This list is meant to include many different types of diversity and is intended only as a guide to selection. We have focused on settings, themes, and protagonists who have been underrepresented in mainstream literature.
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty; David Roberts (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2016-09-06
A #1 New York Times Bestseller A Wall Street Journal Bestseller A USA Today Bestseller The creators of the New York Times bestselling picture books Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect are back with a story about the power of curiosity in the hands of a child who is on a mission to use science to understand her world. Ada Twist, Scientist, from powerhouse team Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, is a celebration of STEM, perseverance, and passion. Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it's up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble! Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science.
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley; Lauren Castillo (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2016-04-01
Featuring lyrical text and beautiful illustrations, this bedtime tale from Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley and Caldecott Honor recipient Lauren Castillo evokes the splashy fun of the beach and the quietude of a moonlit night, with twenty yawns sprinkled in for children to discover and count. As her mom reads a bedtime story, Lucy drifts off. But later, she awakens in a dark, still room, and everything looks mysterious. How will she ever get back to sleep?
Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy; Theresa Howell; Rafael López (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine! Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California,Maybe Something Beautifulreveals how art can inspire transformation--and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration!
Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2016-02-16
Stunning collage art full of rich color, glorious details, and a sense of wonder--reminiscent of the work of Ezra Jack Keats--illustrate this delightful story celebrating the poetry found in the world around us. What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew? Spider thinks so. Is it crisp leaves crunching? That's what Squirrel says. Could it be a cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass? Maybe poetry is all of these things, as it is something special for everyone--you just have to take the time to really look and listen.
For their move far away, Gracie and Jake are sad to leave the golden bridge, the trolley tracks, and Nai Nai.But they fill empty boxes with treasures-- a marble, a snake, a pair of wings. Tiny reminders of all they love-- so happiness stays close, no matter where they go. With grace and warmth, this lyrical picture book speaks to the difficulty of transition, and celebrates the ways in which love and family give us the strength to weather life's changes.
Anna Hibiscus welcomes not one but two new baby brothers in her latest picture book. It's going to be a big adjustment for everyone, especially Anna Hibiscus. Luckily, her family knows that while two babies mean double the trouble, it also means double the love.
Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule--until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
Firebird by Misty Copeland; Christopher Myers (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2014-09-04
In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl--an every girl--whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl's faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird. Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers's best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspriring ballerinas everywhere.
Maria is from Spain, Jin is from Korea, and Fatima is from Somalia. All three are new to their American elementary school, and each has trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity. Young readers from all backgrounds will appreciate this touching story about the assimilation of three immigrant students in a supportive school community. Anne Sibley O'Brien is the founder of I'm Your Neighbor, an organization that promotes children's literature featuring "new arrival" cultures. As the rate of immigration to the United States increases, topics related to immigration are increasingly more important in the classroom and home. I'm New Here domonstrates how our global community can work together and build a home for all.
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.
What color is your mood? On a really good day, Jamie feels purple like the first bite of a juicy cold plum. And with a crayon in his hand, Jamie eases into a green feeling--like a dragon dancing through a jungle made of green jello. But when his brothers push him around and make fun of his drawings, Jamie feels like a dark gray storm brewing. What will it take to put Jamie back in a bright-feeling mood?
Elmore Green starts life as an only child, as many children do. He has a room to himself, where he can line up his precious things and nobody will move them one inch. But one day everything changes. When the new small person comes along, it seems that everybody might like it a bit more than they like Elmore Green. And when the small person knocks over Elmore’s things and even licks his jelly-bean collection, Elmore’s parents say that he can’t be angry because the small person is only small. Elmore wants the small person to go back to wherever it came from. Then, one night, everything changes. . . . In her signature visual style, Lauren Child gets to the heart of a child’s evolving emotions about becoming a big brother or sister.
Sophia tries varied techniques to get the giraffe she wants more than anything in this playfully illustrated story about the nuances of negotiation. Sophia has one true desire for her birthday. But she has Four Big Problems in the way: Mom, Dad, Uncle Conrad...and Grand-mama. Will her presentations, proposals, and pie charts convince them otherwise? Turns out, all it takes is one word.
