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  • Writer's pictureOn the Same Page Boston

Children's Books Promoting Diversity

Today we are featuring a short and incomplete list of books which you could donate to our campaign to help promote kids exposure to representation of themselves and of cultures they might be unfamiliar with.

  1. The Making of Butterflies by Zora Neale Hurston, retold/adapted by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Kah Yangni

This is a retelling of Hurston’s classic African American folktale. Kendi is a New York Times bestselling author and antiracist scholar. Illustrator Kah Yangni has said on their website that they use art to “heal themself and others by making art that focuses on radical optimism, and the chance we have to make the world a better place.”

2. Platanos Go with Everything/Los Plantanos van con todo: Bilingual English/Spanish edition by Lisette Norman illustrated by Sara Palacios

This story celebrates Dominican heritage and features both English and Spanish text on every page. This text is perfect for multilingual families, or families who struggle with reading english stories to their children. It is a story of familial love and the joy that comes from being authentic in your cultural identity.

3. Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho illustrated by Dung Ho

This book shares the story of a young Taiwanese girl who wishes she had eyes like those of her peers, until she notices that hers look like those of her mom, grandmother, and her sister. It is a journey of selflove and appreciation of individual beauty and strength. This story is meant to empower young children to love their features and see beauty outside of western ideals.

4. Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers by Junauda Petrus, Illustrated by Kristen Uroda

Based on a poem by the author, this books looks at an optimistic vision of the future where safety is a community based effort promoting mutual aid. This story imagines a world without police. It is an inspired take on the future, which aims to promotes creative thinking and optimism in the children who read it.

5. The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad Illustrated by S. K. Ali Hatem Aly

This book tells the story of a girl on her first day of school while it is her sister’s first day wearing a hijab. The sister is exposed to some hurtful words and viewpoints, but finds a way to be strong. It is a story that teaches resilience, selfpride and love, and promotes acceptance of cultural differences.

6. Little Leena Learns About Ramadan by Zainab Fadlallah

Zainab has said that she wrote this book to help children of all backgrounds understand what Ramadan is. Reading this book provides kids with an opportunity to become acquainted with either their own culture or a culture that they do not have any experience with.

7. Masterpiece by Alexandra Hoffman Illustrated by Beatriz Mello

The main character of this book is a child on the Autism spectrum. It displays how being on the spectrum can alter a person’s perspective of the world. The story not only shares but promotes the idea of empathy, understanding, and acceptance.

8. You Come from Greatness: A Celebration of Black History by Sara Chinakwe Ilustrated by Ken Daley

In this book, a father tells his son about his ancestry, sharing the impact and legacy of those who have come before them. The diverse experiences the boy is told his ancestors have had work to show other black kids that they can do and be whatever they aspire to. It promotes the idea of selflove and worth, loving who you are and the people you came from.

9. Our Lunar New Year by Yobe Qiu

In this book, 5 kids explain the way that their families celebrate the lunar new year. It shows the cultural differences and experiences of Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Indian heritage when it comes to the Lunar New Year. This books provides kids with a broader perspective on the holiday and the cultures that celebrate it.

10. Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Fry Bread gives a look at the modern day Native American family through the lens of a food which acts as a shared tradition for diverse tribes across the continent. This book emphasizes connectivity within communities of family and friends. It provides representation through the depictions of indigenous diversity with the School Library Journal stating it “shows and affirms Native lives.

You may be wondering why On the Same Page is highlighting diverse books. This is best explained by authors themselves. Reading Rockets held video interviews with authors asking them to finish the sentence starting with we need diverse books. Author Jewel Parker Rhodes said, “we need to be able to see everyone’s picture in a book.” Showing kids books with characters and families that remind them of their own show that they are not alone, even if they are unique and their culture or appearance is not the same as those of their classmates. You can help Sam Adam Elementry School students find themselves part of a story by considering finding these and other diverse titles and donating them to our campaign.

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