I first learned about author Junot Díaz’s foray into children’s books via a Facebook post about his new book, Islandborn (due March 13, 2018). As a fan of his work, I grew excited to learn that he was writing a children’s book about a young US-born Dominican girl, living in Washington Heights, who creates a portrait of her family’s home (the Dominican Republic) through their stories and descriptions.
I was elated to learn about Díaz’s new book because this experience is directly tied to mine and while I grew excited and patiently anticipated the book’s release, I was reminded of how much I missed as a young reader. As a child, I do not recall reading any books that shared this type of experience or portrayed characters that resembled ME. I wonder now if seeing my story and that of my family’s reflected in text would’ve helped shaping my identity and provide perspective on the nuisances of growing up to a family that regarded another place as “home.”
As an adult, I feel the responsibility of providing the children in my life with books that reflect their physical appearances, their lives, communities and that of their family’s. This Saturday, January 27 is Multicultural Children’s Book Day and in the coming months we’ll be celebrating Black History Month and Women’s History Month. I can’t think of a better way to welcome these months than with AMAZING books written by authors who resemble the little ones in my life, can educate them about who they are, what they can become, what’s ahead, and are FUN!
Islandborn by Junot Díaz
Princess Truly in My Magical, Sparkling Curls by Kelly Greenawalt
Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt
The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy
Elephant in the Dark retold by Mina Javaherbin
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
Middle grade & YA:
Marley Dias Gets It Done (And So Can You!) by Marley Dias
Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire by Sundee T. Frazier
The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks
Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring by Angela Cervantes
Unbound: A Novel in Verse by Ann E. Burg
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
The Warriors by Joseph Bruchac
What are some of your favorite multicultural titles?