Diversity Reading Challenge

The Zora & Me Series has books for girls who look like me! #DiversityReadingChallenge

Not sure what to read that has an African American young woman as the main character? Here are TWO titles that can choose from that will satisfy the Diversity Reading Challenge:

Zora & Me


Zora & Me The Cursed Ground

This series is a fictionalized account of our beloved Zora Neale Hurston’s childhood. There so much fun in these stories and so much history. You know how I love to sneak in some learning while a kid is reading? Well these books fit that need. Not only will Brown kids revel in seeing themselves as main characters all kids will enjoy the mystery, the suspension and the plain old fun of these middle grade reads.

Note: the “n” word is used alot so be advised if you don’t want your child exposed to that word you might want to reach for another book instead. It’s also possible to use these books as teaching tools for black history, civil rights, cooking (Yum Southern food) or just about anything else that a good book is needed for.

Read on or both, BAM, you’re done and you’ve satisfied item #4.


Books Diversity Reading Challenge

Banned Book Week: Have You Read This Banned Book?

Banned Book Week:
Have you read this banned book?

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor

Roll of Thunder


Why is the land so important to Cassie’s family? It takes the events of one turbulent year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she’s black—to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family’s lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride—no matter how others may degrade them, the Logans possess something no one can take away.

Is there anyone who hasn’t read Roll of Thunder? It’s a moving piece of literature for tweens to help them understand the lives of African Americans. It’s also just, GOOD. WRITING.  Written in the 70’s, this book is still frequently challenged today for its expression of racial themes and use of the “n” word. One family in Florida challenged it because they didn’t think it was appropriate for their own son, who was African American. They decided to keep the book but provided more sensitivity training to the teachers, which I think is a great idea. Here’s hoping that any teachers who include this book are teaching it as sensitively as they can. There’s so much to learn from this book.

If you’ve not read this book, why not try it? It’s a great addition to the Diversity Reading Challenge, too.

Books Diversity Reading Challenge

The Curse of the Bridal Chamber by @YeahHunter is My JAM!!

Yall, run to your local bookstore, online store, resident hoarder, or wherever you get books and get this book NOW. Go ‘head. I’ll wait.


There. Did’ja get it? Now, here’s what is so AWESOME about this book. Read a little blurb:

The indomitable senior sleuth Imogene and her outrageously endearing Alabama family find themselves in hot water while on a family vacation at a mermaid convention in sunny Florida. When Imogene and her brood, including Goose the bulldog, encounter a dead body floating in the freshwater springs beneath their glass-bottom boat, the local police immediately arrest one of the Alabama visitors for the crime.

Now the aging amateur crime solver must exonerate her own family, but unearthing a killer among the park’s past and present mermaids and employees promises to be no easy task, since so many of them are thrilled that the victim is sleeping with the fishes. And a decades-old curse that has deposited more than one dead body in the Bridal Chamber spring now seems focused on Imogene and her kin, who are wading into dangerous waters indeed. Witty and colorful, The Curse of the Bridal Chamber will keep you enthralled until the final surprising revelation.

So, Imogene is like 70 and her sister is older. But these two rascals don’t let their age get in the way. When I get to be that age I want to be as bad ass as them! These old broads have southern spunk, charm, and family pride that will make you cry from laughing so hard.  The best bit about this book is that two of the characters are gay, but it’s not the driving motivation of the story. They just happen to be that way. It doesn’t detract from the story and it’s in no way in appropriate. It’s good, clean, fun! Heck, even the cursing is cleaner than I’ve seen in recent YA books, although this isn’t targeted to YA.  Mild violence, but again, seen worse from middle grade books.

Imogene, and I believe the correct Southern pronunciation is I as in eye, mo- geen, will be your next favorite read. It’s perfect for EVERYONE!

Totally calling myself Maw Maw when I’m an older person. Heck I think I’d like to be called it now.  Total Diversity Reading Challenge material.

Did I mention MERMAIDS??


