There has always been a need for diverse books, but the topic feels especially relevant today. Whether you’re looking for books that represent your own life experiences, or you’re searching for a book to help you and your family understand another person’s perspective, there are many extraordinary, diverse books available to read.
Diverse books can help families approach necessary and uncomfortable conversations with empathy, sensitivity, compassion, and clarity. Here are 10 wonderful choices for the whole family to check out this summer:
For Young Children
- The Family Book by Todd Parr (Recommended age: 1-6)
This brightly illustrated book sweetly introduces children to a variety of family types, from same sex parents to families who adopt, letting children see that all families are special.
- Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o (Recommended age: 4 – 8)
Sulwe is the moving fictional story of a child who wishes for her dark skin to be lighter. The result is a luminous fairy tale that leads Sulwe to recognize her own beauty, both outside and inside.
For Older Children and Young Teens
- Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade (Recommended age: 5 – 11)
This new picture book was published in April and tells the remarkable story of Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize. This is an inspirational book for school aged children.
- A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story by Caren Stelson (Recommended age: 6 – 11)
This nonfiction picture book tells the story of a Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor with a powerful story of war and peace. Gentle artwork helps young readers understand the damages of war without feeling afraid of the book.
- Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson (Recommended age: 8 – 13)
This new book series for middle grade readers centers on the modern day experiences of a young Black girl who knows how to make the best of even the worst situation.
For Older Teens and Adults
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Although it was published in 2017, The Hate U Give has taken on new life in 2020. This book tells the story of a Black teenager named Starr, who witnesses the death of her best friend at the hands of a police officer. This book was adapted into a successful film in 2018.
- Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
Author Jesmyn Ward wrote this memoir in response to the deaths of several Black men in her life. As she sought to understand how their deaths happened, she began to more clearly see the connection between their deaths and a world of systemic oppression.
- The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
The Other Americans is a delicately weaved saga that uniquely explores a variety of complex themes, including immigration, family, murder, and race through the eyes of several different characters.
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Born a Crime is the incredible life story of The Daily Show host’s Trevor Noah, who was born in South Africa to a Swiss father and a Xhosa mother during apartheid.
- Patsy by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn
This 2020 Lambda Literary award winner explores immigration, motherhood, love, and poverty through a compelling and moving tale.
With so many diverse books to choose from, you and your family certainly won’t be bored this summer!