Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

I was thrilled to see this topic this week and decided to celebrate a range of books – right from picture books to young adult novels. As readers we need to see both ourselves and others in the books we read. Reading beyond ourselves? It opens up our world, deepens our understanding, makes us think differently. Reading about ourselves? It confirms. It soothes. It makes us feel connected. As a reader I want both of these experiences. As a teacher and a parent, I want these experiences for the children in my life.

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That We Need Diverse Books logo

The definition of diverse books on the We Need Diverse Books site is one that I always refer to:

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

From the Mission Statement on the We Need Diverse Books site.

Diverse Literature Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Ten of my favourites:

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

A book to savour. To read slowly. It inspires questions about the life of Frida Kahlo – her art, her culture, her passions. I had the pleasure of hearing author Yuyi Morales read this title aloud. Just beautiful.

 Viva Frida Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Shin-Chi’s Canoe written by Nicola Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave

An emotional story of two Aboriginal children (siblings) who are sent to residential school. Accessible for younger readers. The emotional pain endured by the families and children impacted by residential schools is powerful in this book. Beautifully illustrated.

Shin-Chi's Canoe Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

No 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke

Much to love in this title: the unique characters, the entertaining dynamics and the beautiful setting of Africa. So very, very good.

 No 1 Car Spotter Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

El Deafo by Cece Bell

All kinds of honest and vulnerable and powerful and hilarious. I am in awe of how this story is told, how friendship issues are explored and highlighted, how the power and powerlessness of a “disability” was portrayed through a child’s perspective.

El Deafo Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

A powerful story about the pull of home, the strength of family, the importance of culture and the complexities of personal and family histories.

Listen, Slowly Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Verse novels hold so much power to literally wrap us up in evocative images and in this case, personal history. In some senses, it feels like spying to be so close. A beautifully written memoir of a time and a place – oh so personal but yet, with connections and links to many more than young Jacqueline Woodson. A gift to readers.

brown girl dreaming Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan 

A story that is fictional but not at all. Because Habo’s story could be, might be and in fact, is, playing itself out STILL in Tanzania for other albino citizens. This book speaks to everything both beautiful and horrific about humanity.  A human rights crisis. One that needs attention. One that needs to stop. “Be that one person,” – the words Sullivan leaves us with in her author’s note. Read this book and remind yourself to be more human than less. A story that will never leave the reader. And never should.

goldenboyTop Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

I find myself strangely without words on this title about two young women – special education students now living on their own for the first time. The pages are seeped in vulnerability for so many reasons. There are some hard and heartbreaking pages. It’s a quick read that follows you around for days. I can see why the Schneider committee selected this book. A YA read.

Girls like us Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds 

What characters. What quietly bold and beautifully human characters. Jason Reynolds, these characters you write . . .

 When I was the Greatest Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

A shooting of a young teenage boy. Is it racially motivated? Who is at fault? What is the truth? All important questions. More important though -the grieving and the moving on of a community and family impacted by the loss of one of their own. Powerful.

how it went down Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

What titles would you add to this list?

Monday March 9th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. These are three of my girls pretending to be bored after they read I’m Bored and declared it “the best” and “Why haven’t you read this to us already?” I do try to read everything but every so often I miss something! Thankfully, I redeemed myself by putting this out on display.

Monday March 9th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayr

I am surprised I got reading in this week as I have continued to be happily spending my weekends immersed in literature conferences, but I did find some time to read some fantastic books.

My favourite picture books of the week:

Surprise by Mies van Hout 

So tender and sweet. Birds. Parenting, nurturing and loving. Love all of these bright on black illustrations. I have Happy and Friends and would love to add this to our collection.

Surprise Monday March 9th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Perfectly Percy by Paul Schmid 

Porcupines and balloons do not mix. Until, a solution is figured out. And then, of course they do!

Perfectly Percy Monday March 9th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Naomi’s Tree by Joy Kogawa and illustrated by Ruth Ohi

Rich in B.C. (in fact Vancouver) history and family stories, this is a beautiful book about a special tree planted in a yard that represents home. This title tells a piece of the stories of Japanese Canadians during the war.

Naomi's Tree Monday March 9th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Inside this Book by Barney Saltzberg

Released next month, this title tickled the fancy of my many artists and writers in the room. Making books, books within books, child authored works . . . very appealing in my classroom!

Inside this Book Monday March 9th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie by Chris Van Allsburg 

I was worried about this title. In fact, I had decided not to read it after reading many reviews. But, it came into our room with a guest reader and my students were quite engaged. It provoked lots of discussion and some amazing book reviews with thoughtful writing. I will be sharing these soon on our classroom blog.

The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie Monday March 9th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

In other reading . . .

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

My eye is now firmly on this author. Loved this book. What characters. So much grief and challenge but the humanity shines bright. Highly recommended.

boy in the black suit Monday March 9th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

A shooting of a young teenage boy. Is it racially motivated? Who is at fault? What is the truth? All important questions. More important though -the grieving and the moving on of a community and family impacted by the loss of one of their own. Powerful.

how it went down Monday March 9th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up next? I have a huge pile of books coming with me on a week away with my family. First up? When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds and then We Were Here by Matt de la Peña and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 10/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 81/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 5/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 11/50 books read