Diversity Book List

Diversity Book List

Children love reading books that reflect families and people similar to theirs as well as learning about people and families who are different.

The following book list was created in collaboration with the Melrose Public Schools, the Roosevelt School Parent Teacher Organization, and the Melrose Public Library for children grades K-5, their families, and teachers.

Dr. Margaret Adams, Assistant Superintendent, Melrose Public Schools
Andrea Razi-Thomas, Arlington High School Social Worker/Roosevelt PTO parent
Marianne Stanton, Melrose Public Library

  • Rabinowitz, Alan
    A boy and a jaguar
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: The renowned cat conservationist reflects on his early childhood struggles with a speech disorder, describing how he only spoke fluently when he was communicating with animals and how he resolved at a young age to find his voice to be their advocate.

  • Williams, Vera B.
    A chair for my mother
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire.

  • Lorenzi, Natalie Dias
    A long pitch home
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: When Bilal’s family suddenly moves to America, his father stays in Pakistan, and Bilal embraces baseball, an unexpected friend, and a new language. But this new way of life does not feel so special without Baba–will he ever get to America to see Bilal pitch a game?

  • Recommended for: Grades 3-5
    Summary: Presents an illustrated introduction to the life and work of artist Horace Pippin, describing his childhood love for drawing and the World War I injury that challenged his career.

  • Oelschlager, Vanita.
    A tale of two daddies
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: A young girl describes how her two daddies help her through her day, including her poppa cooking eggs and toast, her daddy fixing her knee when she is hurt, and both fathers being there for her when she needs love.

  • Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: A young boy in Concord, Massachusetts, who loves superheroes and comes from a long line of brave Chinese farmer-warriors, wants to make friends, but first he must overcome his fear of everything.

  • Richardson, Justin
    And Tango makes three
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.

  • Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Arturo and his family and friends share all kinds of experiences living in the barrio of East Los Angeles–reclaiming their names, playing basketball, championing the school librarian, and even starting their own gang.

  • Baskin, Nora Raleigh.
    Anything but typical
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.

  • Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: A young girl makes her way through an urban neighborhood filled with children playing, men debating, women cooking, and jazz music playing as her community gathers to celebrate “Neighbors’ Day.”

  • Carr, Jennifer.
    Be who you are
    Recommended for: Grades K-3
    Summary: Nick was born in a boy’s body, but has always felt like a girl inside. Nick’s family supports him when he says he no longer wants to be called a boy or dress like a boy; “Always remember to be who you are Nick. Remember that we love you, and we are so proud of you.” (p. 17). Nick’s parents find a group for families like theirs. With their support, Nick expresses a desire to be addressed as “she”, and then to be named “Hope.” Based on the author’s experiences with her children.

  • Khan, Rukhsana
    Big red lollipop
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: Having to take her younger sister along the first time she is invited to a birthday party spoils Rubina’s fun, and later when that sister is asked to a party and baby sister wants to come, Rubina must decide whether to help.

  • Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: An illustrated account of immigrant Clara Lemlich’s pivotal role in the influential 1909 women laborer’s strike describes how she worked grueling hours to acquire an education and support her family before organizing a massive walkout to protest the unfair working conditions in New York’s garment district.

  • Smith, Charles R., Jr.
    Brick by brick
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: “The White House was created by many hands, several of them slaves’, who will be remembered throughout history for their extrodinary feat” — Cover verso.

  • Curtis, Christopher Paul.
    Bud, not Buddy
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father–the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.

  • Gonzalez, Maya Christina.
    Call me tree
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: “A bilingual poetic tale that follows one child/tree from the depths of Mami/Earth to the heights of the sky, telling a story about being free to grow and be who we are meant to be and honoring our relationship with the natural world”–

  • Summary: George was one of those kids. You know, the kind that never stays still. Then one day, the doctor said he was going blind. Did that slow George down? Not for a single second. In fact, he was so fast, he went on to break a world record for blind runners. And now he’s breaking more barriers — because ironically, George Mendoza, blind painter, paints what he sees. George started going blind at age 15 from a degenerative eye disease. It wasn’t the sudden onset of blindness that many people experience. George lost his central vision and started seeing things that weren’t there — eyes floating in the air, extraordinary colors, objects multiplied and reflected back. He describes this condition as having “kaleidoscope eyes.” He triumphed over his blindness by setting the world record in the mile for blind runners, and later competing in both the 1980 and 1984 Olympics for the Disabled. Now a full-time artist, Mendoza’s paintings are a National Smithsonian Affiliates traveling exhibit.

