March 24, 2017

Subscribe to SLJ

From Refugees to Voting Rights, Books to Inspire a Just, Inclusive Society

Information gathered by the Southern Poverty Law Center indicates that hate incidents and other forms of oppression have risen as a direct result of the 2016 campaign and election, as have anxiety and fear among students and teachers from marginalized groups. The Bank Street College of Education’s mission states, “we seek to strengthen not only individuals, but the community as well, including family, school, and the larger society in which adults and children, in all their diversity, interact and learn.”

The Bank Street Credo, authored by our founder Lucy Sprague Mitchell nearly a century ago, talks about developing “flexibility when confronted with change and [the] ability to relinquish patterns that no longer fit the present” and “gentleness combined with justice in passing judgments on other human beings” in children and adults alike. We find ourselves asking: what are the special responsibilities of educators and librarians in the year 2017?

Indeed, a divisive election has shown us that there remains much work to do to help promote a deeper understanding and acceptance of our human differences. At Bank Street, we see in education the opportunity to make great strides in this effort. Learning about identity—including race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more—is key to our curricula. We strongly believe that educators and librarians have a heightened responsibility to create safe and meaningful learning environments that nurture thoughtful, empathetic, and productive citizens of tomorrow.

The following booklists—which include contributions from the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee, the Bank Street College Library, and School Library Journal—are intended to be a starting place (not a comprehensive list) to help educators and librarians create a supportive space to explore these issues and help promote an inclusive, democratic, and just society.

Immigrants/Immigration

I’m New Here

by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illus. by author. Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781580896122.000I'm New Here

Three children, immigrants from different lands, face the challenge of adjusting to school in the United States. Featuring digitally enhanced watercolor illustrations. (6–8)

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale

by Duncan Tonatiuh, illus. by author. Abrams. ISBN 9781419705830.

Pancho Rabbit, guided by a coyote, sets out to find Papa, who has been away working in the fields of El Norte far too long. Flat, Mixtec codex-inspired artwork sets an ominous mood. (6–10)

The Sun Is Also a Star

by Nicola Yoon. Delacorte. ISBN 9780553496680.

An unlikely series of events unite Natasha, an undocumented Jamaican immigrant being deported, and Daniel, a Korean American going to a college admissions interview, changing both forever. (13–17)

Lucy and Linh

by Alice Pung. Knopf. ISBN 9780399550485.

When Lucy, an immigrant from Vietnam, wins a prestigious scholarship, she must learn how to navigate the world of privilege without losing herself or her beloved heritage. (14–18)  

Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre

written and translated by René Colato Laínez, illus. by Laura Lacámara. Children’s Book Pr. ISBN 9780892392988.

A young girl discovers her mother is an alien—or is she? Featuring acrylic and collage illustrations. (8–10)

 

Refugees

Hidden

by Miriam Halahmy. Holiday House. ISBN 9780823436941.

Fourteen-year-old Alix confronts racial prejudice and moral dilemmas when an Iraqi refugee washes up on the beach near her home. (14–18)

000 Long WalkA Long Walk To Water

by Linda Sue Park. Clarion. ISBN 9780547577319.

Separated from his family at the height of the 1985 Sudanese civil war, 11-year-old Salva describes his long journey to safety. His true story is juxtaposed with Nya’s 2008 story, giving both a historical and contemporary view of life in that area of the world. (10–14)

Inside Out and Back Again

by Thanhha Lai. Harper. ISBN 9780061962783.

Ha and her family find new battles to fight in Alabama when they flee South Vietnam in 1975. (9–12)

Audacity

by Melanie Crowder. Philomel. ISBN 9780399168994.

Clara Lemlich’s life story, from her childhood in Russia to her groundbreaking labor activism in New York, is told in vivid verse. Includes historical notes and glossary. (12–15)

The Whispering Town

by Jennifer Elvgren, illus. by Fabio Santomauro. Kar-Ben. ISBN 9781467711951.

In Denmark during World War II, young Annet, her parents, and their neighbors help a Jewish family hide from Nazi soldiers until it is safe for them to leave Annet’s basement. (5–8)

 

Islam

Layla’s Head Scarf

by Miriam Cohen, illus. by Ronald Himler. Star Bright. ISBN 9781595721778.

Shy Layla, a first grader at a new school, navigates hurtful comments from classmates about her head scarf, with the help of some new friends. (4–7)

Big Red Lollipop

by Rukhsana Khan, illus. by Sophie Blackall. Viking. ISBN 9780670062874.

