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:


Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor



Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older


I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
by Erika L Sanchez



How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana



The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Sonia, Tara, Shanti, Anna

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins



The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo



Patina by Jason Reynolds


The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi



Pride by Ibi Zoboi



On the Come Up by Angie Thomas


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

Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

What’s in my Ear? My #FridayListens #Diversity


Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately:

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

I’ve said it on Twitter. I think this is Perkins’ magnus opum. What a beautiful portrayal of a Southeast Indian family’s life as they struggle with each other, old family values, and the need to fit in (or not) in modern New York. So much love. A cross-cultural gem.  I had the pleasure of meeting the author a couple of years ago at KidLitCon Baltimore. She’s just lovely. Her book Tiger Boy helped me look at tigers completely differently. Here’s my review.

How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana, Abigail Pesta

I’m 300% over the moon excited that Ms. Uwiringiyimana (MUST. PRACTICE. LAST NAME. TO IMPRESS) will be joining us at KidLitCon 2017 in November! woooooo!!! If you’ve ever wondered what the life of a refugee is like or the life of a war child or anything like that, How Dare the Sun Rise is the book for you. Not only is it an excellent indication of the racial divide within the African American community, it also speaks to the lack of substantive support immigrants receive when entering this country. Striking similarities between this and Perkins’ book.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Not sure how accurate a depiction of baby jail is or of a girls group home, but WOW is this story punching me in the gut. A very young girl is accused of killing the baby her mother is babysitting. That’s all I’ll say.

All of these titles are eligible for the Diversity Reading Challenge. I hope you’ll put one or all of them on your TBR list.


2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Have you ever imagined a horror book for tweens? Prior to seeing Neil Himself, I never would have really considered it. Sure, I know kids like to be scared but I guess I never thought of the books as part of the horror genre.

That is, until I met Tracey Baptiste. And when I say met, I mean, I heard her speak at KidLitCon in November. To be sure, I had the book on my shelf just waiting to be read. The cover is kinda sceeery and I’m a big old chicken and don’t like to be sceeered.

But will ya look at this cover??


It screams nightlight, doesn’t it??

Yeah. And that’s just the cover.

What’s especially great about The Jumbies, which are as real as the boogeymonster, is that the cast in the book contains all diverse characters. Every single person in the story is a person of color! There are island people of all shades of brown, one family that is possibly Southeast Asian/Indian, and the White Witch. I’m not sure what her ethnicity is but whatever.

Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters parents make up to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest. Those shining yellow eyes that followed her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

And as we soon find out, these Caribbean scary things torment Corinne and her little friends all over the island. All kinds of scary creatures with all kinds of scary names will keep kids on their toes the whole book. What I love about the characters is that sure, they are kids of color, but they are kids first. The color of their skin is not an issue. That way, readers of any color or ethnicity can read the book and

a) be equally terrified, and
b) see themselves in the story.

I personally see myself hiding from the soucouyants and the lagahoos until it’s safe to come out.

Thanks Tracey, for the good fright. It’s just right. But don’t read the book at night.

teee heee heee, I made a rhyme.

Diversity is for everyone, even kids who like to be sceeeered!

So much fun!


2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Children

This is Why I LOVE Papercutz: They have a #Diverse Hero named Sanjay!

Papercutz always seems to be on the cutting edge of silliness. That’s why I love them. Here’s one more reason to love Papercutz: they have a new comic with a Southeast Asian/Indian character named Sanjay!

Nickelodeon_Magazine Sanjay and Craig

Just like you I’m sure you’re worried about perpetuating stereotypes. I’m totally against stereotypes and if NickMag and Papercutz can pull this off, I will be more than happy! Let’s take a look inside as well.


Ok so from looking at the first page, not only are the authors keeping the characters authentic looking, the food seems to be authentic as well. I know I’ve had my share of yummy samosas.

I also know that kids are fussy eaters and it looks like our Sanjay and his sidekick Craig (whatever species he is) are no different.

You know what? #diversity for the win. Add this to your 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge list.


Banned Books

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop!

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom To Read

All this week I’ll be celebrating banned books week by highlighting challenged or banned books. Why is banned books week important? According to the American Library Association (of which I’m a member),

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

As a parent, you have a right to decide what your own children should be exposed to, but I strongly believe that you do not have the right to dictate what other children have access to. So, let’s celebrate the books that have been challenged and see if you’ve read any of them and you can make the decision for yourself. Each day of Banned Books Week I’ll highlight several of the titles that were challenged or banned last year. Let’s see how they stack up.  Also? This is a blog hop so I’ll giveaway a $10 Amazon gift card to the winner!

The Absolutely true Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

sherman alexie


There aren’t many books about Native American students so this book is important on that level. To be sure, this book is not for little kids, but I guarantee that what’s inside is no different than what your teens hear or say on the bus and at school. It’s relevant and they need to learn to appreciate Native American culture. Here’s what it’s about:

n his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Here’s why it was challenged:

Removed as required reading in a Queens,N.Y. middle school (2013) because the book included excerpts on masturbation. The book, which tells the story of a Native American who transfers into an all-white high school, won the 2007 National Book Foundation award for Young People’s Literature. Challenged on the tenth-grade required reading list at Skyview High School in Billings, Mt. (2013) because “[t]his book is, shockingly, written by a Native American who reinforces all the negative stereotypes of his people and does it from the crude, obscene, and unfiltered viewpoint of a ninth-grader growing up on the reservation.” Pulled from the Jefferson County, W.V. schools (2013) because a parent complained about the novel’s graphic nature. Challenged in a Sweet Home, Oreg. Junior High English class (2014) because of concerns about its content, particularly what some parents see as the objectification of women and young girls, and the way alternative lessons were developed and presented. Parents of the eighth-graders in the language arts classes received information summarizing the novel’s most controversial issues before the unit started and had the option of asking for an alternative assignment.