  • Uhlberg, Myron.
    Dad, Jackie, and me
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: In Brooklyn, New York, in 1947, a boy learns about discrimination and tolerance as he and his deaf father share their enthusiasm over baseball and the Dodgers’ first baseman, Jackie Robinson.

  • Alko, Selina.
    Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: A child relates how the family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, enjoying the rich traditions of both religions.

  • Newman, Lesléa
    Daddy, papa, and me
    Recommended for: Grades K-1
    Summary: The story of a toddler’s daily activities with two loving fathers.

  • Tutu, Desmond.
    Desmond and the very mean word : a story of forgiveness
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: While riding his new bicycle Desmond is hurt by the mean word yelled at him by a group of boys, but he soon learns that hurting back will not make him feel any better.

  • Newman, Lesléa.
    Donovan’s big day
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: From the moment Donovan wakes in the morning, he painstakingly prepares for his special role in the wedding ceremony of his two mothers.

  • Lombard, Jenny.
    Drita, my homegirl
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: When ten-year-old Drita and her family, refugees from Kosovo, move to New York, Drita is teased about not speaking English well, but after a popular student named Maxine is forced to learn about Kosovo as a punishment for teasing Drita, the two girls soon bond.

  • Engle, Margarita
    Drum dream girl : how one girl’s courage changed music
    Recommended for: Grades 1-4
    Summary: Follows a young Cuban girl in the 1930s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums, and that there’s never been a female drummer in Cuba. Includes note about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who inspired the story, and Anacaona, the all-girl dance band she formed with her sisters.

  • Bell, Cece.
    El Deafo
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear–sometimes things she shouldn’t–but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.

  • Little, Jean
    Emma’s yucky brother
    Recommended for: Grades K-3
    Summary: Emma finds out how hard it is to be a big sister when her family adopts a four-year-old boy named Max.

  • Thompson, Laurie Ann
    Emmanuel’s dream : the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people–but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.

  • Clements, Andrew
    Extra credit
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: As letters flow back and forth–between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of Afghanistan, across cultural and religious divides–sixth-grader Abby, ten-year-old Amira, and eleven-year-old Sadeed begin to speak and listen to each other.

  • Rotner, Shelley
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: “Big or small, similar or different-looking, there are all kinds of families. Some have one parent, some have two, and many include extended family. This inclusive look at many varieties of families will help young readers see beyond their own immediate experiences” –Amazon.com.

  • Hunt, Lynda Mullaly
    Fish in a tree
    Recommended for: Fourth and Fifth Grade
    Summary: Ally’s greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn’t know how to read.

  • Flying lessons & other stories
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: From basketball dreams and family fiascoes to first crushes and new neighborhoods, this anthology, written by award-winning children’s authors, celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.

  • Williams, Karen Lynn.
    Four feet, two sandals
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers. Includes author’s note about refugees.

  • Gino, Alex
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: “When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all” —

  • McKissack, Pat
    Goin’ someplace special
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: There’s a place in this 1950s southern town where all are welcome, no matter what their skin color… and ‘Tricia Ann knows exactly how to get there. To her, it’s someplace special and she’s bursting to go by herself. When her grandmother sees that she’s ready to take such a big step, ‘Tricia Ann hurries to catch the bus heading downtown. But unlike the white passengers, she must sit in the back behind the Jim Crow sign and wonder why life’s so unfair. Still, for each hurtful sign seen and painful comment heard, there’s a friend around the corner reminding ‘Tricia Ann that she’s not alone. And even her grandmother’s words — “You are somebody, a human being – no better, no worse than anybody else in this world” — echo in her head, lifting her spirits and pushing her forward.

  • Bandy, Michael S.
    Granddaddy’s turn : a journey to the ballot box
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: “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 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 justice just can’t come soon enough?” —

  • Cheng, Andrea.
    Grandfather counts
    Recommended for: Grades K-3
    Summary: When her maternal grandfather comes from China, Helen, who is biracial, develops a special bond with him despite their age and language differences.

