Educator Rudine Sims Bishop wrote of literature as “mirrors” and “windows” where we can both see ourselves and see the lives of other people (you can read her full thoughts here). Reading a wide variety of authentic books about different people can help kids and teens connect with others and with a global society. Here are just a few of my recommendations:
February is African American History month, and this picture book biography helps celebrate this champion of human rights.
Take a trip to an Indian market with this picture book. Its unique size and layout is great for talking about artistic choices with children and its vivid colors and typography create an interactive reading experience.
Chapter Books for Kids:
Aref is a third-grader living in Oman when his father is accepted at the University of Michigan for graduate study. But Aref is heartbroken at leaving his home in Oman and his beloved Siddi, his grandfather. Will Aref be able to hold on to everything he loves about Oman while still looking forward to a new life in Michigan?
Combining humor with a vivid portrayal of growing up African American during the 1960s and the Black Panther movement, Rita Williams-Garcia tells the tale of the intrepid and spunky eleven-year-old Delphine and her two sisters as they navigate their relationship with their mother and learn a few things about themselves. Follow it up with more tales about the sisters in the sequels P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama.
Books for Teens:
Fourteen-year-old Sofia lives in a beloved close-knit Mexican community in Texas but also dreams of a world outside her home. She works hard to prove herself and ends up being accepted to a prestigious boarding school in Austin. The storytelling traditions of her family and community help her to face racism, an unfamiliar world, and growing up in this nuanced and rich novel based on the author’s personal experiences.
Based on Congressman John Lewis’s experiences in the Civil Rights Movement, this graphic novel is the first in a planned trilogy capturing the images and words of a movement that changed American history and one that still sparks calls to action for human rights and dignity today. Continue the story with March: Book Two.
This graphic novel illustrates three intertwining tales that come together in a powerful demonstration of belonging and identity. With Gene Luen Yang just appointed the U.S. National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, it’s a great time to read or reread his work!
Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet with Israeli and Palestinian ties, shines a light on the Middle East, its conflicts, and the voices and hopes of its people in this collection of poetry.
Check out this booklist for more recommendations or ask a librarian!
Posted by: Dawn