offers hope and guidance from the Native American perspective.
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When the Rain Sings: Poems by Young Native Americans by Lee Francis

from Amazon.com

A collection of poems written by young Native Americans, inspired by or matched with photographs of artifacts and people from the National Museum of the American Indian.

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace

from Amazon.com

Countering the prevailing, traditional story of the first Thanksgiving, with its black-hatted, silver-buckled Pilgrims; blanket-clad, be-feathered Indians; cranberry sauce; pumpkin pie; and turkey, this lushly illustrated photo-essay presents a more measured, balanced, and historically accurate version of the three-day harvest celebration in 1621.

Middle Grades

I Am Not a Number by Jenny Day Dupuis

from Amazon.com

When Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school, she is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite being told to do otherwise. When she goes home for summer holidays, her parents decide never to send her away again, but where will she hide and what will happen when her parents disobey the law?

Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis

from Goodreads.com

Regina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina’s father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She’s never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

High School

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

from Goodreads.com

In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the “recruiters” who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing “factories.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

from Goodreads.com

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.

Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.

My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson

from Amazon.com

My name is not easy. My name is hard like ocean ice grinding the shore…Luke knows his Iñupiaq name is full of sounds white people can’t say. So he leaves it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles away from their Arctic village. At Sacred Heart School, students—Eskimo, Indian, White—line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there’s some kind of war going on. Here, speaking Iñupiaq—or any native language—is forbidden. And Father Mullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, is ready to slap down those who disobey. Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. But he’s not the only one. There’s smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader— if he doesn’t self-destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small, quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. They each have their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School—and the wider world—will never be the same.
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Mean Spirit: A Novel by Linda Hogan

from Goodreads.com

Early in this century, rivers of oil were found beneath Oklahoma land belonging to Indian people, and beautiful Grace Blanket became the richest person in the Territory. But she was murdered by the greed of white men, and the Graycloud family, who cared for her daughter, began dying mysteriously. Letters sent to Washington, D.C. begging for help went unanswered, until at last a Native American government official, Stace Red Hawk, traveled west to investigate. What he found has been documented by history: rampant fraud, intimidation, and murder. But he also found something truly extraordinary–his deepest self and abiding love for his people, and their brave past. 

Further Reading

Atlas of Indian Nations by Anton Treuer

from Amazon.com

Atlas of Indian Nations is a comprehensive resource for those interested in Native American history and culture. Told through maps, photos, art, and archival cartography, this is the story of American Indians that only National Geographic can tell.

Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson

from Goodreads.com

Why rethink Christopher Columbus? Because the Columbus myth is a foundation of children’s beliefs about society. Columbus is often a child’s first lesson about encounters between different cultures and races. The murky legend of a brave adventurer tells children whose version of history to accept, and whose to ignore. It says nothing about the brutality of the European invasion of North America.

We need to listen to a wider range of voices. We need to hear from those whose lands and rights were taken away by those who “discovered” them. Their stories, too often suppressed, tell of 500 years of courageous struggle, and the lasting wisdom of native peoples. Understanding what really happened to them in 1492 is key to understanding why people suffer the same injustices today.

More than 80 essays, poems, interviews, historical vignettes, and lesson plans reevaluate the myth of Columbus and issues of indigenous rights. Rethinking Columbus is packed with useful teaching ideas for kindergarten through college. 

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen

from Amazon.com

What started out as a survey of the twelve leading American history textbooks has ended up being what the San Francisco Chronicle calls “an extremely convincing plea for truth in education.” In Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen brings history alive in all its complexity and ambiguity. Beginning with pre-Columbian history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, the My Lai massacre, 9/11, and the Iraq War, Loewen offers an eye-opening critique of existing textbooks, and a wonderful retelling of American history as it should—and could—be taught to American students.

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