Celebrate Diverse Books

"Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book."

 I'm borrowing a hopeful statement from a non-profit group called We Need Diverse Books. This group works hard to encourage change within our publishing world to support more books with diverse characters and written by diverse authors.

We are working on different ways to help make this happen here at our library. We put up book displays about diverse characters, we create handy book lists for people to find diverse books, and we seek out great books that highlight and integrate diversity.

We wanted to highlight some of our favorite stories with diverse characters to kick off the new year!

Books for Younger Friends

Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park


Newbery Medal winner Park has woven a delightful tale about a modern Korean-American family and the delicious food they enjoy.

 

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia


Aneel and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tell stories, use their imaginations, and make delicious roti, a traditional Indian flatbread.

 

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match by Monica Brown


Marisol McDonald, a biracial, nonconformist, soccer-playing pirate-princess with brown skin and red hair, celebrates her uniqueness.

 

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev


The Pet Club doesn't understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox


It's easy for kids to feel alone in their differences, especially if they don't know other people like themselves. But, as author Mem Fox reminds them, "whoever you are, / wherever you are, / there are little ones / just like you / all over the world."

 

Books for Older Friends

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan


Amina's Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl's voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

 

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Garcia-Williams


From beloved Newbery Honor winner and three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia comes a powerful and heartfelt novel about loss, family, and love that will appeal to fans of Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander.

 

El Deafo by Cece Bell


Cece loses her hearing from spinal meningitis, and takes readers through the arduous journey of learning to lip read and decipher the noise of her hearing aid, with the goal of finding a true friend. Read this warmly and humorously illustrated full-color graphic novel for the giggles, for the challenges, for the universal life experiences, and for the opportunity to be changed, even just a little.

 

Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught


History and present day collide in this mystery that explores how echoes of the past can have profound consequences.

 

Books for Teens

Girls like Us by Gail Giles


Hard-hitting and compassionate, Girls Like Us is a story about growing up in a world that can be cruel, and finding the strength — and the support — to carry on.

 

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle


Quinn imagines his future as if it were a screenplay, a coping device for this witty and wisecracking teen. This book features authentic dialogue, clear character building, and a combination of grief, depression, and sexuality that come together for a modern and engaging story.

 

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson


A nuanced story about girls navigating the landmines of others' good intentions, Piecing Me Together will make readers wrestle with every assumption they have about race, economic class, and so-called at-risk kids.

 

The Reader by Traci Chee


This is a must-have for all those who value a good read with genuine character growth, mystery, unique world-building, adventure, unyielding bonds of loyalty, and pirates. Savvy teens will notice a message scattered through the page numbers.

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