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Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge 2020 is Here! Read #DiverseBooks

diversity reading challenge

It’s time for the Diversity Reading Challenge! Reading diverse books benefits everyone and the DRC makes it easy. Pick one book from each category.

Read a book:

  1. Written by and for a Latinx person
  2. Containing an African American young woman
  3. An African American young man
  4. With a SE Asian main character
  5. With an illustrator of color
  6. Containing an LGBTQ main character
  7. Graphic novel with people of color
  8. Of speculative fiction containing people of color
  9. With a native American protagonist
  10. With a person with a mental illness
  11. With a person with a disability
  12. With a Muslim main character

You can combine it with other challenges or do it alone. It’s like peanut butter, it goes with everything!

I can already think of 7 books that would go with the Diversity Reading Challenge. What’s your first read gonna be?

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Diversity Reading Challenge

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman, Illustrated by Eda Kaban

Pink is for Boys

 

 

A little guy, who is now a young man, once told me, when I complimented him on his blue nail polish that “Blue is for everyone” and I never forgot that thought. Why? Because it’s true. Colors don’t belong to people.

Pink is for Boys is the cutest ding dang book I’ve seen all year! I’m not sure when colors began as boy or girl colors but I think it’s a ridiculous practice that should have ended decades ago. What Pink is for Boys points out is that colors are for everyone! The opening illustrations show children of all ethnicities wearing pink clothes in a pink room, dancing, singing and having a party to alert the reader that pink is for everyone.

Blue is for girls, by the way, in case you didn’t know. And it’s also for boys. Especially when they are wearing baseball uniforms and play on a team. Let’s not forget that yellow is the color of stars and crowns. Throughout the book the reader is bombarded with the positive message that colors are not gender specific AND the children are multiethnic and have differing abilities.

I love this book so hard. If you have little ones in your home, add this to your library ASAP because colors are for EVERYONE.

(crying)

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Books Diversity Reading Challenge

Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover

 

I cannot get enough of this friggin fraggin great book! This is a book that I downloaded on audio and listened to. Twice. Back To back. Thanks to a friend, I knew about the ending but still. When it happens. All. The. Feels. All the feels. if you wanna see my review, click here. It’s so good I just HAD to make sure I reminded you about it for Black History Month.

Crossover appeals to everyone of every color and every belief system. To be sure, I know very little about basketball, but that’s not even necessary. Alexander’s descriptions seep into your head and you can see the game and feel the bounce of the ball in your heartbeat.

I love me some Kwame Alexander! He’s my new bestie. (Be afraid KA, be afraid)

If this is your first read, Crossover totally counts toward the Diversity Reading Challenge.

Have you read this? What did you think??

 

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Diversity Reading Challenge

Once you Read I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez You’ll NEVER be the Same!

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I couldn’t love this book any harder if I tried! Sanchez brings out alot of sensitive issues in this YA book.

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

But this blurb doesn’t begin to describe the depth of the life of our young protagonist. Consider these issues:

  • Julia (pronounced Hoo lee ah) speaks English in the world and Spanish at home
  • Her parents are grieving the loss of Julia’s sister and can’t help with her her loss
  • Julia experiences sexual harassment frequently
  • Insight into immigration
  • Undiagnosed mental illness/suicide
  • School/studying pressues
  • Traditional Hispanic family pressures v Julia’s desires
  • Friendship
  • LGBTQ

There’s a lot to unpack in this book and I feel like Sanchez deftly incorporates these issues into the storyline without smacking you over the head with them and getting preachy. I appreciate that. After finishing I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter you will have a greater understanding of what it’s like to be a young Latinx woman. I wept at times; so so good! I promise you, your life will never be the same.

The issues in the book are so timely right now its hard not to see the connections. This could be any young woman’s life right now.

Also qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge.

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Books Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup: Identity and Compassion

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup

Identity and Compassion

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.

 

#1: Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

I cannot love this book any harder if I wanted to. There is such a need for books representing the Latinx people and I feel like Julian is a Mermaid is a beautiful example.  Young Julian is riding the train with his Abuelita (Grandmother in Spanish) and he sees three very beautiful women dressed in mermaid costumes (I mean it’s New York, right so anything’s possible?) and oh how his imagination soars, pretending to be a mermaid. Once home Julian’s creative thinking allows him to make himself a mermaid costume. I won’t give away the ending but I wept as Julian was caught by his Abuela in his dress up clothes.

The representation of the community is stunning in its accuracies with their different shades, body shapes and hairstyles. I feel that we were all Julian at one time.

Except I was never a mermaid. I was a pirate. But you get my meaning.

Snag this book today!

