You all asked to know which books were delivered on Giving Tuesday for the Bookishly Diverse Holidays, and I’m excited to share the list with you. Keep in mind, not every recipient got all of these books. Each teacher expressed to me different classroom makeups and general ideas of what their class might need. They’re the real MVPs. Some classrooms needed Black and Asian representation. Some classrooms were requesting the books to share with an entire building of diverse students, and yet another classroom consisted of 13 languages spoken by ESL learners! Stay tuned for much deserved shoutouts to each of these awesome teachers coming up!
Two notes before we begin: there are lots of amazon links in this post because that is just how I’m familiar with sharing books, but in no way are they affiliate links. I make no money by sharing these books.
Second, what are diverse books? It seems like a silly question, but the distinction is important. A book about Malala Yousafzai is no more diverse than Anne Frank’s Diary. It’s just a person’s unique and powerful experience. But as a collection, these books on a shelf would represent people of all types, colors, places, and skills. And that’s diverse.
Young Readers (Kindergarten – 2)
Another by Christian Robinson
This is actually a wordless picture book, which is so fun for all you parents that don’t read the real story anyway. It is a fun adventure of imagination in a world that is sometimes topsy turvy and wild.
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard
Nothing binds families like food, and this is the story of how fry bread binds Indigenous peoples of America together in a verse as soulful as fry bread itself.
The Boy Who Grew A Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Sophia Gholz
I don’t know what is more amazing – the illustrations by Kayla Harren or the actual story. This story of a boy in India is a reminder that we each have the ability to literally change the face of the earth.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Does your name mean something special? Are you named after someone in your family? Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela is named after MANY people that inspired her parents. When she comes to feel embarrassed about the length of her name, she is taken through a loving and insightful trip of exactly what her name means and why its a perfect fit.
Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run A Marathon by Simran Jeet Singh
I have to give a shoutout to Simran Jeet Singh, who was so quick to be supportive of the Bookishly Diverse project and helped get copies of this book. Fauja Singh is truly an inspiration, living up to the words of his mother: “You know yourself, Fauja, and you know what you are capable of. Today is a chance to do your best.” We learn from him that when we do our best every day, we might just change the world.
I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown
Karamo takes the love of his father and sends it to children everywhere, saying the things that every child wants to hear from their dad. The things he remembers feeling his dad say to him. Whether you’re a father who doesn’t know what to say, a child that doesn’t hear it enough, or a person of any age wishing they could call their dad right now and be told just the right thing, Karamo has given you a beautiful gift in this book.
Middle Grade Readers (Grades 3 – 7)
Song For A Whale by Lynne Kelly
Sometimes our differences blind people to seeing the brilliance each of us brings to the table. For Iris, her difference is deafening. Literally. She is the only deaf person in her school, and classmates often act like she is not smart because she is not the same. In this story, she learns about a whale that cannot communicate with its species, and she has an immediate connection to the animal that lets her genius and compassion shine as she comes up with a way to “sing” to this whale who must feel as lonely as her.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (Young Readers) by William Kamkwamba
As Malawi falls into drought, famine, and economic chaos, William faces one crippling blow after the next – but none seem to haunt him as much as not being able to afford further schooling. He determines to bring electric wind, and eventually water to his village. He learns all he can and hunts for knowledge at every turn until he finally does what the village thought impossible.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Sticking out at a new school can be a kid’s worst nightmare. Jordan has to navigate two worlds and try to hold on to his identity in this story.
Two Naomis by Olugmenisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick
Handling a divorce can be traumatic enough, but what do you do when your parent starts dating someone else? And then you have to be friends with someone you don’t want to be friends with? Naomi Edith and Naomi Marie give a realistic and funny insight into how to cope with divorce and new family dynamics.
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
Mimi is half Black, half Japanese, and living in 1969. Apollo 11 is about to launch and she refuses to let anyone tell her that she won’t be an astronaut one day too. She stands up for herself and what’s right, and shows just how powerful her voice can be in this novel.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
Candice finds a letter addressed to her grandmother and suddenly finds herself in the middle of a full-blown mystery. With the help of the quiet neighbor kid, she tries to solve the mystery and find a fortune before its too late.
My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero
Diane tells her very own story of being 14 years old and separated from her parents as they were deported to Colombia. Through grit, perseverance, and the kindness of others she made a path for herself that at times seemed to rough to continue. At the end, she gives a call to action to readers, really using her voice to inspire change.
The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio
Lou is a young Filipino in a large Filipino family that can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, no matter how lovable they are. She loves building and determines to build her own dream house. When it turns out to be harder than she expected, her friends and family have her back and turn her dream house into a real home.
More to the Story by Hena Khan
Jameela and her sisters are like many other sisters in the world. They fight, they protect each other, they love, annoy, and inspire each other. When their dad has to go overseas, these four sisters grow together. Jameela wants to be an award-winning journalist in the long run, but the short-term focus is impressing her dad with an awesome article while he’s gone. This book explores identity and ethical journal writing.
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Amina has a beautiful voice, and a fear of public singing after a slightly traumatic incident. In this story, her voice is put to the test as she struggles with friends, defends her identity, tries to convey her feelings about her vandalized mosque, and learns to speak up in many different settings.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
This is a heavy read, but so beautiful. In 1947 India and Pakistan became two separate countries. Pakistan with a Muslim majority, and India a Hindu nation. Nisha is half-Hindu and half-Muslim, trying to figure out her identity as her father decides its not safe to stay in Pakistan. To cope with becoming a refugee, she writes letters to her late mother, sharing her feelings and experiences in a poignant way.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Mia is a Chinese American immigrant, and her family is desperately looking for work, but all they can find is the awful Mr. Yao, who abuses and belittles people left and right. At the front desk, Mia gets a front row look at the racism and abuses and collects the stories of other immigrants like herself. Immigrants that her parents are hiding from the hateful Mr. Yao in the hotel where they live.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
When the beautiful Swat Valley of Pakistan, a tourist destination, becomes corrupted by evil men and false teachings, the whole world turns upside down. What the Taliban could have never expected was for a little girl to become one of the biggest threats to their growing influence. She and her father are the unexpected champions of education and women’s rights that the country need, and through her father’s love, support and connections, he makes Malala’s voice heard. How could he know that would put a target on her head? Only, by trying to get rid of her, the Taliban makes her voice even more powerful. This story is incredibly moving.
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
Six students are given an assignment to meet regularly and discuss the trials and different challenges they each face. Without adult supervision or interruption. Their conversations in the ARRT room allow them to be themselves, lift each other up, and give us all conversation starters of our own to take to our students.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jean Mendoza, and Debbie Reese
This is a must for understanding what really happened to Indigenous peoples throughout US history.
This Book is Antiracist by Tiffany Jewel
Like the title says, this book has 20 lessons for teachers to guide their students into the work of antiracism.