  • Newman, Lesléa
    Heather has two mommies
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: “Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another”” — provided by publisher.

  • Newman, Lesléa
    Here is the world : a year of Jewish holidays
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: The year’s range of Jewish holidays and celebrations are presented in this repeating, rhyming chant that features key succinct elements for each.

  • Williams, Vera B.
    Home at last
    Recommended for: Grades 1-3
    Summary: “After Lester is adopted from his foster home by Daddy Albert and Daddy Rich, he can’t fall asleep in his new bed. What will it take to make Lester feel home at last?”–

  • Alvarez, Julia.
    How Tía Lola came to (visit) stay
    Recommended for: Grades 3-5
    Summary: Although ten-year-old Miguel is at first embarrassed by his colorful aunt, Tia Lola, when she comes to Vermont from the Dominican Republic to stay with his mother, his sister, and him after his parents’ divorce, he learns to love her.

  • Herthel, Jessica
    I am Jazz
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: Presents the story of a transgender child who traces her early awareness that she is a girl in spite of male anatomy and the acceptance she finds through a wise doctor who explains her natural transgender status.

  • Summary: Documents the educational pursuits of the Nobel Peace Prize nominee who became an international symbol of hope and inspiration when she challenged the traditions of her Pakistan community, offering insight into the influential role of her courageous father.

  • Levy, Debbie
    I dissent : Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes her mark
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Traces the achievements of the celebrated Supreme Court justice through the lens of her many famous acts of civil disagreement against inequality, unfair treatment, and human rights injustice.

  • Agosín, Marjorie
    I lived on Butterfly Hill
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: When her beloved country, Chile, is taken over by a militaristic, sadistic government, Celeste is sent to America for her safety and her parents must go into hiding before they “disappear.”

  • Polacco, Patricia.
    In our mothers’ house
    Recommended for: Second and Third Grade
    Summary: Three young children experience the joys and challenges of being raised by two mothers.

  • Lai, Thanhha.
    Inside out & back again
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

  • Dumas, Firoozeh
    It ain’t so awful, falafel
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: “Eleven-year-old Zomorod, originally from Iran, tells her story of growing up Iranian in Southern California during the Iranian Revolution and hostage crisis of the late 1970s”–

  • Hoffman, Sarah
    Jacob’s new dress
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: Jacob, who likes to wear dresses at home, convinces his parents to let him wear a dress to school too.

  • Cocca-Leffler, Maryann
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: “Janine is one of a kind. She focuses on the positive while navigating life with disabilities. She makes a difference just by being herself”–

  • Cerra, Kerry O’Malley
    Just a drop of water
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: “Jake and Sam are best friends, but after the attacks on September 11, their friendship is in danger of crumbling as Sam and his family succumb to hatred for being Muslim American”–

  • Haan, Linda de
    King & King
    Recommended for: Grades 3-5
    Summary: When the queen insists that the prince get married and take over as king, the search for a suitable mate does not turn out as expected.

  • Kadohata, Cynthia
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: Chronicles the close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the despair when one sister becomes terminally ill.

  • Watts, Jeri Hanel
    Kizzy Ann Stamps
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: “In 1963, as Kizzy Ann prepares for her first year at an integrated school, she worries about the color of her skin, the scar running from the corner of her right eye to the tip of her smile, and whether anyone at the white school will like her. She writes letters to her new teacher in a clear, insistent voice, stating her troubles and asking questions with startling honesty. The new teacher is supportive, but not everyone feels the same, so there is a lot to write about. Her brother, James, is having a far less positive school experience than she is, and the annoying white neighbor boy won’t leave her alone. But Shag, her border collie, is her refuge. Even so, opportunity clashes with obstacle. Kizzy Ann knows she and Shag could compete well in the dog trials, but will she be able to enter?”–

  • de la Peña, Matt
    Last stop on Market Street
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: A young boy, CJ, rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.

  • Summary: As an elderly woman, Lillian recalls that her great-great-grandparents were sold as slaves in front of a courthouse where only rich white men were allowed to vote, then the long fight that led to her right–and determination–to cast her ballot since the Voting Rights Act gave every American the right to vote.

