Educational Services » Race and Diversity Resources

Race and Diversity Resources

 

June 2, 2020

Dear ESUSD Parents, Staff and Community,

Over the past week, we watched peaceful protests for justice and equality after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota. We saw thousands of people across our nation engage in powerful nonviolent peaceful protest asserting the need for change and hope. We also witnessed images of senseless violence in our communities and across America. Please know that ESUSD stands committed to reject racism and teach students to stand up for justice.

I am sensitive to the fact that our students, while they remain at home, will be processing and making meaning of all that is happening. As parents, you are the first responder for your child to make sense of the world and answer questions. As adults, we must teach them to peacefully stand up against injustice, racism, and inequality. As educators, we must teach them acceptance, tolerance and democratic values. For children, exposure to issues that are undoubtedly difficult for adults to process, can create anxiety that they don’t developmentally know how to process.

If it is helpful, here are some resources you may consider (adapt for the ages of the children):

 

  • Guidance for parents during a safety crisis
    • Reassure your children that they are safe.
    • Listen with your full attention to what questions they may have and inform them through age-appropriate conversation.
    • Acknowledge your child’s feelings and watch for signs of distress.
    • Model self-care, and know that our children are always watching us for cues on how they should react 
  • Limit ongoing exposure to television news in common areas of the home, be mindful of adult discussions in the presence of children.
  • Check in with your children to learn what they may be seeing or hearing from their friends. 
  • Talk with your children about the role of our local police and how they should not be afraid to ask them for help when they need them. 
  • I thought that Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar’s Op-Ed piece in the LA Times was extremely powerful and insightful. It addresses difficult issues, which are helpful as we seek to understand. 
  • Here are some links to articles that you may find useful:

Articles:

Developmental Timeline- recognizing race

Creating an equal society

Why teaching Black Lives Matter Matters

Understanding race and privilege

How to talk to kids about...:

Advocacy

Disaster and trauma

Hate incidents

Violence

Protests (emphasis on kids under the age of 6)

 

I hope that some of these resources are helpful to you. Our thoughts are with everyone, and I am wishing for peace, understanding, and justice, some of the dreams that all parents and educators have for our children. We all play an important role moving forward.

 

With gratitude that we are in this together,

 

Melissa Moore, Ed.D.

Superintendent

El Segundo Unified School District

 



Collected Resources
 

- Anti-Racism Resource List (Flicker and Klein)

- Antiracist Reading Recs (Loyalty Bookstores)
 
 
Link to CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall to Address Racism.
 
 
*CNN video - How to Explain Racism to Kids - Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms takes questions along with CNN's Van Jones and Erica Hill about how to combat racism, and shares a message with kids about how to make a change. (From Sesame Street's Coming Together Town Hall). 
 
*Brightly - Raise Kids Who Love to Read is a site I have always loved. They have put together an amazing list of resources: Books and Resources to Help You Raise Anti-Racist Children.
 
*All Are Welcome Here Book Collection - this links to an amazing bookshelf of stories.  Click on the books to hear them read aloud or support the authors by purchasing these books. It is important to fill our homes and classrooms with books that reflect diversity, empathy, inclusion, and kindness.
 
Visit this interactive picture book collection designed to capture the history of the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of collective voices. It was put together by another elementary school, but I wanted to share the books with you. As a family, you may want to choose to listen to some of these stories and discuss them.
 
*Mrs. Potts, our Art Teacher, has put together an incredible Padlet - Anti-Racist Resources for Teaching Art.  You'll find many books and resources in addition to art resources.
 

"As a teacher, parent, or caregiver, you may be at a loss for words right now. But silence is not an option. Racism thrives in silence, and having open and honest conversations with kids is crucial, even at a very early age. It’s important to acknowledge that children see racial identity and skin color. When we acknowledge identity—and encourage kids to take pride in their diversity and respect the diversity of others—we empower them to stand up to racial injustice. Talking about these issues with children also allows us to open the door to how they can disrupt inequality and combat systemic racism."

*Newsela - for those with older children

"At Newsela, our role is to give teachers and students diverse perspectives, unheard narratives, and other content that educates them on the issues, alongside the tools to discuss and take action. Specifically, we’ll continue to cover the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, as well as the nationwide protests, along with instructional supports attached to many of our articles."

