We’re The People: Summer Reading 2017
Are you looking for books to add to your summer reading list? Ones written or illustrated by Native Americans or people of color and some that intersect with LGBT+ or disabilities? Take a look at these! We’ve spent the past year reading and re-reading these books to eliminate microaggressions, stereotypes and others instances that work against social justice and inclusion.
Annotated list created by Thaddeus Andracki, Edith Campbell, Sujei Lugo, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, and Edward Spicer.
Dupuis, Jenny Kay and Kathy Kacer; illustrated by Gillian Newland. I Am Not A Number. This is a powerful story of First Nations’ resistance; of a little girl fighting for her identity and a father standing up to protect his children from boarding schools. (Second Story Press, 2016). English; French.
Liu-Trujillo, Robert. Furqan’s First Flat Top/El Primer Corte de Mesita de Furqan. Furqan Moreno is a 10-year-old Afro Latino boy who has always had real curly hair. His decision to get a haircut with dad leads Furqan to trusting not only dad, but also himself and his choices– essential parts of growing up and attaining individuality. (Come Bien Books, 2016). Bilingual; English/Spanish.
Mateo, José; illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro. Migrant/Migrar: The Journey of a Mexican Worker. This simple story told in English and Spanish encapsulates a young boy and his family’s journey from Mexico to the United States. The books is constructed by weaving text and illustrations into a codex that is folded into 8 pages. We see just how much the family is giving up for an uncertain future in the US, as have many migrant families. (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014). Bilingual; English/Spanish. Notable Books for a Global Society Award Winner.
Shraya, Vivek; illustrated by Rajni Perera. The Boy and the Bindi. The text, images and narration gently pull us into Ammi’s discovery of the bindi and the powers he has within himself. (Arsenal Pulp, 2016). English.
Weatherford, Carole Boston; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Freedom in Congo Square. The interplay of text and visuals portray the brutal hardship of enslavement in Louisiana. And then, the images come alive on that special day each week in Congo Square, that place where these people remember and celebrate who they are. (Little Bee Books, 2016). English. Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Charlotte Zolotow Award, NY Times Best Illustrated Book.
Yoo, Paula; illustrated by Dom Lee. Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story. The true story of Sammy Lee, a Korean American who became the first Asian American to win Olympic gold for the USA. His story takes us a back to time when the odds were stacked against him achieving any kind of success, but through courage and fortitude, he persevered. (Lee and Low, 2005). English; English Braille. Notable Books for a Global Society Award Winner, “New Voices” Lee & Low Award Winner.
Chapter Books/ Beginning Readers
Barnes, Derrick; illustrated by Aaron Boyd. The Low-Down, Bad-Day Blues. Rhyming lines and relatable situations make this book about have a bad day feel like a ray of sunshine. (Scholastic; 2004). English.
Alkhayyate, Mithaa retold by Vivian French and translated by Fatima Sharafeddini. My Own Special Way. Hamda, the youngest sister wants to wear a hijab because her sisters do but, she needs help figuring out her own style of wearing one. (Orion Children’s, 2012). English; Arabic.
Brown, Monica; illustrated by Angela Dominguez. Lola Levine is not Mean! A tale of an enthusiastic and funny Jewish Peruvian American girl named Lola Levine who loves to play soccer, writing in her diary, and spending time with her family. (Little, Brown and Company, 2015). English; some Spanish.
Chin, Jason. Island: A Story of the Galápagos. Through a series of short chapters and simple language, Chin leads the reader through the geological processes that created the Galápagos Islands and the way that natural selection helped to shape the fascinating creatures that only live there. Comic-style panels and full-bleed illustrations help readers to visualize the evolution of the islands. (Roaring Brook Press, 2012). English; Japanese.
McKissack, Patricia; illustrated by Susan Keeter. Tippy Lemmey. When a new family joins the neighborhood, Leandra, Paul, and Jeannie meet a not-so-ordinary dog that chases them when they ride their bikes. These three friends will figure out if the dog is their number one enemy, or a future good friend. (Aladdin, 2003). English.