A young child asks his mother to tell the story of where he came from. "I might tell how you came from a land far away in a hot air balloon. The basket slowly drifted down like a feather into our yard. I dropped the firewood I was carrying and ran to you. 'You're home now,' I said." Or maybe it was a lark'and not a stork'that brought the child to the mother. Or perhaps he was rescued from a dragon! Each lyrical and fantastic tale contains a small kernel of truth that pieces together the baby's journey across a wide ocean into his new mother's arms. -Beautifully illustrated by Jessica Lanan, The Story I'll Tell is a gentle and moving story of adoption and parental love that is sure to touch the hearts of readers everywhere, no matter how they came to be a family.
When a boy is left in the care of his older sister, he begs her to read him his favorite book, but she is too absorbed in her own reading to pay him any attention. She won't be distracted, even when the boy finds a ravenous tiger hiding in his soup! His sister misses all the action; only after the steamy beast is slain does she return to the table with her brother and finally agree to read to him. But is the tiger really gone?
In this moving and timely story, a young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the U.S. border. They travel mostly on the roof of a train known as The Beast, but the little girl doesn’t know where they are going. She counts the animals by the road, the clouds in the sky, the stars. Sometimes she sees soldiers. She sleeps, dreaming that she is always on the move, although sometimes they are forced to stop and her father has to earn more money before they can continue their journey. As many thousands of people, especially children, in Mexico and Central America continue to make the arduous journey to the U.S. border in search of a better life, this is an important book that shows a young migrant’s perspective.
A sweet and simple bedtime story, written in both English and Inuktitut, introduces readers to several short myths from Inuit mythology Kudlu's children will not go to sleep until he tells them a story of long ago. Before they will shut their eyes, they want to hear about a time long before Kudlu was born, a time when the world was magic. Before they can sleep, they want to hear about giants, animals disguised as humans, little people the size of lemmings, and all of the other wonderful things that existed way back then.
A lonely boy’s new pet grows into a rather large dilemma—and a Thanksgiving parade offers an uplifting solution—in this charming tale from the author of The Boy and the Airplane and The Girl and the Bicycle. When Leonard takes a shortcut through the park, he finds an egg and takes it home, where it hatches into a lizard (or so Leonard thinks). Leonard names his new pet Buster and takes him all around the city: on the subway, to the library, to a baseball game, and more. But Buster keeps growing and growing—and Leonard gets the sense that Buster is longing for something Leonard can’t provide. Before long, Buster becomes too big to keep, and Leonard realizes he needs to set Buster free. So Leonard comes up with an inventive plan, one that involves all the balloons Leonard can find and the annual Thanksgiving parade, in an imaginative plot twist that will spark readers’ imaginations—and touch their hearts.
Written in a spare, lyrical style using fresh, evocative imagery,In a Village by the Sea tells the story of longing for the comforts of home. A perfect book for teaching about diverse cultures and lifestyles through rich pictures and words, moving from the wide world to the snugness of home and back out again.
Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian; Mike Curato (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2016-01-05
Perfect for fans of And Tango Makes Three and The Sissy Duckling, this irresistible picture book is a celebration of love in all its splendid forms from debut author J. J. Austrian and the acclaimed author-illustrator of Little Elliot, Big City, Mike Curato. You are cordially invited to celebrate the wedding of a worm . . . and a worm. When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next: They get married! But their friends want to know-who will wear the dress? And who will wear the tux? The answer is: It doesn't matter. Because Worm loves worm.
Bunnybear by Andrea J. Loney; Carmen Saldaña (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2017-01-31
Although Bunnybear was born a bear, he feels more like a bunny. He prefers bouncing in the thicket to tramping in the forest, and in his heart he's fluffy and tiny, like a rabbit, instead of burly and loud, like a bear. The other bears don't understand him, and neither do the bunnies. Will Bunnybear ever find a friend who likes him just the way he is?
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim; Grace Zong (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2015-12-01
In this Chinese American retelling of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda's rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.
Lewis's dad said he had an itch he needed to scratch'a book itch. How to scratch it? He started the National Memorial African Bookstore. It became a center of black culture and a home to activists like Malcolm X.
For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v. Virginia. This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state's laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents' love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court -- and won!