  • Gephart, Donna
    Lily and Dunkin
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: “Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth-grade. Norbert Dorfman, nicknamed Dunkin Dorfman, is bipolar and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change”–

  • Myracle, Lauren
    Luv ya bunches : a flower power book
    Recommended for: Grades 3-5
    Summary: Four friends–each named after a flower–navigate the ups and downs of fifth grade, in a story told through text messages, blog posts, screenplay, and straight narrative.

  • Pomranz, Craig
    Made by Raffi
    Recommended for: Grades K-2
    Summary: Raffi is a shy boy who doesn’t like noisy games and is often teased at school. But when he gets the idea of making a scarf for his dad’s birthday he is full of enthusiasm, even though the other children think it is girly to knit. Then the day draws near for the school pageant, and there is one big problem – no costume for the prince. And that’s when Raffi has his most brilliant idea of all – to make a prince’s cape. On the day of the pageant, Raffi’s cape is the star of the show.

  • Campoy, F. Isabel
    Maybe something beautiful : how art transformed a neighborhood
    Recommended for:  Kindergarten
    Summary: “Mira lives in a gray and hopeless urban community until a muralist arrives and, along with his paints and brushes, brings color, joy, and togetherness to Mira and her neighbors”–

  • Cohen, Barbara.
    Molly’s pilgrim
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Told to make a Pilgrim doll for the Thanksgiving display at school, Molly is embarrassed when her mother tries to help her out by creating a doll dressed as she herself was dressed before leaving Russia to seek religious freedom.

  • Myers, Walter Dean
    Muhammad Ali : the people’s champion
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: “Acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers recounts the champ’s most famous fights and examines the depth and complexity of the larger-than-life legend Muhammad Ali.”–Amazon.com.

  • Peete, Holly Robinson
    My brother Charlie
    Recommended for: Grades K-2
    Summary: Callie is very proud of her brother Charlie. He’s good at so many things — swimming, playing the piano, running fast. And Charlie has a special way with animals, especially their dog, Harriet. But sometimes Charlie gets very quiet. His words get locked inside him, and he seems far away. Then, when Callie and Charlie start to play, Charlie is back to laughing, holding hands, having fun. Charlie is like any other boy — and he has autism.

  • Gennari, Jennifer.
    My mixed-up berry blue summer
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: Twelve-year-old June Farrell spends the summer at her Vermont home getting used to the woman her mother is planning to marry and practicing her pie-baking skills, as she hopes to win the blue ribbon at the fair.

  • Mobin-Uddin, Asma.
    My name is Bilal
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: When Bilal and his sister transfer to a school where they are the only Muslims, they must learn how to fit in while staying true to their beliefs and heritage.

  • Ada, Alma Flor.
    My name is María Isabel
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Third grader Maria Isabel, born in Puerto Rico and now living in the U.S., wants badly to fit in at school; and the teacher’s writing assignment “My Greatest Wish” gives her that opportunity.

  • Galindo, Renata
    My new mom and me
    Recommended for: Grades K-1
    Summary: “A puppy comes to live with his adoptive mother, who is a cat.”–

  • Summary: This is a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. It tells the tale of a 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by enjoying “traditional girl” things like jewelry, sparkles, or anything pink. It is designed to start and continue a dialogue about unconditional friendship and teaches children and adults how to accept and support children for who they are and how they wish to look. Inspired by the author’s own son, and by her own struggles to understand, this is a mother’s story about unconditional love and acceptance at home and at school.

  • Winter, Jeanette.
    Nasreen’s secret school : a true story from Afghanistan
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: Based on a true story. After her parents are taken away by the Taliban, young Nasreen stops speaking. But as she spends time in a secret school, she slowly breaks out of her shell.

  • Meyer, Susan
    New shoes
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: “In this historical fiction picture book, Ella Mae and her cousin Charlotte, both African American, start their own shoe store when they learn that they cannot try on shoes at the shoe store”–

  • Williams-Garcia, Rita.
    One crazy summer
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

  • Bunting, Eve
    One green apple
    Recommended for: Grades 1-4
    Summary: While on a school field trip to an orchard to make cider, a young immigrant named Farah gains self-confidence when the green apple she picks perfectly complements the other students’ red apples.