Our team has also created this guide on teaching the news about the protests

Diverse Book list--Picture books-Middle grade

 

 

 

Jamie B. Garcia, MLIS

Early Literacy Specialist

Washington-Centerville Public Library

jgarcia@wcpl.lib.oh.us



Diverse books: 


Asian Heritage


-Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh  (Muslim immigrant experience and cultural appreciation) 

-Crescent Moons and Painted Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes by Hena Khan  (beautiful works of art, cultural appreciation, diversity) 

-Holi Colors by Rina Singh (a board book but shows the beautiful cultural tradition of Holi)

*Festival of Colors by Surishtha Sehgal (another picture book about the Indian Festival of Colors) 

*The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (respecting new students with different names)

-Thread of Love by Kabir Sehgal (about the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan)

The Tiger in my Soup by Kasmira Sheth (diverse characters-India) I haven’t read it but it came up on a list I found online and has some good reviews on Goodreads.

-Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan (diverse characters. Pakistani)

-Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman (Indian main character and fairy tale)

-Peg and Cat: The Eid al-Adha Adventure by Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson

-T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet by Varsha Bajaj (excellent pictures featuring important Indian landmarks)

-Leila in Saffron by Rukhsanna Guidroz (Pakistan & loving your culture and family)

*Bilal Cooks Saal by Aisha Saeed (Bilal cants to make a South Asian dish for his friends, will they like it?)


African American Heritage

*Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow  (features love and respect for the headscarf)

*My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera  (how beautiful black hair is)

*I Am Enough by Grace Byers  (loving who you are and respecting others even though they may be different)

-Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed  (how little girls of color can and should dream big)

-Don’t Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller (about having beautiful black hair but that it is not ok to touch it)

-Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena (grandmother and grandson travel on the bus and notice different neighborhoods)

-Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes (a celebration of black male hair)

*Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (an amazing story about a young girl who will do anything to be what she wants to be)

-Early Sunday Morning by Denene Miller (good for helping with courage, bravery, and stage fright)

*Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty (black girls can be amazing scientists too—STEAM) 

*Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry (A black father helps his black daughter love and appreciate her beautiful hair). 

*The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander (Looking at black heroes and their wonderful accomplishments.)

*Chocolate Me by Taye Diggs (A celebration of beautiful black skin.)

*Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney (A celebration of all of the different black skin tones.)

*Did I Tell You I Love You Today? By Deloris Jordan (Black mother and her son.)

*I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison (Black girl lead character dancing to the sounds of the city.)

*The Amazingly Awesome Amani by Jamiyl & Tracy-Ann Samuels (A little black boy named Amani lives out his daily life but is a superhero in his dreams.)


Hispanic Heritage


*Dreamers by Yuyi Morales (immigrant experience and Hispanic culture)

*Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza (celebrates the Hispanic Luchadora wrestlers and reinforces that girls can be wrestlers too)

*Dear Primo by Duncan Tonatiuh  (two Hispanic cousins live apart from each other [one in NY and the other in Mexico] and they learn that their lives are not that different. 

-Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong (A girl notices shapes that are abundant in her predominately Hispanic neighborhood) 

-Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina (Meg’s grandmother visits, but she does not speak English so they find other ways to communicate and enjoy each other’s company)

-No English by Jacqueline Jules (a Hispanic girl comes new to school and doesn’t understand English and another student doesn’t think it’s fair until she learns more about her)

*Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Aldamuy Denise (Excellent biography of an amazing Latina Librarian.)

*My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Zeke Pena (Wonderful story of a man and his daughter exploring their Hispanic neighborhood.)

*Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation  by Duncan Tonatiuh (Looks at the segregation of not black students, but Hispanic students in the South during the 1950s and 1960s.)

-Abuelita’s Secret by Alma Flor Ada (A little boy is embarrassed to talk about his family and about Cuba on his show and tell day, but his classmates are very interested and shows love and acceptance.)

