K-12 Reading List
Back in May, a group of diverse authors made a public call to action in order to directly address the absence of diversity in children’s literature and the lack of action to fix the issue. They created the #weneeddiversebooks campaign. On May 1st, they asked people to post photos of themselves holding signs about how diverse books have enriched their lives and how the lack of diversity has affected them, on May 2nd they asked people to share their thoughts about diverse books via a twitter chat, and on May 3rd, they asked people to make the effort to diversify their shelves. The movement became a sensation, and has inspired even more people to make an effort to invest in diverse content that accurately reflects our population.
Behind the Book is elated that this movement exists. We’ve always championed the need for diverse books since we serve communities that are predominantly of color. Studies show that for kids, the lack of diversity in books is detrimental to their development, but seeing themselves reflected in protagonists raises their self-esteem and solidifies their sense of self in society. We also think it’s empowering for kids to see authors and illustrators that look like them as they’re responsible for creating the content the students love. This shows them that they too can become the authors of their own stories.
Now is the perfect time to diversify your reading material if you haven’t already. Whether you’re going on a plane to visit relatives, stuck on the train going to Coney Island, or bored at home, get lost in these fabulous stories of courage, love and family. Here’s our epic list of books that reflect the diversity of our wonderful city.
Harlem’s Little Black Bird by Renee Watson, a Behind the Book author
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look
Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown
Giant Steps to Change the World by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! by Pat Mora
One Love by Cedella Marley
This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt
Bessie Smith and the Night Riders by Sue Stauffacher
Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules
For descriptions, click behind the read more!
(Use the following links to be directed to the (early) Elementary, Middle Grade and High School lists)