Books Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Discover Black History Month with Gone Crazy in Alabama AWARD WINNER

Discover Black History Month with
Gone Crazy in Alabama

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

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 2016 Diversity Reading Challenge because of the African American female main character.  Have you read RWG other books? What did you think?

Books Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

Discover Black History Month with Alice Walker & The Color Purple

Discover Black History Month
with Alice Walker

The Color Purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance and holler, just trying to be loved.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

“All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain’t safe in a family of men. But I never thought I’d have to fight in my own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead before I let him beat me.”

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

“She look so stylish it like the trees all round the house draw themself up tall for a better look.”

Books Children Non Fiction

President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House by Demi

I love this version of Abraham Lincoln’s life because it contains quotes and other information not usually found in books for kids.

President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House

President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House by Demi

From a small log cabin in Kentucky to the steps of the White House, Abraham Lincoln rose from humble beginnings to the very height of prominence and prestige. Leading America through the momentous events of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the abolition of slavery, the story of “Honest Abe” is one that all children should know. Now award-winning author and illustrator, Demi, recounts Lincoln s incredible life story of courage, wisdom, and compassion as only she can. Filled with stunning illustrations, this book contains an appendix of fascinating facts and famous quotes from Lincoln s life, as well as a timeline and map. President Lincoln: From Log Cabin to White House is not only a powerful teaching tool, but an entertaining and age-appropriate introduction to a man who has become one of the most influential and admired presidents of the United States.”

For readers who need more information (I’ve been known to fact check non fiction books I read), this book will satisfy! There are his quotes:

“God bless my mother. All that I am or ever hope to be I owe to her. ”

“Cruelty to animals is wrong. An ant’s life is to it, as sweet as ours to us.”

“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong”


There are illustrations, there are facts (did you know he is listed in the Wrestling Hall of Fame?), there’s a map (gotta have a map!), and there’s the Gettysburg Address (am I the only kid who memorized it?), there are dates.  There is so much to do with this book. It would take a week’s  to study it fully in a classroom. But HEY why not?

Tomorrow is Lincoln’s birthday although it is officially celebrated on the 15th of February as part of President’s Day. That means two days of cake!







2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books Young Adult

What’s In My Ear: Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper

There are lots of good and bad slave narratives out there. Lucky for you I stumbled across a good one:

Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper

Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper


Here’s a bit about the book:

Amari’s life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living in a beautiful village, she could not have imagined everything could be taken away from her in an instant. But when slave traders invade her village and brutally murder her entire family, Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present.

Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape, and with an indentured servant named Polly she flees to Fort Mose, Florida, in search of sanctuary at the Spanish colony. Can the elusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger?

Don’t be fooled by the sweet cover: there are mature topics like rape and murder that might not be suitable for younger readers. I would say 14 maybe? But oh what a great story. I loved hearing about the journey from the two different character’s points of view.  More people need to read this book and it would be a great addition to any study on the South and slavery.

Get this sleeper today!


2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Children

Taking the Mystery out of Black History Month

It’s February and that means Black History Month! YAY!!!! A month dedicated to celebrating African Americans and all the talents that they bring to the world. Black History Month is a great time to try something new: a book, a work of art, piece of music, etc., anything that was made special by people of color.

The problem is, where do you start?



To many people, deciding what to do or how to participate in Black History month is a mystery. That’s what ya have me for! I’ll help take the mystery out of what books, why, and for whom.

To kick off Black History Month I’d to remind you of Moses aka Harriet Tubman. This beautifully illustrated picture book written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by my crush Kadir Nelson is a great place to start.

The lils can look at the glorious illustrations. The older ones can listen attentively as you read about Harriet Tubman as she led her people (just like Moses) through the Underground Railroad; parts of which dissect Philadelphia, which is where I live.  You might learn something and you might find a new fave picture book.

Also? This book counts toward the 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge, as it’s written by a person of color AND there’s a person of color on the cover.