What are your thoughts? Worth challenging/banning?


The House of the Sprits by Isabel Allende


I’m fast tracking this title to my TBR list.  Based on the description I am reminded of my beloved Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magical realism is where it is AT, y’all.  Allende is going to be my new bestie. Here’s what it’s about:

n one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies. Here is patriarch Esteban, whose wild desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his ethereal wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love for a man Esteban has deemed unworthy infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, a beautiful, ambitious girl who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future.

At first blush it might seem like the story is about the man; but from what I’ve gathered it’s about the women of the family with the patriarch being the common thread.  Here’s why it was challenged:

Challenged in the Watauga County, N.C. High School (2013) curriculum because of the book’s graphic nature. After a five-month process, the book was fully retained at a third and final appeal hearing.

The graphic nature the challenge refers to is sexual violence. While I don’t condone that sort of thing in real life, there are many books that contain this element that students read year in and year out.  Choose for yourself.  Meanwhile, I’m grabbing this title from the bookstore tonight!

Stay tuned next time for another look into Banned Books Week. What do you think of these titles? Would you read them? Have you read them?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan

If there was ever a book that combined everything I love about reading this is it! Taking place in Lahore, young Malik and his sibs participate in the annual kite festival.  What I love about this book is that young Malik is in a wheelchair! I love that he is differently abled and while his representation is noted it’s not THE thing that the book hangs on. He’s just a boy who’s wicked good at flying a kite. 90 thousand star rating.

I love this book so much I thought I’d share it with you in a reading. Wanna see it? Check out the illustrations, they are GORGEOUS!

Isn’t that the best story ever?

Thank you Lee & Low for this book!



FOUND! 3 Multicultural Children’s Books for You!

Wow. I read so many books I sometimes forget to post my reviews; can you believe that?  That’s why you should follow me on Goodreads AND YouTube to make sure you get all of my reviews!

Last summer I had the pleasure of visiting Lee and Low books while in New York City for BEA13.  Thanks to my roomie Thien-Kim From Left to Write for letting me tag along.  Here’s a snap of us.  I don’t know why I look like a GIANT Amazon woman person in this photo but whatever!



While we were there, were were graciously gifted with goodies! Here are my brief but nonetheless heartfelt reviews posted previously on


Rainbow Stew

rainbow stew



Three children and their grandfather pick fresh vegetables in his garden and then cook and share a meal of healthy vegetable stew.

MY REVIEW: Is there a better way to spend the day than with your Grandpa? No! The story is made even better because children of color will see themselves as the main characters. And finally, African American grandpas are shown as young and vibrant; not old, crotchety, and boring.


Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji

hot hot roti for Dada-ji

Aneel’s grandparents have come to stay, all the way from India. Aneel loves the sweet smell of his grandmother s incense, and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tells the world s best stories. When he was a boy, adventurous, energetic Dada-ji had the power of a tiger. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir! He could shake mangoes off trees and wrangle wild cobras. And what gave him his power? Fluffy-puffy hot, hot roti, with a bit of tongue-burning mango pickle. Does Dada-ji still have the power? Aneel wants to find out but first he has to figure out how to whip up a batch of hot, hot roti Overflowing with family, food, and a tall stack of fun, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji is sure to warm the heart and tickle the tummy. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir!

MY REVIEW: Quirky tale of young Aneel who lives to spend time with his grandfather. I love the mixture of cooling into the story, as kids often relate to food. There’s a certain magical realism about Indian storytelling that is delightful. So many teachable moments in this book.

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow

a place where sunflowers grow


Under the harsh summer sun, Mari’s art class has begun. But it’s hard to think of anything to draw in a place where nothing beautiful grows — especially a place like Topaz, the internment camp where Mari’s family and thousands of other Japanese Americans have been sent to live during World War II. Somehow, glimmers of hope begin to surface — in the eyes of a kindly art teacher, in the tender words of Mari’s parents, and in the smile of a new friend. Amy Lee-Tai’s sensitive prose and Felicia Hoshino’s stunning mixed-media images show that hope can survive even the harshest injustice.

MY REVIEW: This title is an easy way to teach even the smallest child about Japanese history, internment, and human dignity.

I just realized that besides the main characters being children there is a strong grandparent presence in the books. SWOON!

Many of these great titles are being features as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  Here’s the link to the fun!

Have you read any of these titles? Are there other multicultural titles you can share?

Adult Fiction Books Reviews

Telegraph Aveue by Michael Chabon a TLC book tour

I have a video review for you today of Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue.  As you watch my review, I’d like  you to picture


courtesy Head Over Heels – 1970s



courtesy Head Over Heels – 1970s


courtesy imdb

Now that you’re feeling the 70s vibe, here’s my video review.



I give this 4 paws for ethnic diversity!