 

#2: The Little Tree by Muon Van

The Little Tree by Muon Van

As the little tree sends her little seed out into the world, she wonders what will become of it.  One day she finds out. And when she does, OMG will you cry! There are so many different ways to love this book! The author of the book is of Vietnamese descent and discusses the families emigration from Vietnam to Hong Kong and then to the U.S. These feelings are depicted in the illustrations as well. Parents will appreciate the story because that’s exactly how it feels to send a small child out into the world: magical and frightening at the same time. Children will love the story because of the gentle way the tale unfolds, the soft drawings and the feeling of magic and wonder. So much diversity and multiculturalism without saying a word about it. LOVE!

The Little Tree is sure to be a favorite! Add this to your Diversity Reading Challenge.

 

#3: This Way Home by Wes Moore  Shawn Goodman

This Way Home by Wes Moore & Shawn Goodman

Elijah Thomas knows one thing better than anyone around him: basketball. At seventeen, he’s earned the reputation of a top-level player, one who steps onto the court ready for battle, whether it’s a neighborhood pickup game or a tournament championship.

What Elijah loves most about the game is its predictability: if he and his two best friends play hard and follow the rules, their team will win. And this formula has held true all way up to the summer before their senior year of high school, when a sinister street gang, Blood Street Nation, wants them to wear the Nation’s colors in the next big tournament.

The boys gather their courage and take a stand against the gang, but at a terrible cost. Now Elijah must struggle to balance hope and fear, revenge and forgiveness, to save his neighborhood. For help, he turns to the most unlikely of friends: Banks, a gruff ex-military man, and his beautiful and ambitious daughter. Together, the three work on a plan to destroy Blood Street and rebuild the community they all call home.

I’m so glad to see more books aimed at an urban or African American young adult reader. This would qualify for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

 

#4: Chocolate Mixer by Jason Armstrong

Chocolate Mixer by Jason Armstrong

The children in Chocolate Mixer, happen to be brown like chocolate milk (and who doesn’t love chocolate milk??) even though they are a mixture of a white (vanilla) mother and a chocolate (Black) father. The very BEST line in the easy to read rhyming book is the line from Dad:

“He sat me on his lap and said “my rainbow you see” we are all some kind of mixer, just look at a family.”

Isn’t that cute? Even the youngest kiddos can look at families (possibly their own) and see how everyone is different shades of color, just like a rainbow.  What a great way to discuss similarities rather than differences with the littles.  There are SO many teachable moments in this book!

#5: Peter’s Chair

Peter stretched as high as he could.  There! His tall building was finished.”

Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats is the CUTEST book around for children and parents experiencing the joyful addition of another child into the house.  Peter, however, is none too thrilled to have a little sister who uses all his old baby things: his crib, his high chair, etc.

I’ve reviewed Ezra Jack Keats before and I love the multicultural vibe he brings. He purposely choose an ethnic variety for his main characters, and this was over 40 years ago! It’s only natural that I should review Peter’s Chair for Black History Month.  The author is Jewish and the main character is African American; I LOVE the diversity!

If you’ve not read this book, you MUST DO IT NOW!! It is delightful and easy for kids to understand; all kids everywhere can relate to being dethroned by a little sib.

 

#6: Belle Prater’s Boy

Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White

So, I just finished reading an endearing book called Belle Prater’s Boy, by Ruth White. The tale is of two cousins, Gypsy and Woodrow, living in 1950s Virginia. Both children have lost a parent and both children struggle to understand why their parents left them. Gypsy is known for her long beautiful hair and Woodrow is a story teller. The language of the book is a blend of 50s charm and southern backwoods vernacular, which spoken through a child’s voice is particularly effective. I can see why the book was a Newberry Honor book.

I chose to read the book because I thought, given that the setting was the rural South, the story might contain a multicultural element. I was mistaken. While the characters within the story are Caucasian, there is a multicultural feel to the book, especially since Woodrow did not grow up in a family with money. In fact, Woodrow’s family was poor. Blind Benny adds a musical touch to the story and could certainly be African American, although not specifically stated.

Although Belle Prater’s Boy doesn’t specifically provide the multicultural blend that I was looking for, it is surely a good read: the characters are engaging, the story flows well, and the very small town lifestyle is different from what some readers may be familiar with.

 

#7: Little Shaq by Theodore Taylor III

Little Shaq by Shaquille O'Neal

When you think of Black History month do you think of politicians or just of musicians and actors? What about famous athletes? African American have contributed to society in so many ways! I’d like to share with you a great little book about Shaquille O’Neal, the basketball player.  He has a  series out called Little Shaq.

Little Shaq is a book for emerging and middle grade readers, depending on their interest.

When Little Shaq and his cousin Barry accidentally break their favorite video game, they need to find a way to replace it. That’s when Little Shaq’s science project inspires a solution: a gardening business. They can water their neighbors’ gardens to raise money for a new game! Little Shaq and Barry make a great team both on and off the basketball court, but will their business be as successful as they hoped?

The best thing about this book is that it shows kids (and maybe some adults) that athletes can have other talents than on the ball field or the court. Friends, family, business, and fair play are lessons that readers will enjoy.