Not accustomed to celebrating birthdays, Rubina is excited to attend her first party, but her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. (5–9)

Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam

by Sumbul Ali-Karamali. Delacorte. ISBN 9780385740951.000 Growing Up

Learn about the teachings of the Qur’an, Ramadan, the hajj, and more. The author also explains Islam’s similarities to Christianity and Judaism and the differences among them. (10–14)

Does My Head Look Big In This?

by Randa Abdel-Fattah. Scholastic. ISBN 9780439922333.

Sixteen-year-old Amal navigates school, friendships, and romance, while also battling intolerance and bullying when she decides to wear the hijab full time. (14–18)

Written In the Stars

by Aisha Saeed. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. ISBN 9780399171703.

When her conservative Pakistani parents discover that 17-­year-­old Naila is seeing a boy, they suddenly visit Pakistan where they try to force her into an arranged marriage. (13–17)

 

Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Questioning

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. S. & S. ISBN 9781442408920.

Two Latino teens forge an uncommon friendship and come to terms with family secrets, homosexuality, and what it means to love and be loved. (14–18)

000 This DayThis Day in June

by Gayle E. Pitman, illus. by Kristyna Litten. Magination. ISBN 9781433816598.

Welcomes readers to a Pride parade. Back matter serves as a primer on LGBTQ history and culture and explains the references made in the story. (3–7)

Ash

by Malinda Lo. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316040099.

This fresh, elegant retelling of Cinderella abounds in fantasy and mystery and ends with a compelling twist. (11–14)

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

by Dana Alison Levy. Delacorte. ISBN 9780385376525.

The Fletchers—two dads, four adopted sons, one invisible cheetah—face the challenges and rewards of school and life with a grouchy new neighbor. (9–­12)

Run

by Kody Keplinger. Scholastic. ISBN 9780545831130.

Unlikely best friends Bo and Agnes skip town on a quest to find Bo’s father. Chapters alternate between the two girls’ points of view to tell the story of how they met, as well as their adventures on the road, as both grapple with reputations they do not deserve. (14–18)

 

Transgender/Nonbinary

Worm Loves Worm

Written by J.J. Austrian, illus. by Mike Curato. Harper. ISBN 9780062386335.

Worm and worm are in love and plan to get married. But does it matter which worm will be the bride and which will be the groom? Featuring whimsical pencil and Photoshop illustrations. (4–6)

I Am Jazz

by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illus. by Shelagh McNicholas. Dial. ISBN 9780803741072.000 I Am Jazz

A transgender girl tells the story of how she realized she was a girl, in spite of having male body parts, and how she taught her family and friends who she was. (5–8)

Call Me Tree/Llamame Arbol

by Maya Christina Gonzalez, illus. by author. Children’s Book Pr. ISBN 9780892392940.

A bilingual lyrical tale that follows one child/tree from the depths of Mami/Earth to the heights of the sky. (5–8)

Symptoms of Being Human

by Jeff Garvin. Harper. ISBN 9780062382863.

Blogging anonymously helps gender-fluid Riley cope with isolation and terrifying anxiety attacks—until the blog goes viral and Riley fears being outed and abused. (13–17)

George

by Alex Gino. Scholastic. ISBN 9780545812542.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this secret forever, but when her class puts on a play of Charlotte’s Web, George comes up with a plan so that everyone can know who she is. (8–11)

 

Intersex

000 NoneNone of the Above

by I.W. Gregorio. Harper. ISBN 9780062335319.

A visit to the doctor reveals that Kristin is intersex: although she looks and feels like a girl, she has male chromosomes. When her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self? (14+)

 

Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault

Your Body Belongs To You

by Cornelia Maude Spelman, illus. by Teri L Weidner. Albert Whitman. ISBN 9780807594735.

Teaches children what to do and say if someone touches a body part that would be covered by a bathing suit. Also includes helpful language for adults to use with children. (3–7)

Speak

by Laurie Halse Anderson. Farrar. ISBN 9780312674397.

Melinda, struggling to cope with trauma after being raped, becomes increasingly isolated and selectively mute during her freshman year of high school. Art and newfound inner strength help her find her voice. (12+)

Inexcusable

by Chris Lynch. S. & S. ISBN 9781481432023.