*Lil Libros board book series: Selena, Vámanos: San Salvador, Un Elefante, Lucha Libre, etc. There are so many in this series, fun illustrations, and perfect for all ages to learn more about South American countries, heroes, and cultures. Has both English and Spanish. 

*Pepe and the Parade: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage by Tracey Kyle (One of my all-time favorite Hispanic heritage-themed books, inclusive of many different South American traditions and cultures.)

*Our Celebración by Susan Middleton Elya (Join the characters as they go to a celebration, learn some Spanish too!)

*F is for Fiesta by Susan Middleton Elya (ABCS of Spanish language, heritage, people, and culture.)

*Cowboy José by Susan Middleton Elya (A cowboy falls in love with a girl, some Spanish too.)

***Anything by Susan Middleton Elya celebrates the Spanish language, culture, history, and people. 



Native American Heritage: 


*Thunder Boy Jr by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales (celebrates Native American names and culture)

-When We Were Alone by David Robertson (a young Native child learns about her culture)

-Stolen Words by Melanie Florence (how the loss of Native languages has become common over the years because of colonialism)

-First Laugh, Welcome Baby! by Rose Ann Tahe and Nancy Bo Flood

*Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard (A wonderful ode to fry bread, a Native American traditional food.)

*We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell (Written by a Cherokee citizen, this book is used to express gratitude for the passing of the seasons.)

*Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes by Wab Kinew (A tribute to historical and modern day Indigenous heroes.)  

-We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrome (Based in many Indigenous peoples’ fight for the earth, a call for conservation and safeguarding wildlife and water.)

*In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok (Inuit baby lists the things he loves about his mother.)


Immigrant and Refugee Experience/New Students


*Mustafa by Marie Louise-Gay   (a refugee student flees to the US and tries to fit in)

*Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien  (new students who came from other countries and acceptance)

*All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold   (everyone is welcome in a classroom no matter where they come from)

-Marwan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias (some of it might be scary depending on age level, but it shows refugees fleeing and gives an idea of what refugees have to go through to come to a new place)

*I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien (immigrant experience from their perspective, diverse cultures, names, and characters)

*The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson (finding courage to be different as a new student who looks different than others, diverse characters) 

-The Journey by Francesca Sanna  (refugee experience which helps with empathy)

-The Day the War Came by Nicola Davies

-Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour (Refugee experience, friendship, more light hearted not as deep)

-Idriss and His Marble by Rene Gouichoux (African refugee experience) 

-A Sky Without Lines by Krystia Basil  (border wall separating families)

*Dreamers by Yuyi Morales (An autobiographical picture book of Morales’ immigrant experience to the US. Absolutely beautiful.)

*My Shoes and I: Crossing Three Borders/Mis Zapatos y Yo: Cruzando Tres Fronteras by Rene Colato Lainez (Wonderful, heartbreaking, and easy to digest understanding of crossing the border to the US. Told in both English and Spanish.)  

*Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border by Mitali Perkins (Two grandchildren are getting ready for Christmas and seeing their Abuela along the border fence.) 


Books with Diverse Characters and Message of Welcome/Love: 


-My Mommy is a Hero and My Daddy is a Hero by Isabel Otter (deals with diverse parents in the military)

*I Walk with Vanessa by Kerscoet (about an act of kindness and how that can web out and effect others too, features diverse characters and shows that everyone is the same no matter what they look like)

-Neither by Airlie Anderson (features animals to tell a story about being different, celebrating and being proud of your differences, and how others should respect and love those differences too) 

- The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates (shows that there’s room for everyone, and the umbrella adapts)

*Skin Again by bell hooks  (talks about skin color and how that should not define who you are)

*Love by Matt de la Pena  (love is powerful and can go beyond skin color)

-W is for Welcome: A Celebration of American’s Diversity by Brad Herzong (parts of American historical landmarks but also paths to citizenship) 

*I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde (a book about empathy with diverse characters and cultural backgrounds) 

-That’s Not a Hippopotamus by Juliette Maclver (comical tale of a diverse classroom that goes on a fieldtrip to the zoo)

*We Are Shining by Gwendolyn Brooks (how everyone is beautiful, acceptance, and humanity)

*Pink Is For Boys by Robb Pearlman (“All colors are for everyone, girls and boys”)

-Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung (Using primary colors, Chung explains biracial relationships)

*A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (An ABC board book for babies, toddlers, and kinder using the letters of the alphabet to encourage activism, understanding, love, and empathy towards others.)

