Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

I AM #BLACKHISTORYMONTH – Alice Walker’s The Color Purple #Herstory

Let’s celebrate Black History Month with The Color Purple by Alice Walker

I remember in college first reading this phrase and it struck me; Everything wants to be loved. And I still believe it’s true.

Do you have a quote from The Color Purple?

Children Diversity Reading Challenge


Let’s celebrate Black History Month with Poetry

Poetry, you either love it or you hate it.Sometimes you get it sometimes you don’t. Even when you don’t get it you pretend like you do because you don’t want to look like a jerk who doesn’t understand poetry, right? As long as it rhymes, I like it. Everyone needs a poem in their pocket, right?

On the Bus with Rosa Parks, Poems by Rita Dove

The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves by Gwendolyn Brooks

Maya Angelou

Poetry for Young People by Langston Hughes

Guess who wrote this poem?

The crocodile cried. The lion sighed. The leopard sneered. The jaguar jeered. The antelope shouted. The panther pouted. Everyone screamed “We never dreamed that ever could be in history a tiger who loves to wear white gloves.”

Gwendolyn Brooks!


Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

I AM #BLACKHISTORYMONTH – For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange.

Let’s celebrate Black History Month with

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange.

Children Diversity Reading Challenge

I AM #BLACKHISTORYMONTH – It’s Kadir Nelson Day!

Let’s celebrate Black History Month with Kadir Nelson

You know how much I love me some Kadir Nelson, right? You know I couldn’t go more than a minute without featuring his books, right? So Let’s go! Welcome to Channel Kadir Nelson!!


Baby Bear

Please, Baby, Please

Ellington Was Not a Street


D’ya get the idea? Kadir Nelson is a prolific illustrator. Take a look at your bookshelves. You prolly have one of his there already. If not, GO GET ONE!!


Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

I AM #BLACKHISTORYMONTH -#Herstory – Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz

Let’s celebrate Black History Month with
Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz

Rad Women Worldwide discusses women around the globe but there is one woman in particular that I’d like to feature in today’s post.

Kasha Jacqueline Nagabasera.  This young woman is a lesbian in a Uganda, a coutnry that punishes homosexuals with death. It’s not a safe place to be but Kasha Jacqueline is a prominent LGBTI (Intersex) activist.  She is called The Mother of the Gay Rights Movement and speaks out against homophobia and acted as Grand Marshall of the New York City Gay Pride parade. She’s been beaten, arrested, attacked, and lives in secret with friends.

True bravery. Truly admirable and part of Black History in her own country but also an inspiration here, as she doesn’t let fear keep her from her beliefs.

That’s it for Black History Month! See you in March!

Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult


Let’s celebrate Black History Month with

The Graphic Novel

You’ve been living under a rock if you didn’t know that Graphic Novels are HOTT. Hotter than Hot! They appeal to so many different types of readers it is unreal. And YES, there are graphic novels for girls, boys AND AFRICAN AMERICANS.

Check it out

The March Series
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow
A Right to be Hostile: A Boondocks Treasury
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
Little Miss Strange: Curse Of The Chameleon God

You can find more graphic novels, for kids and adults at Library Journal.



Children Diversity Reading Challenge


Let’s celebrate Black History Month with

YA books for the Fellas

Books for the Guys include:

Walter Dean Myers: Fallen Angels, Monster, & Sunrise Over Fallujah

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Between the World and Me

MK Asante: Buck

See you tomorrow!



Children Diversity Reading Challenge

I AM #BLACKHISTORYMONTH – It’s Kadir Nelson Day!

Let’s celebrate Black History Month with Kadir Nelson

You know how much I love me some Kadir Nelson, right? You know I couldn’t go more than a minute without featuring his books, right? So Let’s go! Welcome to Channel Kadir Nelson!!


Baby Bear

Please, Baby, Please

Ellington Was Not a Street


D’ya get the idea? Kadir Nelson is a prolific illustrator. Take a look at your bookshelves. You prolly have one of his there already. If not, GO GET ONE!!


Diversity Diversity Reading Challenge

Discover your Next Read Black History Month: A Round-Up

Black History Month: A Round-Up

I’m not the only person writing about Black History Month so I thought I would share some blog posts written by my friends from around the internet.

My friend Sussu shares a few of her faves:

Dancing in the wingsMost African-American picture books are about feeling grand, having super powers, liking oneself and about looks. They often portray characters who need to feel better about themselves, who show how to accept oneself and how to be proud of who they are.