Pura Belpré Award, Illustrator Honor Latino Book Award, Winner Green is a chile pepper, spicy and hot. Green is cilantro inside our pot. In this lively picture book, children discover a world of colors all around them: red is spices and swirling skirts, yellow is masa, tortillas, and sweet corn cake. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the colors found in every child's day!
In this lively picture book, children discover a world of shapes all around them: rectangles are ice-cream carts and stonemetates, triangles are slices of watermelon andquesadillas. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the shapes found in every child's day!
Explore a little-known story of the civil rights movement, in which black and white citizens in one Alabama city worked together nonviolently to end segregation. Mention the civil rights era in Alabama, and most people recall images of terrible violence. But something different was happening in Huntsville. For the citizens of that city, creativity, courage, and cooperation were the keys to working together to integrate their city and schools in peace. In an engaging celebration of this lesser-known chapter in American and African-American history, author Hester Bass and illustrator E. B. Lewis show children how racial discrimination, bullying, and unfairness can be faced successfully with perseverance and ingenuity.
Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford; R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2016-01-05
2017 Caldecott Honor 2017 Coretta Scott King Honor 2017 Charlotte Zolotow Award A 2016 New York Times Best Illustrated Book This poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human's capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans' Congo Square was truly freedom's heart.
Picture Book Biographies
Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe
Publication Date: 2016-10-25
Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Somewhere in Brooklyn, a little boy dreams of being a famous artist, not knowing that one day he would make himself a king. Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen.
Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2014-11-04
Meet two heroes of Pakistan who stood up for the rights to freedom and education in these inspirational nonfiction tales from acclaimed author-illustrator Jeanette Winter. Two stories of bravery in one beautiful book—including the story of Malala Yousafzai, a winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize! One country: Pakistan. Two children: Iqbal Masih and Malala Yousafzai. Each was unafraid to speak out. He, against inhumane child slavery in the carpet trade. She, for the right of girls to attend school. Both were shot by those who disagreed with them—he in 1995, she in 2012. Iqbal was killed instantly; Malala miraculously survived and continues to speak out around the world. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work. The stories of these two courageous children whose bravery transcended their youth, beautifully written and illustrated by celebrated author Jeanette Winter, are an inspiration to all.
When the Slave Esperança Garcia Wrote a Letter by Sonia Rosa; Jane Springer (Translator); Luciana Justiniani Hees (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2015-10-06
In 1770, the slave Esperança Garcia bravely penned a letter to the governor of Piauí state, in Brazil, describing how she and her children were being mistreated and requesting permission to return to the farm where the rest of her family was living. Before she wrote her letter, Esperança Garcia lived on a cotton farm run by Jesuit priests, where she learned to read and write -- a rare opportunity for a woman, especially a slave. But one day she was separated from her husband and older children and taken with her two little ones to be a cook in the home of Captain Antonio Vieira de Couto, where she and the other slaves were beaten and denied even the freedom to attend church. In despair, Esperança Garcia wrote to the governor about her terrible situation, asking if she and her young children could return to the farm. She waited each day for a reply, never giving up hope. And although she never received an answer, she is remembered today for being the courageous slave who wrote the first letter of appeal in Afro-Brazilian Brazil.
Sitting Bull by S. D. Nelson
Publication Date: 2015-11-03
Sitting Bull (c. 1831-1890) was one of the greatest Lakota/Sioux warriors and chiefs who ever lived. From Sitting Bull's childhood--killing his first buffalo at age 10--to being named war chief to leading his people against the U.S. Army, Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People brings the story of the great chief to light. Sitting Bull was instrumental in the war against the invasive wasichus (white men) and was at the forefront of the combat, including the Battles of Killdeer Mountain and the Little Bighorn. He and Crazy Horse were the last Lakota/Sioux to surrender their people to the U.S. government and resort to living on a reservation. The book includes an extensive author's note and timeline, historical photographs, a map, a bibliography, endnotes, and an index.