*We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty (A look at the love between all different types of families—biracial families, LGBTQ families, black and brown families, etc.)

*One Family by George Shannon (A beautiful story about different shades, ages, and colors of families.)


Books Celebrating Who You Are:


- Dear Girl: A Celebration of Wonderful, Smart, Beautiful You!  By Amy Krouse Rosenthal (important messages to garner self-confidence in young girls, does feature diverse girls too, but there is mainly a white girl featured)

*Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (diverse characters, Hispanic cultural appreciation, and being different)

*Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban  (that you don’t need to be a specific gender to like a specific color)

-Being You by Alexs Pate  (that you are wonderful the way you are)

*It’s Ok to be Different by Todd Parr (celebrating everyone’s differences)

-Want to Play Trucks? ~ Ann Stott (celebrating differences between how kids play, and celebrating finding common ground)

-Where Are You From? By Jaime Kim 

-Big Boys Cry by Jonty Howley (breaking gender norms)

-What Riley Wore by Elana K. Arnold (not dressing to gender, being inclusive)

*Under My Hijab by Hena Khan (a young girl falls in love and appreciates the beauty of her hijab.) 

*I Believe I Can by Grace Byers (Features kids of all backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and abilities in an ode to loving oneself.)

*Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (A khimar what African American Muslims often call their hijab. This book celebrates the beauty of your khimar.)


LGBTQ: 


* A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary (all kinds of families represented)

- I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings (about a boy who knows he should really be a girl)

-Stella Brings the Family by Miriam Baker Shiffer 🡪 LGBT parents (celebrating mother’s day at school. One kid has two dads, one has two moms, I think one lives with grandma.

-Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane (a story about a pig who is adopted by two dads)

-And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson (two male penguins who love each other want a family of their own)

-In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco (features a mixed race family with two mothers)

*The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman (features mixed race couples and families as well as same sex couples) 

*Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack (a prince can’t seem to find someone he loves until a knight in shining armor arrives)

- Worm Loves Worm by J.J Austrian (Two worms in love decide to get married, but aren’t sure who should be the bride and who should be the groom)

-Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah & Ian Hoffman (Jacob has a great imagination, and also loves wearing a dress, especially one he’s made himself)

-Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton (Tilly the Teddy knows it doesn’t matter whether you’re a boy or a girl; it’s what’s inside that counts!)

-Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Baldacchino (Morris is teased when he wears a dress to school, but schoolmates soon learn how much fun he can be.)

-From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom (A child is born, and can’t decide what to become. A mother’s love encourages them to be whatever they can imagine.)

-Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman (Three-year-old Casey wants what his older sister, Jessie, has--a shimmery skirt, glittery painted nails, and a sparkly bracelet--but Jessie does not approve.)

-(Jack) Not Jackie by Erica Silverman (Jackie identifies as Jack, and his family learns to accept that.)

JF

-Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake 


Whiteness/White Privilege 


*Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham


Divorced parents: 


-Here and There by Tamara Ellis Smith 

 

 

 

 


Chapter Books:

Chapter books--Asian Heritage:

*Front Desk by Kelly Yang (Brings up micro aggressions, immigration, and the Asian American experience.)

-Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Weaves Asian folktales into a wonderful story)

-The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (Lucy wants a room of her own and wants her own space—until things change when her aunt from China moves in too.)

*Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to embrace her family’s culture and also blending in at school.) 

-Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (Amal dreams of being a teacher until she insults a leader of a Pakistani family clan and has to go work for the family.) 

*Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Basically Percy Jackson with a lead female Indian character with traditional Hindu gods. Excellent story and characters.) 

-Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (An amazing and page-turning series based in Korean mythology.) 

*Meet Yasmin! Early reader series by Saadia Faruqi (Yasmin is a spitfire second grader who is proud of her Pakistani culture and wants to accomplish so much in life! Excellent early reader series.) 