This title also counts toward the Diversity Reading Challenge. Way to go Little Shaq!

 

#8: Don’t Forget DEXTER! by Lindsay Ward

Dexter T Rexter might be the cauuuuuutest T-Rex I’ve ever met! And sadly, I would be devastated if he were mine and got separated from me. But you know what, that’s exactly what happens in this adorbs story. Poor Dexter gets left behind in the doctor’s office waiting room. He’s sure his best buddy would never leave him behind on purpose so he sets out to figure out what happened and then tries to help himself get rescued.

The illustrations are multidimensional and so clever. I love love love this story. No spoiling the ending either, so you’ll hafta find out for yourself what happens.

PS you’ll be singing the dinosaur song all day!

 

 

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Diversity Reading Challenge

5 Books for Your Young Feminist Library

feminist

 6 Books for Your Feminist Library

Feminism! The word often gets a bad reputation for no good reason. Feminism does not mean the act of hating men. It means fighting for the rights of women making sure they are provided with equal opportunities. We all want to be treated as equals, right?

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Diversity Reading Challenge

Have you Read: The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson, a 2018 #Cybils Middle Grade winner?

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

There is SO MUCH to love about this title! The Parker Inheritance has something for everyone:

  • Black History
  • Friendship
  • Bullying
  • Divorce
  • LGBTQ
  • A Mystery to solve

Take all of those ingredients and what comes out is an award winning book. Readers will love how Johnson took his time drawing our main characters into the story making sure to draw fully fleshed out personalities. Brandon and Candice try to solve a puzzle to clear Candice’s late grandmother’s name. And oh what a mystery it is. From learning about Jim Crow laws in the South to modern day experiences of bullying by adults and children, these two form a true friendship built on trust. And they might win a bunch of money too. What’s not to love about that?

The Parker Inheritance is having a great year: A Cybils award, my blog, a Diversity Reading Challenge feature, and Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Honor Award! Way to go Parker Inheritance!

If you’re keeping track, The Parker Inheritance ticks off the box for an African American young woman as the main character.

Bam.

 

 

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Diversity Reading Challenge

Have you Read Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson?

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

How much do we love Jacqueline Woodson? Infinity. Thats how much we love her. Her books are always timely and Harbor Me is no exception.  This thin, powerful book will hook you from word one.

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

How great is it that special needs kids can feel free to be themselves in this special classroom just for them? It’s a strange and beautiful experience all at once. So many issues to unpack with these kids and they do it too, in their own beautiful ways of understanding. I wept.

How does Woodson do it?

Another book for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

Harbor me ticks off many boxes but the one I’m choosing is Latinx person because Esteban is a main character in this ensemble cast. You could choose another category if you want. Thats the ease of this challenge. Boom.

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Diversity Reading Challenge

Me, Myself & Him by Chris Tebbetts. LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE.

Me, Myself and Him

 

Here’s a book that you need but don’t know you need. Why is that? Because #1 if you’re looking for books containing an LGBTQ hero, here’s your book. But not because it’s your typical Coming Out. Story. While those are important, we’re past that. We need books where the kids are out and they’re living their lives (not everyone is Tiny Dancer, even though we love him too).

The problem with LGBTQ kids living their lives in Me, Myself, and Him is that there are alternating realities in this book. Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Yep. So if you don’t like the first timeline, hang around til the next chapter and you’ll get to the OTHER reality. Or vice versa. Or maybe you’ll like both timelines? So, yeah. That’s not REALLY a problem is it?

When Chris Schweitzer takes a hit of whippets and passes out face first on the cement, his nose isn’t the only thing that changes forever. Instead of staying home with his friends for the last summer after high school, he’s shipped off to live with his famous physicist but royal jerk of a father to prove he can “play by the rules” before Dad will pay for college.

Or . . . not.

So. Much. Fun.

I don’t need to tell you that this qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge, right?

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Diversity Reading Challenge

Power Girls: Young Women of Color who Kick Ass

Power Girls: Young Women of Color
who Kick Ass

You didn’t ask for it but here it is. A list of books featuring young women of color. They are strong, they are powerful, they are smart, they make friends. They are more than the stereotypical “pretty” girl.

Here we go:

Marjane

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Sunny

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

 

Sierra

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Julia

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
by Erika L Sanchez

 

Sandra

How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana

 

Starr

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 

Sonia, Tara, Shanti, Anna

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

 

Xiomara

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

 

Patty

Patina by Jason Reynolds

Zelie

The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

 

Zuri

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

 

Bri

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Layla

Internment by Samira Ahmed

 

Need a role model for a book report? That’s  about a dozen POWERFUL young women to choose from. Hey! That’s one Power Girl for every month of the year! And they’d all qualify for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

Have any power girls to add? Let me know here or hit me on Twitter: @pamlovesbooks