Keir, a self-professed “good guy”, gradually loses the ability to take responsibility for his actions, becoming less and less compassionate and more and more reckless—until he crosses the line and rapes his friend Gigi. (13+)

What We Saw000What We Saw

by Aaron Hartzler. HarperTeen. ISBN 9780062338747.

When a sexual assault occurs at a high school party, friendships are tested and an entire town becomes embroiled in controversy. (15–18)

Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and You

by Cory Silverberg, illus. by Fiona Smyth. Triangle Square. ISBN 9781609806064.

A nonfiction comic book that includes information on bodies, gender, and sexuality. Features children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities. (8+)

 

Disability

When Reason Breaks

by Cindy L Rodriguez. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781619634121.

Emily and Elizabeth, paired together for a project on Emily Dickinson, fight to conceal monumental secrets, battling depression, anxiety, and rage. (13–18)

000 KingKing For a Day

by Rukhsana Khan, illus. by Christiane Krömer. Lee & Low. ISBN 9781600606595.

Stationed in his wheelchair on a rooftop in Lahore, Malik celebrates the Festival of Basant, expertly bringing down competitors’ kites with his small, speedy kite. Featuring colorful mixedmedia collages. (610)

Kinda Like Brothers

by Coe Booth. Scholastic. ISBN 9780545224963.

Jarrett’s life is jarred when a new baby and her older brother show up as foster children. Forced to share a room, Jarrett and Kevon instantly distrust each other; their relationship grows and falters over the course of summer. (11–14)

Handbook for Dragon Slayers

by Merrie Haskell. Harper. ISBN 9780062008169.

Yearning for life in a cloistered scriptorium, 13-year-old Princess Matilda, whose lame foot brings fear of the evil eye, escapes her scheming cousin Ivo and joins her servant Judith and an old friend, Parz, in hunting dragons and writing about them. (11–14)

The Real Boy

by Anne Ursu, illus. by Erin McGuire. Harper/Walden Pond. ISBN 9780062015075.

Eleven-yearold Oscar, an orphan, struggles to understand and express himself while working as an apothecary’s assistant in a town experiencing strange illnesses. (1114)

 

Women in Leadership

Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World

Written by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illus. by Sonia Lynn Sadler. Lee & Low. ISBN 9781600603679.

Tells the story of Wangari Maathai’s life, from earning her doctorate in biology, to working for women’s rights, to being unjustly jailed, to the revolutionary movement she led to plant 30 million trees in Kenya. (6–10)

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History… and Our Future!

Written by Kate Schatz, illus. by Miriam Klein Stahl. City Lights. ISBN 9780872866836.

U.S. history was made by countless rad—and often radical—women. Featuring information about a fresh and diverse array of women role models. (10–14)

Night Flying Woman: An Ojibway Narrative000 Night

by Ignatia Broker. Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN 9780873511674.

The author tells the story of her great-great-grandmother and subsequent generations of women who survived the shock and trauma of European invasion. (9–14)

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx/La juez que crecio en el Bronx

Written by Jonah Winter, illus. by Edel Rodriguez. S. & S./Atheneum. ISBN 9781442403031.

Sonia Sotomayor’s mother instills a sense of pride and a love of learning in her, so that by the time she turns eight, she knows she wants to be a judge. (5–8)

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

by Kadir Nelson, illus. by author. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. ISBN 9780061730740.

A grandmother relates the history of African Americans up to the present day. Accompanied by brilliant oil paintings. (9–13)

 

English/Spanish Bilingual

Salsa: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem

by Jorge Argueta, translated from the Spanish by Elisa Amado, illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. Groundwood. 000 SalsaISBN 9781554984428.

A young girl and her family make red salsa and musically celebrate their culture and ancestry. Featuring flat, stylistic illustrations. Spanish and English text. (5–10)

How Do You Say?/¿Cómo Se Dice?

by Angela Dominguez, illus. by author. Holt. ISBN 9781627794961.

Two giraffes meet, become friends, and party, exchanging simple words in Spanish and English. (2–5)

El Violín de Ada/ Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

by Susan Hood, illus. by Sally Wern Comport. S. & S. ISBN 9781481430951.

Ada grows up hopeless in a garbage-dump town until she learns how to play a violin made of debris and joins an orchestra. Featuring mixed-media illustrations. Also available in Spanish. (6–8)  

Mango, Abuela and Me/Mango, Abuela Y Yo

by Meg Medina, illus. by Angela Dominguez. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763680992.