Poet by Don Tate (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2015-09-01
George loved words. But George was enslaved. Forced to work long hours, George was unable to attend school or learn how to read. But he was determined -- he listened to the white children's lessons and learned the alphabet. Then he taught himself to read. Soon, he began composing poetry in his head and reciting it as he sold fruits and vegetables on a nearby college campus. News of the slave poet traveled quickly among the students, and before long, George had customers for his poems. But George was still enslaved. Would he ever be free? In this powerful biography of George Moses Horton, the first southern African--American man to be published, Don Tate tells an inspiring and moving story of talent and determination.
When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind. Lyrically told and gloriously illustrated, this story will inspire many as it shows how - even in the worst of times - a great idea and a lot of hard work can still rock the world.
Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was dismissed by most people--but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.
Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.
Series Chapter Books
Lost in the Tunnel of Time by Sharon M. Draper; Jesse Joshua Watson (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2011-07-12
In Lost in the Tunnel of Time, the boys discover their hometown was a stop on the Underground Railroad and are excited to explore the part of the tunnel that is right under their school. When a trapdoor slams behind them, locking them in the tunnel, there's only one thing they can do -- plunge deeper and deeper into the darkness. Where will the tunnel lead them? And will the old, crumbling walls hold until they find their way to the end?
Alexandrea Petrakova Johnson does not want to be a beautiful ballerina, and she does not want to leave her friends in Apple Creek. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop her ballet-crazy mother from moving them to Harlem, or from enrolling Al at the Nutcracker School of Ballet. Life is hard when you're the new ballerina on the block, and it's even harder when you're chosen to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in the school recital! Not only is Al a terrible dancer, but she's also got a rotten case of stage fright! Al's ballet classmates are going to have to use all the plum power they've got to coach this scary fairy!
EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken by Sally Warner; Jamie Harper (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2011-05-12
Eight-year-old EllRay Jakes is sick of getting picked on. But every time he tries to defend himself against class bully Jared Matthews, EllRay is the one who winds up in trouble. It's just not fair! Then his dad offers him a deal: If EllRay can stay out of trouble for a week, they'll go to Disneyland! But being good for one whole week is not so easy. . . . This humorous and true-to-life story kicks off the EllRay series, which is just right for boys (and girls!) who are beginning to read chapter books.
All about Ellie by Callie Barkley; Marsha Riti (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2013-01-01
The Critter Club has baby bunnies to care for-but is Ellie too busy aiming for showstopper status to help out her friends? The Critter Club is up and running, and so are the girls-especially Ellie! She's wanted to perform her entire life, so when she lands the lead role in Santa Vista Elementary School's Spring Spectacular, it's her big chance to show her stuff! But as Ellie's big performance draws near, will she let the play and her determination to succeed get in the way of being a good friend? What about caring for the baby rabbits that were just brought to The Critter Club? Some very helpful advice from an unexpected source reminds Ellie that being a good friend is just as important as doing what you love. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, The Critter Club chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.
The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue by Tony Abbott; Colleen Madden (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2012-02-28
Fans of Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Ook and Glook and Patricia Reilly Giff's ZigZag Kids will flock to this chapter-book mystery series full of slapstick humor and silly situations by the wildly popular Tony Abbott, author of the Secrets of Droon series. The Goofballs Jeff, Brian, Mara and Kelly, haven't had a mystery to solve in a while, so they help decorate for the 100th Anniversary of Badger Point school celebration. The new statue of the first principal is being unveiled at the party but the statue has disappeared. With clues like a skateboard in a piano, a broken pencil, a scrap of paper that smells like chlorine, and a climbing rope hung differently than the others, the Goofballs solve their goofiest mystery yet.
Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay; Priscilla Lamont (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2013-03-01
Lulu loves animals. When Lulu goes on vacation, she finds there's a stray dog living on the beach. Everyone in the town thinks the dog is trouble. But Lulu is sure he just needs a friend. And that he's been waiting for someone just like her. The second book in this early chapter book series for young animal-lovers.
Ling and Ting by Grace Lin
Publication Date: 2015-11-03
Ling and Ting have fun, rain or shine, in the fourth book of this irresistible early reader series. The adorable twins Ling and Ting from the Geisel Honor early reader series are back to have fun in Winter, Spring, Fall, and Summer, giving parents and educators the perfect opportunity to teach young readers about every season of the year. This beloved series has received five starred reviews. Kirkus writes about the series, "These twins make learning to read double the fun."