Some African-American books are also about famous people and slavery.

The books I read in the USA are so different from the books I have grown up with in France, a country with many African influences, especially since the colonial times. The African tales I read and was told about are populated with tales born in Africa and passed on from generation to generation. These tales hint at the folklore, the culture, the nature, the bravery of African people, the feats they have to overcome. Oftentimes the characters were brave, especially when they had to face witches and wild animals. Often the characters were wise and cunning. They also talked to trees, to animals, and to rivers. These tales were also filled with animal tales as in Africa each animal symbolises a quality. I also learned of the savanna, the desert, the fishermen and African villages, of healers, chiefs, and spriritual leaders, of communities and griots (the living libraries). These tales talked about cultures that live overseas.


Sussu highlights Kadir Nelson’s illustrations in this post and you KNOW how much I love him! For more of this post, check her out at

Another topic to discuss during Black History Month is the diversity of POC. Not all POC  practice the same religion. That’s why it’s important to include people who identify as Muslim. After all, they are people of color too. Muslim children, especially need to see themselves portrayed positively. Sussu highlights an absolutely ADORABLE book called Nanni’s Hijab.

Nanni is quite the attraction at school with her beautiful hijabs, so it doesn’t come as a surprise when one of her classmates is unappreciative. It is hard for new kids to see all the attention drawn to someone else because, after all, being new should be something that gets people’s attention. Soon, the new classmate, Leslie, tries to bully Nanni, but instead of retaliating, Nanni finds a smart way to solve the issue.  And it’s truly inspiring.


It’s a beautifully illustrated picture book that celebrates the hijab and is perfect for all littles: windows and mirrors, remember? Read more about Nanni’s Hijab here.

And speaking of representing Muslims, Sussu features a list of YA books with Muslim characters which includes the new Ms Marvel! Check it out!

Remember, diversity is for everyone. We all learn and grow when we read diverse books.  All of these titles would qualify for the Diversity Reading Challenge!



Diversity Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup: Picture Books to Middle Grade

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup

Picture Books to Middle Grade

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 Mapping My Day By Julie Dillemuth, Lura Wood

Mapping My Day by July Dillemuth

Is a delightful book! I’m all about any book with a POC on the cover, right? But also? I love when books are sneaky and get some teaching in. The sneaky teaching way this book helps kids learn is by talking about something that kids use and love every day: maps! What kid doesn’t love drawing a treasure map like a pirate? Without even knowing it, kids will realize that they already know how to read and/draw maps and possibly legends. What kid doesn’t love tracing routes on a map? You know those: help so and so get to X location? That’s tracing a map. Kids love those activity sheets!

Spatial relations is a big word that means where things are in relation to other things and kids will love the fun and easy way that Flora (with her multi-racial family) relate to each other and other places spatially. Bonus points for milk squirting out of your nose at dinner.

So much fun learning. Also, counts for the Diversity Reading Challenge because the main character is a poc. Yay!

#2 Calling The Water Drum By Latisha Redding, Illustrated By Aaron Boyd

Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding

There is so much to love about this book. First the author and illustrator are both people of color which is a big win in my book. But of course, that’s what makes L&L so fab. They specialize in diversity. Calling the Water Drum is a tender fictionalized account of the Haitian refugee crisis from the 80s and 90s but told through the viewpoint of a very young boy who plays the drum instead of speaking. Young Henri’s perished traveling from Haiti to freedom in America and all the boy has left of his parents is the bucket they used in the boat to bail water out. Henri uses the drum as a way to connect to his family and friends he left back in Haiti and to connect with his new friends in New York.

Because children generally respond well to music I thought it would be fun to learn to make a drum so kids can express themselves like Henri.

The easiest way to make a drum is to find an old bucket, make sure it’s clean and empty, and bam, instant drum.

If you want to get a little more creative, there are many ways to make a drum without spending a dime.

  • Find an old coffee can or oatmeal container.
  • You’ll need materials to cover the open end, like: a balloon, an old scrap of leather, or wax paper.
  • Cover the open end with your material, ie., wax paper. use string, duct tape, or very large rubber bands to hold the wax paper to the sides of the can.
  • You’re done!
  • If you want to get extra fancy you can decorate the sides of your drum however you like: markers, spray paint, stickers, etc. The sky’s limit with your imagination!