When Mia’s Abuela comes to live with Mia and her family, Mia helps Abuela learn English while Mia learns Spanish, both with the help of a parrot named Mango. (5–8)

Viva Frida

by Yuyi Morales, illus. by author, photos by Tim O’Meara. Neal Porter Bks. ISBN 9781596436039.

Artist Frida Kahlo, manifested both as a puppet and as an acrylic-painted figure, sees, plays, dreams, creates, and lives. With vivid, powerful colors and dynamic spreads. (6–10)

 

Voting Rights

Marching For Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary

by Elizabeth Partridge. Viking. ISBN 9780670011896.

The story, including music and photos, of the three-month protest that took place before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark march from Selma to Montgomery to promote equal rights and help African-Americans earn the right to vote. (11+)

“March” trilogy

by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illus. by Nate Powell. Top Shelf. ISBN 978160309­3002.

Activist and Congressman John Lewis provides an intimate portrayal of the American Civil Rights movement, powerfully told in a graphic novel format. (1215)

Vote!

by Eileen Christelow, illus. by author. Clarion. ISBN 9780547059730.

Explains the U.S. voting process, from campaigns to recounts, in colorful illustrations and clear, accessible text. (7–11)

Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told

by Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Bonnie Christensen. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060544683.

Tells the story of how Ida B. Wells, born into slavery, became a writer, speaker, activist, and educator 000 Fannieas she spoke out for the rights of Black people and women, and against injustice, in particular the horrors of lynching. (8–12)

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Ekua Holmes. Candlewick Press. ISBN 978­07636­65319.

Born into extreme poverty in Mississippi in 1917, African American activist Fannie Lou Hamer fought tirelessly for voting rights and social justice. Told in free verse with vibrant collages. (10–13)

 

Democratic Process

Grace for President

by Kelly Dipucchio, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 9781423139997.

Shocked to learn that a woman has never been president of the United States, Grace decides to run for president of her school. When the electoral votes are counted, will she triumph? (6–9)

If I Ran for President

by Catherine Stier, illus. by Lynne Avril. Albert Whitman. ISBN 9780807535448.

Details the process of running for president, from primaries and conventions to debates and being sworn in. (6–9)

See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White House

by Susan E. Goodman, illus. by Elwood Smith. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781599908977.

Tells the history of democracy, complete with funny stories, witty illustrations, and solid information. (8–12)

Duck for President

000 Artby Doreen Cronin, illus. by author. S. & S. ISBN 9780689863776.

When Duck becomes dissatisfied with the farm, he aspires to change his job, and, after several elections and many recounts, is elected president. (5–8)

The Art of the Possible: An Everyday Guide to Politics

by Edward Keenan, illus. by Julie McLaughlin. Owlkids. ISBN 9781771470681.

An accessible but thorough exploration of Western politics and democracy. Delves into polarization, checks and balances, activism, and the ideology behind practice. (11–15)

                                                                                                                                           

Children’s Rights

Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan: Two Stories of Bravery

by Jeanette Winter, illus. by author. S. & S./Beach Lane. ISBN 9781481422949.

The biographies of two Pakistani children’s rights activists, Malala Yousafzai and Iqbal Masih, join together in one to create a radiant whole. Featuring flat, child-centric illustrations. (6–9)

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909

by Michelle Markel, illus. by Melissa Sweet. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. ISBN 9780­061804427.

Newly arrived in New York City as an immigrant, Clara Lemlich went from overworked factory seamstress to pioneering labor leader. With mixed-­media illustrations and solid references. (79)

Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor

by Russell Freedman, photos by Lewis Hine. Clarion. ISBN 9780395797266.

Lewis Hine uses the art of photography to expose the brutality of child labor and advocate for children’s rights. (12–16)

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March000 Job

by Cynthia Levinson. Peachtree. ISBN 9781561458448.

On May 3, 1963, young people all over Birmingham, AL, skipped school to participate in a march protesting segregation, knowing they would probably be arrested. Discover the history of this Children’s March and follow the day-to-day experiences of four young participants. (12–16)

Kid Blink Beats the World

by Don Brown, illus. by author. Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781596430037.

Kid Blink unites the children who sell newspapers for pennies to demand better pay and treatment from powerful mogul Joseph Pulitzer. (7–10)

 

History

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving

by Catherine O’Neill Bruchac Grace. National Geographic. ISBN 9780792270270.