  • Summary: Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.

  • Katz, Karen.
    Over the moon : an adoption tale
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: A loving couple dream of a baby born far away and know that this is the baby they have been waiting to adopt.

  • Ellis, Deborah
    Parvana’s journey
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: After her father’s death, Parvana, now thirteen-years-old, continues to search for her mother in war-torn Afghanistan, joining with two younger children who are also struggling to survive.

  • Hall, Michael
    Red : a crayon’s story
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: Red’s factory-applied label clearly says that he is red, but despite the best efforts of his teacher, fellow crayons and art supplies, and family members, he cannot seem to do anything right until a new friend offers a fresh perspective.

  • Ryan, Pam Muñoz.
    Riding Freedom
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: A fictionalized account of Charley (Charlotte) Parkhurst who ran away from an orphanage, posed as a boy, moved to California, and fooled everyone by her appearance.

  • Blue, Rose.
    Ron’s big mission
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: One summer day in 1959, nine-year-old Ron McNair, who dreams of becoming a pilot, walks into the Lake City, South Carolina, public library and insists on checking out some books, despite the rule that only white people can have library cards. Includes facts about McNair, who grew up to be an astronaut.

  • Woodson, Jacqueline.
    Show way
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: The making of “Show ways,” or quilts which once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves, is a tradition passed from mother to daughter in the author’s family.

  • Schiffer, Miriam B.
    Stella brings the family
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: Stella brings her two fathers to school to celebrate Mother’s Day.

  • Draper, Sharon M.
    Stella by starlight
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

  • Conkling, Winifred.
    Sylvia & Aki
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: At the start of World War II, Japanese-American third-grader Aki and her family are sent to an internment camp in Poston, Arizona, while Mexican-American third-grader Sylvia’s family leases their Orange County, California, farm and begins a fight to stop school segregation.

  • Ringgold, Faith
    Tar Beach
    Recommended for: Grades 1-3
    Summary: A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author’s quilt story of the same name.

  • Curtis, Jamie Lee
    Tell me again about the night I was born
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: A young girl asks her parents to tell her again the cherished family story of her birth and adoption.

  • Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux
    The book itch : freedom, truth & Harlem’s greatest bookstore
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Relates the story of the National Memorial African Bookstore, founded in Harlem by Louis Michaux in 1939, as seen from the perspective of Louis Michaux Jr., who met famous men like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X while helping there.

  • Alko, Selina.
    The case for loving : the fight for interracial marriage
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: The story of interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving, who got married in Washington, D.C., and were arrested after they returned to Virginia, and took their legal case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Taylor, Mildred D.
    The friendship
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: Four children witness a confrontation between an elderly black man and a white storekeeper in rural Mississippi in the 1930s.

  • Zia, F.
    The garden of my Imaan
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: The arrival of new student Marwa, a fellow sixth-grader who is a strict Muslim, helps Aliya come to terms with her own lukewarm practice of the faith and her embarrassment over others’ reactions to their beliefs.

  • Estes, Eleanor
    The hundred dresses
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tight-lipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson.

  • Mathis, Sharon Bell.
    The hundred penny box
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Michael’s love for his great-great-aunt who lives with them leads him to intercede with his mother who wants to toss out all her old things.

  • Levine, Kristin
    The lions of Little Rock
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: In 1958 Little Rock, Arkansas, painfully shy twelve-year-old Marlee sees her city and family divided over school integration, but her friendship with Liz, a new student, helps her find her voice and fight against racism.

  • Summary: Two best friends are separated when Lydia’s mother takes a job in London for six months, where Lydia tries to adjust to being an American in an English school and Julie has to deal with the cliques of junior high and a group of troublemakers who want to take her under their wing.

  • Levy, Dana Alison
    The misadventures of the family Fletcher
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: Relates the adventures of a family with two fathers, four adopted boys, and a variety of pets as they make their way through a school year and deal with a grumpy new neighbor.

  • Choi, Yangsook.
    The name jar
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.

