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?


Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza by Kitty Felde

Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza

Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza is a middle grade book that introduces kids (and maybe parents) to what life is like on Capitol Hill. If you’re like most folks, the life of the Washington insiders may be kind of a mystery. Felde, the award winning host of one of my fave podcast, Book Club for Kids,  takes the mystery out of life in our nation’s capitol. Told through the eyes of the ten year old daughter of a California representative, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the day to day life of Capitol Hill senators.  That orange thing on the cover? That’s Senator Something, a lovable briard that helps our heroine get into shenanigans and cope with the new life on the east coast.  If you’re wanting a #political primer, this is the one.


The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz, A #Cybils finalist

The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz


This Cybils Middle Grade finalist was a fun book! A boy and his family leave New York City (but why tho) and head toward rural upstate New York so their parents can live out their dream. Meanwhile, Tristan and his siblings adapt to life away from the big city. Tristan becomes obsessed with the local (mean) lady’s donuts and he learns how to make them in hopes to open a donut stand. There’s baking, friendship, sibling fun and kooky new neighbors.  Great easy read for middle grade. There’s no diversity that I can find but its a fun read.

Children Diversity Reading Challenge

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays Day 4

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays


Day Four of the Diversity Countdown for Christmas brings us The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks by Jen Swann Downey

The Ninja Librarians by Jen Swann Downey

Now official apprentices of the Lybrariad, Dorris and Marcus have joined Ebba in the immense time-folding labyrinth known as Petrarch’s Library for the Summer Quarter.

Dorrie is eager to do well at her practicums, and prove her worth as an apprentice, but before she can choose between “Spears, Axes, and Cats: Throwing Objects with Precision and Flair” and “First and Last Aid: When No One Else Is Coming”, mistakes made by Dorrie in the past cause trouble for the lybrarians.

The Foundation, once nearly destroyed by the Lybrariad, now has the means to rise from its ashes, and disappear reading and writing from the world. To make sure it succeeds, the Foundation sets in motion a dark plan to increase the power of a cruel figure from the fifteenth century.

To stop the Foundation, Dorrie, Marcus and Ebba will have to burglarize Aristotle, gather information among the suffragists and anti-suffragists of 1912 London, and risk their lives to wrest a powerful weapon out of the Foundation’s hands – all while upholding the Lybrariad’s first principle of protecting all writing, appreciated or despised. If they fail, reading and writing will only be the first things to disappear.

Ok here’s what I love first about this book: the word Ninja. I mean who doesn’t love the idea of ninjas? But then Ninja librarians? All the win!

Secondly, and most important, one of the main characters is a person of color.

Books Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Discover Black History Month with Little Shaq!

Discover Black History Month with Little Shaq

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 new 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!

Diversity Reading Challenge

Tokoyo, the Samurai’s Daughter by Faith L. Justice; another one for #diversity

Tokoyo, the Samurai’s Daughter by Faith L. Justice



An adventurous girl! Most noble-born girls of Tokoyo’s age learn to sing, paint, and write poetry. Not Tokoyo. She’s the daughter of a samurai in fourteenth century Japan. Tokoyo’s father trains her in the martial arts. When he is away, she escapes to the sea where she works with the Ama-a society of women and girls who dive in the deep waters for food and treasure. But disaster strikes her family. Can Tokoyo save her father using the lessons she learned and the skills she mastered to overcome corrupt officials, her own doubts, and a nasty sea demon?

Add this to your power girl reading list:  Girls, martial arts training, and sea demons?

Sign me up.

We need MORE Asian characters, so what is the publishing world waiting for? Totally qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge.


An Unconventional Librarian’s Holiday Gift Guide: The Wild Ones, Animal Adventures for Tweens

The Wild Ones by C Alexander London

The Wild Ones: Moonlight Brigade by C Alexander London

The Wild Ones: The Great Escape by C Alexander London


I love The Wild Ones series and so will your reader!


Children Young Adult

Big Issues in YA from #KidLitCon in Hershey, PA

Big Issues in YA

Last week I had the thrill of  a lifetime to chair the committee and bring KidLitCon to Hershey PA! Hershey was a great venue and I’ll talk more about that later but right now I want to share with you a session I co-hosted with Donna Gaffney. Donna is a therapist and very knowledgeable about kids books and uses them in therapy with her clients. She’s also a very cool person.

We talked about issues that kids and teens face today and books that represent these issues in literature. Turning to books in a time of crisis is very common and helps the reader process their situation.  We listed the issues on poster paper and then encouraged the audience to list book titles under the appropriate issues.  This link should is a pdf of the results: BIG ISSUES in YA LITKidlitcon17

I think you’ll find the lists very interesting. Many thanks to Donna for quickly compiling the list. I hope this resource helps you.

More to come about KidLitCon in another post!





Books Children Young Adult

Invasion by Walter Dean Myers

Hotlight Spotlight: Invasion

by Walter Dean Myers

There are many reasons to love Walter Dean Myers.  He writes books for communities who are often overlooked: boys and African Americans.  Many students are turned on to Myers’ books through school assignments.  Then they keep coming back to Myers for more of the hard hitting reality that Myers is known for.  Kids who won’t read about vampires and aren’t interested in sports will often be willing to read about war like “Invasion.”


What’s “Invasion”?

Walter Dean Myers brilliantly renders the realities of World War II.

Josiah Wedgewood and Marcus Perry are on their way to an uncertain future. Their whole lives are ahead of them, yet at the same time, death’s whisper is everywhere.

One white, one black, these young men have nothing in common and everything in common as they approach an experience that will change them forever.

It’s May 1944. World War II is ramping up, and so are these young recruits, ready and eager. In small towns and big cities all over the globe, people are filled with fear. When Josiah and Marcus come together in what will be the greatest test of their lives, they learn hard lessons about race, friendship, and what it really means to fight. Set on the front lines of the Normandy invasion, this novel, rendered with heart-in-the-throat precision, is a cinematic masterpiece. Here we see the bold terror of war, and also the nuanced havoc that affects a young person’s psyche while living in a barrack, not knowing if today he will end up dead or alive.

Need I say more about the power of Myers’ ability to discuss the human condition in a way that boys can understand? TheWWII backround will certainly discuss racism in a manner that the kids might not have thought about.

Which Walter Dean Myers’ books have your children read?



Caroline Carlson and The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates

I’m so excited to share this title with you: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates. If you know anything about me you know I love pirates.

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates

Here’s a synopsis from

Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle? Caroline Carlson’s hilarious tween novel The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot is perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart’s Mysterious Benedict Society.

Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.

There’s only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn’t exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

Written with uproarious wit and an inviting storyteller tone, the first book in Caroline Carlson’s quirky seafaring series is a piratical tale like no other.


What’s not to love?


Pirate Pame