Tells the story and reveals the actual events during the three days that Wampanoag people and European colonists came together in what is often termed “the first Thanksgiving.” (8–12)

A Young People’s History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror

by Howard Zinn, adapted by Rebecca Stefoff. Triangle Square. ISBN 9781583228692.

Chapters of U.S. history are told from the points of view of enslaved people, Native people, immigrants, and workers, with an emphasis on telling the truth about often-overlooked aspects of history. (12–18)

000 AintAin’t Nothing but a Man

by Scott Reynolds Nelson. National Geographic. ISBN 9781426300004.

Dual narratives tell the stories of the real John Henry and how a researcher searched until he uncovered the truth about the man who beat a steam drill. (10+)

Baseball Saved Us

by Ken Mochizuki, illus. by Dom Lee. Lee and Low. ISBN 9781880000199.

Playing baseball makes life less grim for a boy who, like all Japanese Americans during World War II, has been sent to an internment camp.  Later, lessons learned from baseball help him deal with prejudice. (7–11)

A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America

by Ronald T. Takaki. Triangle Square. ISBN 9781609804169.

Letters, diaries, and poems share the hopes, dreams, frustrations, oppression, and heartaches of American people young and old. (11–15)

 

Bullying

Each Kindness

by Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by E.B. Lewis. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. ISBN 9780399246524.

When Chloe is given some advice about how small kindnesses can make a difference, she regrets a missed opportunity for friendship. With evocative watercolor illustrations. (5–8)

Oliver Button Is a Sissy

by Tomie dePaola, illus. by author. Voyager. ISBN 9780156681407.

Oliver is an artist, a dancer, a reader, and a dreamer, and nothing, not even his classmates’ cruel taunts, can stop him from doing what he loves. (4–8)

Words Are Not For Hurting

by Elizabeth Verdick, illus. by Marieka Heinlen. Free Spirit. ISBN 9781575421568.

Encourages preschoolers to think before they speak, and teaches them to recognize how words can hurt other people. Includes helpful messages for adults as well. (2–5)

Wings000Wings

by Christopher Myers, illus. by author. Scholastic. ISBN 9780590033770.

Ikarus Jackson’s wings make him a target for bullies at school, until one girl speaks up to advocate on his behalf.  (6–10)

Red: A Crayon’s Story

by Michael Hall, illus. by author. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. ISBN 978­006­2252074.

His label says he’s red, but everything he draws is blue. Will other crayons ever understand him? Featuring digitally combined crayon and cut­paper art. (3+)

 

Racism/Injustice Nonfiction

The People Shall Continue

by Simon Ortiz, illus. by Sharol Graves. Children’s Book Pr. ISBN 9780892391257.

An epic poem traces the history of Native peoples, telling stories of community, survival, and strength in the face of invasion and atrocities committed by Europeans. (6+)

The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial

by Susan E. Goodman, illus. by E.B. Lewis. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9780802737397.

In 1847 in Boston, an African American family challenges the law that prevents young Sarah Roberts from attending her neighborhood school. With soft-toned watercolor and gouache illustrations and extensive back matter. (8–10)

000 AloneWhen We Were Alone

by David A. Robertson, illus. by Julie Flett. Portage & Main. ISBN 9781553796732.

A young girl asks her kókom a series of questions and learns what her childhood was like at home; at the boarding school she went to; and, when she and her classmates managed to escape from their captors for a few minutes at a time, during which they remembered, and briefly relived, happy times. (6–9)

Separate Is Never Equal

by Duncan Tonatiuh, illus. by author. Abrams. ISBN 9781419710544.

Sylvia Mendez was sent to a segregated school for Mexicans instead of her local public school, but her family fought back, and won, seven years before the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. Featuring hand-drawn, digitally colored and collaged illustrations and extensive back matter. (7–10)

Crossing Bok Chitto

by Tim Tingle, illus. by Jeanne Rorex Bridges. Cinco Puntos. ISBN 9781933693200.

During the 1800s, a young Choctaw girl helps an African American family escape from slavery on a Mississippi plantation to freedom in the Choctaw nation. (8–12)

 

Climate Change

Eyes Wide Open

by Paul Fleischman. Candlewick Press. ISBN 9780763671020.

Thoughtful essays about the interconnectivity of events, countries, and politics related to the environment address many critical issues. With extensive resources for further research and a special section on how to weigh information. (13–18)

Ship Breaker000 Eyes

by Paulo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316056199.

