We Need Diverse Books!

We Need Diverse Books™ is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

roll of thunderThis year is the 40th anniversary of the publication of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, the stunning Newbery Award-winning novel by Mildred D. Taylor. The story follows Cassie Logan, a member of a land-owning Black family during the height of the Great Depression. It is a narrative about hope, and loss, and the strong ties of family set against a starkly racist Southern background.

The newest edition of Roll of Thunder includes a gorgeous cover by Kadir Nelson (Caldecott Honor winner for Moses and Henry’s Freedom Box, Coretta Scott King Nominee for Nelson Mandela) and an introduction by Jacqueline Woodson (Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award Winner for Black Girl Dreaming). At the heart of the celebration of Roll of Thunder is an overwhelming sense of unity–Taylor’s novel understands what it means to bring families, peoples, and races together despite the odds.

It is fitting, then, to feature the 40th Anniversary Edition of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry as part of our We Need Diverse Books display in BookKids this month. Diversity in children’s fiction is important to BookPeople (see our Modern First Library program), and between older classics, local authors, and the outstanding diversity of this year’s ALA Awards recipients, there is a wealth of diverse children’s literature from which to choose. Here are some of BookPeople’s favorites:9781442423657_p0_v5_s600

Grandfather Gandhi – Written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, Grandfather Gandhi tells the story of Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and his efforts to make his grandfather
proud. A Texas Bluebonnet candidate from 2015, we are big fans of this all-ages memoir.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – We love Minli! She was a member of one of our fantasy roller derby teams this year, and for good reason! In this Newbery Honor-winning adventure by Grace Lin, Minli goes in search of the Old Man in the Moon and finds much more than she bargained for.

Echo – This lyrical book from Pam Muñoz Ryan was our Top Shelf for May this year, and then it won a Newbery Honor for 2016! Echo follows an enchanted harmonica through the lives of three different girls, tying their worlds together in a tale about being in the right place at the right time.

Last Stop on Market Street – This book is a rockstar! It received the Newbery Medal, a Caldecott Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor Award this year. Accompanying Matt de la Peña’s charming story about a grandmother and her grandson’s bus ride on a Sunday afternoon are vibrant, colorful illustrations from Christian Robinson. We love this book!

Trombone Shorty – Troy Andrews got the nickname Trombone Shorty when he started playing music as a young child. He had his own band by the time he was six years old! This amazing memoir combines music, creativity, and life, all set in the Tremae neighborhood of New Orleans. Bryan Collier’s illustrations garnered this fantastic book a Caldecott Honor Award this year, and the Coretta Scott King Medal for illustration!

Check out our display for diverse books in BookKids, where we’ll be featuring more of our favorites throughout the month! PLUS: Enter your name in the giveaway box on the display and you’ll be entered to win an amazing poster of the new cover of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Kadir Nelson!

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