The response to our recent list of Culturally Diverse books has been passionate and engaging. Many SLJ readers pointed out the lack of titles focusing on Native American culture—particularly titles by Native authors and illustrators. Below is an expanded list based on those suggestions as well as favorite new titles selected by Betsy Bird, K. Horning, the editors at the Horn Book, and other golden boy abigail tarttelin pdf in the field.
Annotations are excerpted from SLJ reviews, except where noted. We encourage our readers to continue to post great title recommendations in the comments section. Playing alone in his room, Niño dons his Lucha Libre mask and lets his imagination take flight. According to an endnote, Lucha Libre is a dramatic form of professional wrestling followed by fans in Mexico. The young hero is then ready to take on an eclectic cast of monstrous opponents. Told from the perspective of Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the Trail of Tears, this is a tale of innocence and resilience in the face of tragedy. Isaac leads a remarkable foursome of Choctaw comrades: a tough-minded teenage girl, a shape-shifting panther boy, a lovable five-year-old ghost who only wants her mom and dad to be happy, and Isaac’s talking dog, Jumper.
Armed with poetry and Black Panther pride, the girls contend with Big Ma’s rules, Uncle Darnell’s homecoming from Vietnam, and Pa’s lady friend. Authentic details bring late-1960s Brooklyn to vivid life, while laugh-out-loud drama delights. PreS to Gr 3—Spend the day picking wild blueberries with Clarence and his grandmother. Meet ant, spider, and fox in a beautiful woodland landscape, the ancestral home of author and illustrator Julie Flett. This book is written in both English and Cree, in particular the n-dialect, also known as Swampy Cree from the Cumberland House area.
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. This charming biography invites readers to step inside the vibrant and spirited world of performer and civil rights advocate, Josephine Baker. Robinson’s paintings are as colorful and rich as Josephine Baker’s story, offering page after page of captivating and animated illustrations and rhythmic text, which is written in blank verse. A middle school story through and through, it follows twin brothers and the inevitable break that comes when they start to grow apart.
Finding contemporary African-American teen boy fare where the book isn’t just the usual overdone urban stereotypes is incredibly hard sometimes. Plus it’s hard not to love the power and energy of the writing. A verse novel kids are really going to enjoy. Takes a real life incident and gives it a special twist.
Gr 5 Up—Why is it that magic always has to be European? If you’re tired of wizards in castles, this is the book for you. Trust me when I say you have NEVER seen a book like this one before. Gr 7-10—While this probably isn’t the first book on Burmese child soldiers we’ve seen, it may well be the best.
In a time when every other novel for teens is just a reiteration of an idea we’ve seen done a hundred ways before, here we have at least one book that knows that being important and being enjoyable are simply opposite sides of the same coin. Gr 5 Up—People will tell you that boys won’t read novels with girls on the cover. Not even one with a full repertoire of kicks, punches, dodges, and feints at her disposal. PreS-Gr 1—An unnamed narrator is left in the care of his older sister while their parents are away for the day.
Although he asks her to read him a book about a tiger, she would rather read her own book. He captures her attention long enough to get her to heat up some alphabet soup, but she then tunes him out and doesn’t even notice when a tiger rises up out of the steaming bowl. 5—As a child in Jamaica, Clive Campbell aspired to be a DJ. At 13, he moved to the Bronx, where he gained the nickname Hercules because he grew to be more than six feet tall. He shortened the name to Herc, added Kool, and is credited as a pioneer of hip hop. He created a new art form for his parties when he plugged in two turntables to create longer breaks for dancing and began chanting the names of his friends during the breaks. A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return.
Zeina and her younger brother are growing up in Beirut, where civil war is a part of daily life. To protect against strikes and sniper fire, the family’s living space has been reduced to the relative security of their apartment foyer, where a rug hanging on the wall, depicting Moses and the Hebrews fleeing Egypt, figures predominantly as a story background. Genna is a fifteen-year-old girl who wants out of her tough Brooklyn neighborhood. But she gets more than she bargained for when a wish gone awry transports her back in time. Brooklyn, Genna must use all her wits to survive.