  • Adler, David A.
    The number on my grandfather’s arm
    Recommended for: Grades 1-4
    Summary: A little girl questions a number printed on her grandfather’s arm and he explains how he received it in a Nazi concentration during World War II.

  • Woodson, Jacqueline.
    The other side
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: Two girls, one white and one black, gradually get to know each other as they sit on the fence that divides their town.

  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis
    The red pencil
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: “After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder”–

  • Lin, Grace
    The red thread : an adoption fairy tale
    Recommended for: Grades K-3
    Summary: A sad king and queen find joy and happiness after a mysterious red thread leads them to a baby waiting to be adopted.

  • Rania, Queen, consort of Abdullah II, King of Jordan
    The sandwich swap
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: Best friends Lily and Salma disagree over their preferred foods, but after trading sandwiches to see how they taste, the girls change their minds.

  • Roberts, Justin
    The smallest girl in the smallest grade
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: Sally McCabe is a very little girl, and nobody notices her, although she notices everything that goes on around her–but when she speaks out about the unkindness she sees, people start to pay attention.

  • Hale, Nathan
    The underground abductor
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: Araminta Ross was born a slave in Delaware in the early 19th century. Slavery meant that her family could be ripped apart at any time, and that she could be put to work in dangerous places and for abusive people. But north of the Mason-Dixon line, slavery was illegal. If she could run away and make it north without being caught or killed, she’d be free. Facing enormous danger, Araminta made it, and once free, she changed her name to Harriet Tubman. Tubman spent the rest of her life helping slaves run away like she did, every time taking her life in her hands.

  • Henkes, Kevin.
    The year of Billy Miller
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Seven-year-old Billy Miller starts second grade with a bump on his head and a lot of worries, but by the end of the year he has developed good relationships with his teacher, his little sister, and his parents and learned many important lessons.

  • Lin, Grace.
    The year of the dog : a novel
    Recommended for: Fifth Grade
    Summary: It’s the Chinese year of the dog! Pacy, a young Taiwanese American girl, sets out to apply the lessons of the Chinese Year of the Dog, those of making best friends and finding oneself, to her own life.

  • Pitman, Gayle E.
    This day in June
    Recommended for: Second Grade
    Summary: “A picture book illustrating a Pride parade. The endmatter serves as a primer on LGBT history and culture and explains the references made in the story”–

  • Curtis, Jamie Lee
    This is me : a story of who we are & where we came from
    Recommended for: Kindergarten
    Summary: “What would you take? Imagine you were leaving for a new country and could bring along only what would fit in a small suitcase. Which things would you choose to say to the world, “Hi there, this is me!””–

  • Boelts, Maribeth
    Those shoes
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: Jeremy, who longs to have the black high tops that everyone at school seems to have but his grandmother cannot afford, is excited when he sees them for sale in a thrift shop and decides to buy them even though they are the wrong size.

  • Bridges, Ruby.
    Through my eyes
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade and Fifth Grade
    Summary: Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

  • Nye, Naomi Shihab
    Turtle of Oman
    Recommended for: Fourth Grade
    Summary: When Aref, a third-grader who lives in Muscat, Oman, refuses to pack his suitcase and prepare to move to Michigan, his mother asks for help from his grandfather, his Siddi, who takes Aref around the country, storing up memories he can carry with him to a new home.

  • Igus, Toyomi.
    Two Mrs. Gibsons
    Recommended for: Grades K-3
    Summary: The biracial daughter of an African American father and a Japanese mother fondly recalls growing up with her mother and her father’s mother, two very different but equally loving women.

  • Evans, Shane.
    We march
    Recommended for: First Grade
    Summary: Illustrations and brief text portray the events of the 1963 march in Washington, D.C., where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a historic speech.

  • Brown, Dinah
    Who is Malala Yousafzai?
    Recommended for: Third Grade
    Summary: Malala Yousafzai was a girl who loved to learn but was told that girls would no longer be allowed to go to school. She wrote a blog that called attention to what was happening in her beautiful corner of Pakistan and realized that words can bring about change. She has continued to speak out for the right of all children to have an education. In 2014 she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Zolotow, Charlotte
    William’s doll
    Recommended for: First Grade and Second Grade
    Summary: William’s father gives him a basketball and a train but these do not make him want a doll less.