-Stand Up, Yumi Chung! By Jessica Kim (Yumi is super shy but wants to become a standup comedian. Tries to overcome bullying about her Korean heritage.)


Chapter books-- African American Heritage:

*Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (SUCH a moving and powerful story about a black girl in the south who has heard of the killing of Emmitt Till. Might be risky in a classroom, and may want to ready it ahead of time, but it is similar to Roll of Thunder. Amazing story.) 

*One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (Super popular and well-received.) 

-EllRay Jakes early reader/chapter book series by Sally Warner (EllRay gets into super funny predicaments and kids can easily identify with him.)

*Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Autobiography told in verse about what it was like to be a young black girl in the 1960s and 1970s.) 

*A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Renee (Brings up issues of not being “black enough,” Black Lives Matter, and standing up for what you believe in.) 

-Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (Love of blues music, ties of family and loyalty, and lead character is a black boy.) 

-The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (After her parents divorce, she goes to live with her mom and befriends Brandon—and together they set out to uncover the history of racial tension in their town.)

-The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon (Styx is a new friend to the group and everything he does is funny and full of hijinks and surprises.)

-As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds (Genie and his brother go to Virgina and spend time with their blind grandfather, and learn to ask questions and learn more about their family’s history.)

-The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley (Brings up the history and culture of Harlem.)

*Crossover by Kwame Alexander (A novel told in verse about two black twin brothers and the pressures of school, basketball, sibling rivalry, and more. Story is very relatable.)

-Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott (Good for ages 7 and up, lead black character.) 

-I Like My Brown Skin Because…:Celebrating the Heritage of African American Children by Julia A. Davis (Celebrating the heroes of the black community and their wonderful stories.)

-What Color is My World?: The Lost History of African American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Explore African American scientists and the wonderful things they had created.)

*Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison (Modern and historical heroes)

*Little Legends: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison (Modern and historical heroes)


Chapter books-- Hispanic Heritage:

*First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez (punk rock Malu starts a band and fights for the right to express herself and her culture)

*Me, Frida, and the Peacock Ring by Angela Cervantes (Lead characters are Hispanic and finding the love for their culture while also uncovering a mystery.)

*Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (Newbery Award winner, excellent story, and amazing background/embracing of Hispanic culture and family.)

*Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez (Absolutely hilarious and for fans of the Percy Jackson series. Great depiction of Cuban culture and folklore.)

-Sofia Martinez: The Marigold Mess by Jacqueline Jules (Excellent series, minimal Spanish throughout, lead Latina character.)

*Pedro series by Fran Manushkin (Excellent early reader series with a lead Latino character, engaging stories, and minimal Spanish throughout.) 

*Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (Absolutely hilarious and a great introduction to Hispanic culture and Spanish language for early readers.)

*Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo (As a Mexican-American, she was expected by her parents to marry and keep to her home, but she wanted adventure and discovery—great to show success and someone to look up to.)

-Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez (Sarai wants to help her grandparents keep their home and will do absolutely everything.)

-Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres (Stef wants more free time outside of working at her parent’s taco truck.)

-Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano (Weaves together Mexican, Texan, and American culture together with a delightful fantasy.) 

*The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcarcel (As a Guatemalan-American, Quijana works hard to learn more about her culture.) 

*Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (AMAZING graphic novel about celebrating Dia de los Muertos.)



Chapter Books--Native American Heritage: 

*The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich (An Ojibwe girl and her everyday life—recommended instead of The Little House on the Prairie series.)

Stone River Crossing by Tim Tingle (A runaway slave and Native American child befriend and protect one another). 

*Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Basically Percy Jackson except based in Navajo religion with a lead Native character and awesome plot.)

*Who Was Maria Tallchief by Catherine Gourley (Part of the Who Was/Is? Series, focuses on famous Native ballerina.)

-Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac (Historical fiction of a Mohawk boy in the 1400s.)

-The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (Looks at interaction between white settlers and natives in the 1700s from the native POV.)


Chapter Books about Immigrant and Refugee Experience/New Students:

*Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Inspired by the author’s refugee experience after the Fall of Saigon.)

-My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (Biographical story about Diane coming home from school to find her parents totally gone—they were picked up by ICE as undocumented. Read the adult version and loved it.) 