Nailer, who scrapes out an existence scavenging copper from grounded ships, must decide whether to strip a ship filled with valuables or rescue a stranded heiress. (12–18)

We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change

by Tim Flannery, adapted by Sally M. Walker. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763636562.

Offers a clear and accessible history of climate change, along with steps teenagers can take to be green and save the earth. (12–16)

First Light

by Rebecca Stead. Random/Yearling. ISBN 9780440422228.

Peter, transplanted to Greenland for the sake of his father’s research, stumbles upon Thea, whose hidden, secret world under the ice is being threatened by climate change. (11–15)

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth

by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm, illus. by Molly Bang. Scholastic/Blue Sky Pr. ISBN 9780545577854.

Simple text and bright, stunning illustrations explain carbon and fossil fuels, and the connection between sunlight and all life on earth. (5–8)

 

Protest and Activism

Kids On Strike!

by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. HMH. ISBN 9780618369232.

Newsies, bobbin girls, and coal workers say “No!” to inhumane and unfair working conditions and pay. The movement culminates in Mother Jones’ 125-mile march for children’s rights. (10+)

Si Se Puede/Yes We Can: Janitor Strike in L.A.

by Diana Cohn, illus. by Francisco Delgado. Cinco Puntos. ISBN 9780938317890.

Carlitos, whose mother is on strike due to bad conditions and unfairly low wages, helps support the strikers by organizing with his classmates to paint signs and join the rally. (6–9)

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

by Kathleen Krull, illus. by Yuyi Morales. HMH. ISBN 9780152014377.

Cesar Chavez grows from a shy, quiet boy who is bullied at school to a civil rights hero who leads the historic march for “La Causa” and founds the National Farm Workers Association. (6–10)

000 MarchTeammates

by Peter Golenbock, illus. by Paul Bacon. Voyager. ISBN 9780152842864.

While many of Jackie Robinson’s white teammates tormented him, and Dodgers’ fans harassed him, Pee Wee Reese supported him with the simple act of putting an arm around his shoulders. (6–10)

We March

by Shane W. Evans, illus. by author. Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781596435391.

A mother, father, and their two children get up early to join the historic 1963 March on Washington and hear Martin Luther King Jr. give his famous speech. Featuring watercolor and pencil illustrations. (5–7)

 

Racism in Fiction

All American Boys

by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely. S. & S./Atheneum. ISBN 97814814­63331.

When a white police officer unjustly attacks him, Rashad’s world changes forever, as does the life of Quinn, a white boy who witnesses the attack. (13–18)

A Wish After Midnight

by Zetta Elliott. Amazon Encore. ISBN 9780982555057.000 Wish

Genna’s world is upended when a wish sends her and her boyfriend Judah back in time to Civil War-era New York City. (14+)

Zombie Baseball Beatdown

by Paolo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316220781.

Three 13-year-old friends discover that an illegal practice in the meatpacking plant have caused cows to turn into zombies. (10–13)

American Born Chinese

by Gene Luen Yang, illus. by author. First Second. ISBN 9780312384487.

Three interrelated stories about Chinese American identity, friendship, strength, oppression, and self-acceptance. (12+)

Unidentified Suburban Object

by Mike Jung. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. ISBN 9780545782265.

Chloe thinks she owes everything—her musical talent and her good grades—to the fact that she is the only Korean American person in her school. But life gets stranger. (9–11)

Share

Comments

  1. Are there no Christianity topical book picks for children to include for diversity? Why only include Islam? It seems that this article is non-inclusive even though the title would make it appear otherwise.

    • Christianity is not under attack in the United States of America, that’s probably why it’s not included on this list. This list is focusing on groups that have been directly impacted by recent policies.

    • Kelly Loy Gilbert says:

      Sarah, I’m a Christian author (who writes about Christianity) and I think this list correctly carries the assumption that Christianity’s voice is already very much included in our society. Most Americans identify as Christians (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=90356&page=1), whereas there are just 3.3 million Muslims according to recent estimates (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/06/a-new-estimate-of-the-u-s-muslim-population/); the odds that a child will never know a Muslim are quite high, and the odds that s/he’ll never know (let alone be) a Christian are vanishingly small. There are many excellent books for young people that deal with or are about Christianity, but I think it’s difficult to make the argument that young readers need to read those books in order to be exposed to what’s already a very dominant force in society in the same way that would be true of books about minority experiences.

