Hi friends! In case you didn’t know, I moderate the children’s literature for the Diverse Books Club, along with Lorraine at Miss Magee Reads. More than ever, we need diverse books. The DBC represents and supports readers dedicated to learning about the world and our fellow humans.
We launched the Diverse Books Club in September with three amazing selections; those selections continue to provoke thoughtful discussions, insightful interviews with the authors, and personal challenges for each member.
Yesterday, Madeleine at Top Shelf Text revealed our October theme along with the adult, young adult, and middle grade picks. This month, I am pleased to announce our picture book selections.
The Immigrant Experience
This month, we highlight books about immigrant and refugee experiences. We want to honor not only their journeys and experiences, but also provide opportunities for our children to build understanding and empathy.
October Picture Book Selections
From the Kirkus review, “A brilliant modern fable—eloquent, hopeful and heart-rending—about a rabbit family whose members cross the border in search of a better life, and each other […] Accessible for young readers, who may be drawn to it as they would a classic fable; perfect for mature readers and the classroom, where its layers of truth and meaning can be peeled back to be examined and discussed.”
Inspired by the experiences of two refugee girls in Italy, Sanna wrote this book as a testament to the strength and power of refugees. The illustrations are bold, beautiful, and haunting—ones readers won’t quickly forget.
We chose This is Me for its ability to draw young readers into the experience of an immigrant. “What would YOU take” in your one suitcase as you left home forever? This is Me also reminds readers that most Americans can trace their heritage to places outside of our borders.
From the Kirkus review, “A girl her auntie used to call Cartwheel must flee from a land of war to a place where they can be safe. She finds life there hard and cold, so she takes refuge in a metaphorical blanket of words and memories from her former life […] Loneliness, cultural displacement, tentative friendship, and an explosion of sharing and kindness are accessible even to very young readers.”
When a little girl, newly emigrated from Korea, boards the American school bus she finds herself in a dilemma—the other kids cannot pronounce her name. The kids proceed to help Unhei choose her new American name. The Kirkus review says, “Choi…draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation.”
I’m New Here highlights the challenges facing three children from Guatemala, Korea, and Somalia. I love how they eventually find their places in their new community with encouragement from their classmates. I particularly love this book for its ability to encourage empathy and cooperation in the classroom.
Please join us in the Goodreads forums in October to discuss how you used these books with the littles in your life! Also, there is one week left for the September discussions and, in case you missed them, you can find those picture book titles here.
If you have recommendations for future themes, please let us know. We love hearing all about the books you love!
Cover images courtesy of Goodreads.