*Refugee by Alan Gratz (Look at the experiences of three different characters who are fleeing for their lives for something better. Great in building empathy.)

-A Long Walk to Remember by Linda Sue Park (Two stories told about two different girls at different times about their immigration experience.)

*Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi (Absolutely hilarious and she talks about what it was like growing up as an undocumented immigrant while trying to assimilate to American culture.)

*The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz (Incredible story about being a refugee and what it was like through the journey and what made the kids leave from South America. HIGHLY recommend to build empathy and understanding about why people are fleeing and choosing to live undocumented here in the US.)

-The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf (Incredible look at the refugee experience and activism.)

-Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy (A Puerto-Rican young girl tries to assimilate to the U.S.)


Chapter Books with Diverse Characters and Message of Welcome/Love: 

*Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson (Each student in a class shares their story about immigration, being black, etc. Amazing story with an awesome message at the end.) 

*The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (All characters are diverse, with real and relatable stories—brings up race and gender identity. *Graphic novel.)

*Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero (Re-telling of Little Women with a blended family who protests together and goes through many hardships together. Graphic  novel) 


Chapter Books--LGBTQ: 

*George by Alex Gino (George knows that although people see a boy, she knows she is a girl.)

*Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Growing up in middle school and exploring feelings of love—gay love here is normalized.)

*Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow (A girl is struggling with the divorce of her parents, goes to camp, and she finds herself falling in love with another girl.)

*Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (Features a lead character of color who deals with discrimination, as a hurricane comes into town, she finds she begins falling in love with her friend.)

*Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker (Zenobia knows that others see her as a boy, but she knows she was born a girl, and she tries to solve who is behind the hateful comments she has been receiving.) 

*The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (A lead male character falls in love with Percy and then another camp counselor.)

*The Moon Within by Aida Salazar (Normalizes a character who is transitioning, going through menstruation for the first time, and lots of Hispanic cultural norms and practices. HIGHLY recommend.)

*One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock (Two friends fall in love in the south in the late 1970s, it is not easy.)

-A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner (Silas does a report card on the first ever out baseball player in history, and this presentation is like the first step towards telling others who he actually is.)

-King and the Dragonflies by Kacecn Callender (A black lead character learns more about himself through his grief in Louisiana.)


Chapter books—Disabilities: 

Roll with It by Jamie Summer (A girl named Ellie has big dreams, and her wheelchair will not stop her!)

*You don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino (Talks about race and also the hearing-impaired community.)

*El Deafo by Cece Bell (Wonderful graphic novel depicting what it is like to be hearing-impaired.)

*The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Durng the 1940s, Ada leaves her mother who is ashamed of Ada’s twisted foot. Ada and her brother live with an older woman who loves Ada unconditionally.) 

-The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus (Two black boys that are in “special education” are tired of being labeled as criminals or like they are “other” because they are in special education classes. Talks about race as well.)

-Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly (Main character loves repairing old radios, but she is the only deaf person in her class. She learns about a whale, Blue 55, who cannot communicate with other whales and she wants to find a way to help.)

*Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos (An amazing story about a nonverbal girl who is so in love with space.)

*Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (Absolutely highly recommend—lead female character lives with cerebral palsy and is by far the smartest person in her class, but no one knows it.) 


Chapter books--Divorced parents: 

*Blended by Sharon Draper (A biracial child tries to navigate a new life between two different families. Also discusses race.)

-The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones by Wendelin Van Draanen (Lincoln’s life is falling apart when his parents decide to divorce and he focuses on imagination and creativity to get through.)

-The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein (Billy’s parents have separated and he is not happy—he turns to books to make himself feel batter UNTIL he realizes that maybe his books are coming to life?)

*Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (The series focuses on two kids who are working through their parents’ divorce.)

-The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff (Focuses on custody arrangements and what that is like for a girl named Winnie.)

-Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) by Julie Bowe (Wren is 9 and feels like her family has completely changed when her dad moves out.)

-Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder (Rebecca’s mom moves her and her brother to Atlanta, where she learns to fit in with a new school and deal with the breakup of her family.)