Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup
It’s SUMMER! Summertime means more time for reading, YAY! Not sure what to read? Your fave unconventional librarian has got you covered. I’ve compiled a list of kids books that contain diversity. No need to scour the internet or ask your friends to find the right book. I’ve got them here. All you’ll hafta do is go to your local bookstore or library and start reading. These books are about survivors
#1 The Magic School Bus Inside A Hurricane By Joanna Cole, Bruce Degen
It’s Ms Frizzle. Need I saw more?
Count on Ms. Frizzle to teach anything but an ordinary lesson on meteorology. Flying through the clouds in the Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle’s class experiences a hurricane-and even a tornado-firsthand. During their thrilling ride through the sky, Arnold gets lost! Will the Friz be able to save the day this time?
#2 Two Bobbies By Kirby Larson, Jean Cassels, Mary Nethery
Bobbi and Bob Cat are the best of friends. When their hometown of New Orleans was struck by Hurricane Katrina, many lost everything. But not Bobbi and Bob Cat—they still had each other. Only by staying together could they survive. This is the story of their remarkable friendship.
Although a very very brief list, take comfort and be inspired by regular people who became heroes and survived hurricanes.
#3 Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures Of John J. Harvey By Maira Kalman
Here’s one for the littles.
In 1931, the John J. Harvey was the ultimate in fireboats, an essential part of the New York Fire Department. But times change, and by 2001, the Harvey was retired, destined for the scrap pile. Until September 11, when the fire hydrants at the attack site were inoperable, and the water of the Hudson River was needed to combat the burning buildings. With a little ingenuity, a team quickly got the John J. Harvey in working order, proving that she was still the best fireboat on the river.
#4 14 Cows For America By Carmen Agra Deedy And Thomas Gonzalez
I love the idea of a small African tribe wanting to help.
In the aftermath of 9/11, not only did America mourn, but shockwaves were felt around the globe. Kimeli Naiyomah is a student in New York in September 2001. Upon returning to his Maasai village in Kenya, he recounts his experience, and his people immediately want to help. But what can a poor African village provide? The answer is powerful and touching, and demonstrates that sometimes the smallest gestures are the most deeply felt.
#5 Gone Crazy In Alabama by Rita Williams – Gracia
Here’s another great reason to celebrate books during Black History Month:
Rita, I’m gonna win all the awards, Williams Freakin Garcia! RWG does it again with her trilogy about the Gaither sisters. Gone Crazy in Alabama has won the Coretta Scott King Book Award which is an award
…given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
I love this book and even though it’s the last book in the series, I will have to go back and read the other two. Life in the sixties, Black Panther movement, civil rights, family strife and cute but annoying sisters are a recipe for a great read for any middle-grade reader.
Check out the American Library Association’s website for more information about other books and awards. This title also qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge because of the African American female main character. Have you read RWG other books? What did you think?
#6 The Ugly Dumpling by Stephanie Campisi
Isn’t that lil dumpling ADORBS??? It is so yummy I could eat him! And the story is delightful too. There are so many lessons to learn from this story I don’t know where to begin. We have a little dumpling who feels ugly when comparing himself (herself?) to the other dumplings. The dumpling befriends a cockroach (ew, I know! but so cuuuuuute) who shows the dumpling how wonderful the world is and that it’s great to be different.
And guess what?? You know why the dumpling feels ugly next to the other dumplings?
I’m NOT going to tell you. That would be a spoiler and I have a no spoiler policy around here. What I WILL tell you is that when you’re done reading the book you will feel beautiful, valuable, and learn the value of friendship. I could not love this book any more. Parents, caregivers, and teachers, the teaching opportunities are endless: bullying, self esteem, cooking, peer pressure, friendship, travel, are the first topics off the top of my head.
There is so much to love about this book! Even a dapper gender neutral cockroach. See? Something for everyone. I almost forgot: the illustrations include people of all kinds: single parents, brown people, white people, old, young, married, etc. It’s BEAUTIFULLY diverse.
#7 I Survived By Lauren Tarshis
This series is so great. It covers lots of major life events.
The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad’s best friend at the fire department where they both work. Benny taught Lucas everything about football. So when Lucas’s parents decide the sport is too dangerous and he needs to quit, Lucas has to talk to his biggest fan.
So the next morning, Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school. It’s a bright, beautiful day in New York. But just as Lucas arrives at his uncle’s firehouse, everything changes — and nothing will ever be the same again.
#8 Mommy, Why’s You Skin So Brown by Maria Leonard Olsen
If you’re white, you probably don’t get asked too many questions about your heritage. To be sure, you probably identify as Irish, Italian, Polish, or whatever. But have you ever gotten asked why your skin is pink or white or whatever color it is? Probably not. Mommy, Why’s Your Skin So Brown? Is a question one mother was asked by her children. Kids are naturally curious and there probably isn’t any judgement in the question, they just want to know why your skin looks one way while their skin looks another.
The author answers the child’s questions with a candor that a child can understand: we are different colors because you are a mix of both Mommy’s color and Daddy’s color. People are all different shades of colors. The author and I share a similar problem: I’ve been the recipient of these kinds of questions all my life and so have my children. The mother in the story handles it beautifully. I do not think I’ve always handled these difficult questions as tactfully or as gently as this mother does. There is a lesson in this book for everyone. This title would make a great addition to any family’s (or school’s) library. My takeaway? Stop asking questions. Just let people BE the color they are! This book qualifies for the Diversity Challenge.