  2. A teacher and a parent says:

    A colleague pointed out to me that the political left and social justice warriors agglomerate Judaism and Jewish people in with the dominant white culture. She noted that this is true even though Jewish people are currently subject to the most hate crimes of any religious group, and that the recent rash of swastika graffiti is surely directed at them. I disagreed.

    This list of more than 100 books from Bank Street, which contains five books about Islam, at least ten about sexual minorities, but just one about a Jewish person (and that one is a Holocaust refugee story), speaks for itself. It says that she is right and I am wrong.

    • I agree with Sam Bloom. (I identify as a white Jewish cisgender female). I haven’t looked that closely at the list, but there are actually multiple books about Jewish people. I’m excited that two of the featured books are about one of my heroes, Clara Lemlich, who was Jewish and amazing and known for organizing union workers to strike with a famous speech delivered in Yiddish. See for example https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/shavelson-clara-lemlich

      • A teacher and a parent says:

        Beth (and Sam), thank you for responding. I have to ask, doesn’t it seem strange then that both book listings about Clara Lemlich do not mention her Judaism or Jewishness? Unless the writers thought it was irrelevant to who she was. Which goes right back to my friend’s point about the puzzling and perhaps subconscious agglomeration of Jewish people with the dominant culture, despite all the hate crimes and swastikas.

        • Alicia Blowers says:

          It is a bit surprising that the annotation for AUDACITY does not mention that Clara and her family are Jewish, particularly given their reasons for coming to the U.S. (religious persecution) and that her father was a Torah scholar, necessitating her getting a job to support the family.

          Though the MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER isn’t about their religion, I’m certain they identify as Jewish, and if I recall correctly, one of the son’s Bar Mitzvah preparation is a subplot.

          I try to remind my students that books aren’t about “just one thing” and have many layers. A novel in verse may be about a person with a disability and have a historical setting. A graphic novel may be a memoir that deals with racism or be set in another culture. Sometimes it’s hard to list out all of the different features of a text. I don’t fault the authors of the list for not including every detail or including every type of diversity as a sub-section of the list (for certainly then it would go on forever!). I think that’s what is great about the comments section! It’s a place to recommend other titles, to add other types of diversity and to converse respectfully as professionals. No list can be everything to everyone. But we librarians can identify weaknesses and/or oversights and help add to and improve the list.

  3. I notice a few comments here focusing more on what was excluded rather than the excellent books that were included. Speaking as a white, Jewish man, I can tell you that I have so very many privileges, and my primary concern is using those privileges to advocate for those who DON’T have as much privilege. That’s why I appreciate this booklist, because I can use these titles to do just that.

  4. Wonderful list! May I please suggest the titles by a small publisher, Penny Candy Books? Dedicated to diversity, one recent title I wish to highlight is the gorgeous free verse picture book, A Gift From Greensboro. It’s about a childhood friendship during the historic era of sit-ins. Authored by acclaimed poet, Quraysh Ali Lansana; beautifully illustrated by Skip Hill. PennyCandyBooks.com I am honored that PCB has acquired my late mom’s manuscript, a haiku alphabet PB. Sydell Rosenberg, an accomplished haikuist and teacher, will be in distinguished company. If you want a copy of Greensboro, let me know. Thank you!

  5. I would like to add another recommendation under the topic of refugees:
    Stepping Stones: a refugee family’s journey by Margriet Ruurs, illus. by Nizar Ali Badr

  6. “Messages From Maryam” is another great book about Muslim refugees from Mosul, Iraq. It’s a picture book and it would be great for upper elementary school students.

  7. Thank you for this list! Please consider listing A SEASON FOR BUILDING HOUSES, 30 personal stories and poems about HOME by immigrant and refugee teens from countries like Iraq, South Sudan, the DRC, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, Burundi, Rwanda, and many more. They use their own words to tell their stories–how inspiring they are! http://www.tellingroom.org/store

  8. A promotion of a deeper understanding and acceptance of differences is a worthy attribute to be practiced even by the “marginalized” group. And I disagree with Tanya’s view that Christianity is not under attack in the United States. Our belief system is constantly under attack within the institution of family. Let’s see some books on intact family units and uphold the basic unit our country was established upon instead of the sexual indoctrination that has been forced upon us.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*