When you’re ready to play, you can use your hands like Henri or use pencils as drumsticks. There are lots of lessons on Youtube to teach you how to drum with your hands if you want to go that route. Try to imitate the sounds and the rhythms that Henri makes in the book.

#3 Schmelf The Hanukkah By Greg Wolfe

Shmelf is one of Santa’s most important elves. He’s part of the List Checking department, and he makes sure all the good boys and girls get their presents! But when Shmelf finds out that some children are missing from Santa’s list, he goes to investigate.

What Shmelf uncovers is Hanukkah, a wondrous and joyful holiday that Jewish families celebrate each year. As Shmelf observes a family lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and hearing the Hanukkah story, he sees how special the traditions of the holiday truly are-and he wants to be a part of it! Luckily, Santa just might have a special role in mind for Shmelf….

Isn’t that the cutest little elf face ever? I love that this book is focused on the little ones. I know some little ones don’t understand that they celebrate differently than their friends. Here’s a way to make Hanukkah feel special for the little ones who are confused or who want to learn about Hanukkah.


Even though this book is for the littles, let’s make it count for their Diversity Reading Challenge.

#4 Marvelous Cornelius By Phil Binder

Marvelous Cornelius by Phll Binder

In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

You know you’re gonna love a book when the opening quote features Martin Luther King, Jr. And this quote is a good one: “Even if it’s called your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo…who swept his job well.” That’s a great quote to aptly describe Cornelius, a garbage man in New Orleans. Marvelous Cornelius had a great spirit and a love for his community, which my buddy Phil aptly captures in the book. Young readers can learn about the history of Hurricane Katrina, but also learn that you can take pride in any job you do.

And who doesn’t love a book when the call to arms is “Hootie Hooooooo”?

No one, that’s who.

This book is great for K-3 and older. Also perfect for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

#5 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. It’s been on my TBR list since October when the lovely author gifted it to me at KidLitCon.

#6 Making Friend With Billy Wong By Augusta Scattergood


Azalea is not happy about being dropped off to look after Grandmother Clark. Even if she didn’t care that much about meeting the new sixth graders in her Texas hometown, those strangers seem much preferable to the ones in Paris Junction. Talk about troubled Willis DeLoach or gossipy Melinda Bowman. Who needs friends like these!
And then there’s Billy Wong, a Chinese-American boy who shows up to help in her grandmother’s garden. Billy’s great-aunt and uncle own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long and some folks aren’t friendly. For Azalea, whose family and experiences seem different from most everybody she knows, friendship has never been easy. Maybe this time, it will be.

Why you should read it: Well other than because I said so, it’s a look into the civil rights in the South and Chinese immigrants. You know , Blacks weren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of civil rights either, right? So here’s a tale that tweens and young teens can appreciate. Go on and add this title to your Diversity Reading Challenge list. It’s on mine!

#7 Pug Meets Pig By Sue Lowell Gallion, Joyce Wan


“This is Pug’s home. This is where Pug lives.”

You know you’re going to love a book when the first page spread reveals a cute little dog running in the yard. SMILING.

I was smitten.

But all of a sudden cute little Pug has trouble.

Enter Pig.

Pig is eating Pug’s food, sleeping in his bed and generally making Pug unhappy.

And OMG Pug makes some bad choices and both he and little Pig are sad. (I’m not going to SPOIL)

#8 Passing The Bone: America’s Next Potus


Now I’m not one to normally talk politics. There are enough people around who do that. What I do like to talk about is books for kids. And I’m glad to talk about books for kids that explain current events in ways that kids can understand. That’s why I love Passing the Bone. Along with Doreen Cronin’s Duck for President, these books explain in a fun way something about politics. That way kids can get in on the action too!

The author, Heather Patterson is a kindergarten teacher, and you know how resourceful they are! So not only did she write a book for the littles, she provides lesson plans, and other classroom activities. If you head to her site, you’ll find absolutely ADORBS interactive slideshows of parts of the book.

Bo Obama, Pup Of The United States, shares the dos and don’ts of America’s First Pup as he prepares to pass the bone to his canine successor. The entire nation is wondering, Who will be the next POTUS? May the best candidate win!


I love love love this book and what kid doesn’t want to read about Bo Obama? Just in time for election season, grab a copy of this book and when you tire of the election coverage, re-read Passing the Bone and find some joy in the election process by teaching the kiddos.

I also checked out Heather’s Pinterest, and it’s super cute, just like her. I’m such a fan of kindergarten teachers, they’re the gatekeepers of school. Who was your kindergarten teacher?