Middle Grade (ages 8-12)
Dembicki, Matt. Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection. This collection of stories features Native writers and storytellers sharing all kinds of trickster tales—from pourquoi tales to cautionary warnings against misbehaving. Stories from accomplished tellers like Tim Tingle, Joseph & James Bruchac, and Sunny Dooley are matched with comics art in this engaging, wide-ranging collection. (Fulcrum, 2010). English.
Joseph, Lynn. The Color of My Words. Twelve year old Ana Rose knows she wants to be a writer. She’s growing up in the Dominican Republic where she quickly learns the power of her words when a developer backed by the government threatens her seaside community. (Harper Collins/Joanna Cotler Books, 2000). English; Spanish; Korean. Parent’s Choice Award.
Nagara, Innosanto. My Night in the Planetarium. This true story portrays the author/illustrator’s relationship with his father, a playwright and actor under a dictatorship in Indonesia in the 1970s. When his father has to flee the country after a sold-out performance and police surround their home, the then seven-year-old author and his mother take refuge in the planetarium next door to the theater. (Seven Stories/Triangle Square Books for Young Readers, 2016). English.
Philip, Aaron and Tonya Bolden. This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (Not Disability). This memoir by the blogger of Aaronverse explores the life of an immigrant from Antigua, born with cerebral palsy who comes to NYC for medical treatment and is now a high school student in Manhattan. It addresses the challenges that Aaron faces, including difficulties making friends and getting around, bouts of homelessness, his parents’ separation due to economic and visa issues, and his father’s heart attack. (HarperCollins Children/Balzer + Bray, 2016). English.
Reynolds, Jason. As Brave as You. Genie and Ernie aren’t sure that they will survive outside of Brooklyn. Grandpop has plans to celebrate Ernie’s 14th birthday. Ernie wants nothing to do with these plans. Genie questions his bravery. The family works together to sort out the difficult concept of bravery. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016). English. Kirkus Award Finalist, Schneider Family Book Award Winner, Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Youth / Teens.
Senzai, H. N. Ticket to India. On a trip from San Francisco to Karachi to commemorate her grandfather’s recent passing, Maya learns a surprising secret: her Pakistani grandmother was actually born in India. Against her family’s wishes, she hatches a scheme to travel with Naniamma and her sister to her grandmother’s birthplace to retrieve the chest Naniamma hid when her family was forced to flee Aminpur during the Great Partition. (Simon & Schuster, 2015). English.
Young Adult (ages 12-18)
Dos Santos, Steven. The Culling (The Torch Keeper series). In this dystopian society, love does nothing but complicate choices about who lives and who dies. Falling for Digory, a fellow recruit, doesn’t help Lucky’s choices one bit. (Flux, 2013). English.
Jung, Mike. Unidentified Suburban Object. When Ms. Lee, a new teacher who is Korean American comes to town, Chloe is finally able to learn about her family’s Korean heritage. (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, 2016). English.
Medina, Meg. Burn Baby Burn. Seventeen-year-old Nora Lopez lives in Queens, New York in 1977, at the height of the terror over a mysterious serial killer. Many people suspect members of their family, including Nora, as her younger brother is out of control and her Cuban immigrant mother only makes excuses for him. Her attraction to Pedro, a new co-worker, provides respite, but not enough to dispel the menace and chaos in Nora’s own life and in the city where she lives. (Candlewick, 2016). English. In the Margins Book Award Fiction List, Long-listed for National Book Award for Literature for Young People, Kirkus Award Finalist.
Tilahun, Na’amen Gobert. The Root: A Novel of the Wrath and Athenaeum. Erik is a former child television actor reeling from the very public breakdown of his relationship with his boyfriend. Lil is an apprentice to the Holder of the Athenaeum of Zebub, where the knowledge of magic is held. When their worlds collide, secret government agencies, dangerous beings, and godlike powers all come into fantastic conflict. (Night Shade, 2016). English.