21 Insightful, Accessible, and Fun Books Tweens Won’t Want to Put Down | We Are Kid Lit Collective

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School library journal proudly associated with We Are Kid Lit Collective to share and promote the group’s annual summer reading recommendations.

This week, SLJ will publish individual articles with their recommendations for picture books, transitional books, middle-level and young adult titles. A PDF of the full list is also available for download.

The We Are Kid Lit Collective works to create materials and opportunities to recognize the humanity of Indigenous Peoples and People of Color (IPOC) in children’s literature. Their work is grounded in the principles of social justice, equity and inclusion and centers IPOC voices in children’s literature to identify, challenge and dismantle white supremacy and internalized and systematic racism. .

Their target audience includes educators, librarians, caregivers and young people. They are looking for ways to improve the literacy of IPOC children, promote books written by and about IPOC, and encourage caretakers to bring a critical literacy lens to their work.

Adi, Hakim. African migrations. (ThomsonLearning, 1994). English.
This concise and readable history of the migrations of African peoples informs young readers of the contributions of Africans around the world.

Bryan, Ashley; Illustrated with photos by Bill McGuinness. Lyrics of the song of my life. (Athenaeum, 2009). English.
This book by Ashley Bryan, who passed away in February 2022, presents more than the fascinating life story of the artist and storyteller. Partial autobiography; partially guided tour of Little Cranberry Island, Bryan’s longtime home; and in part a visual sample of the artist’s varied oeuvre, this track captures the man’s bubbling soul and acts as a fitting introduction to – and culmination of – Ashley Bryan’s remarkable career.

Coulson, Art & Traci Sorell; illustrated by Carlin Bear Don’t Walk & Roy Boney Jr. The reluctant storyteller. (Reycraft, 2020). English.
This illustrated collection, including a short story, short story, and essay, explores various facets of Cherokee culture and identity.

Davis, Tanita S. Partly cloudy. (Katherine Tegen Books, 2021). English.
Madalyn, a young black girl, and her parents think that changing schools would be the best way for her to reduce the microaggressions she too often faces. To do this, Madalyn packs her bags to live with her great-uncle in his house about three hours away. Madelyn finds that even though school is better, she has a lot to learn about family, community and friendships.

Day, Christina. The sea in winter. (Drum, 2021). English.
Christine Day, a registered citizen of the upper Skagit tribe, is the author of this mid-level novel. Maisie Cannon wants so badly to get back to her ballet training, but can’t because of her injury. As close and loving as her family is, they cannot understand how desperate she feels. A family trip along the coast is meant to be a getaway for everyone. Maisie tries, almost too hard, to hide her feelings so everyone can have a good time. How can she overcome this?

Ewing, Eve L.; Illustrated by Christine Almeda. Maya and the robot. (Kokila, 2021). English.
After learning that her best friends, Jada and MJ, are in a different class, introverted black girl Maya gets even more nervous about fifth grade. When she finds a robot named Ralph, Maya uses her science skills to make it work, opening up a whole new world of connections.

Garcia, Lalena; illustrated by Caryn Davidson. What We Believe: An activity book on the principles of Black Lives Matter. (Lee & Low, 2020). English.
Guiding principles, activities and coloring pages intersect activism, love and solidarity within the Black Lives Matter movement and youth leadership for social change.

Harris, Duchess. The Scottsboro Boys. (Editions Abdo, 2019). English.
Harris writes a historical account of nine black teenagers who were arrested in 1931 in Alabama and tried for crimes they did not commit. The author connects the 90-year-old case to current events in the United States.

Hiranandani, Veera. How to find what you are not looking for. (Penguin Young Readers, 2021). English.
Ariel is a 12-year-old girl living until 1967 with her middle-class Jewish family. Between being bullied by her classmates and having her sister run away to be with her Native American husband, Ariel grapples with the changing dynamics of her country, her school, and her family.

Kelkar, Suprya. American As Paneer Pie. (Simon & Schuster, 2020). English.
Lekha, 12, born in the United States to immigrant parents, is the only Native American at her school in suburban Michigan. She strives to fit in and fly under the radar of bullies. But, a special election brings out the xenophobes and a girl her age, born in India, moves in across the street.

Kendal, Christine. Jamari. (Kweli Teen; http://www.kwelijournal.org/kweli-teen/2017/2/20/jamari-by-christine-kendall, 2017). English.
Jamel, an eight-year-old black boy, tells this story about his twin brother, Jamari. His unbridled curiosity seems to bother his teacher, Miss Anderson, so much that she called school resource officers to remove him from class. It seems that Jamari’s desire to figure things out gave her a very different perspective on the world. This story is available for free online at the Kweli Journal website.

Khan, Hena; adapted by Susi Grissom. Amina’s Voice: A Reader’s Theater Script. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZK4hEkubwNDWotAbIu3pZt8gm_HsA40TU4uRSyOogGg/edit (Bound to Stay Bound Books, 2019). English.
In this scene from Amina’s voice, Pakistani American student Amina, along with her friends Emily and Soojin, explore ways to make friends and fit in at school. This scene is available online free of charge at the site linked above.

LaMotte, Lily; illustrated by Ann Xu. At the height. (Harper Alley, 2020). English.
While missing her grandmother in Taiwan, Cici navigates the blending of her Taiwanese culture and her new American identity with heart, bravery and cooking. This graphic novel is perfect for young foodies and comic book fans.

Lewis, Cicely. Mass incarceration, black men and the struggle for justice. (Lerner, 2021). English.
Cicely Lewis, ReadWoke Librarian, introduces readers to the concept of mass incarceration; its continued impact on black people in the United States from the days of slavery to the present day; and the work done to end this injustice.

Martinez, Andrés Vera & Na Liu; illustrated by Andrés Vera Martínez. Little white duck: a childhood in China. (Lerner/Graphic Universe, 2012). English.
In this semi-autobiographical graphic novel, author Na Liu shares stories of growing up in Wuhan, China in the late 1970s. Readers see how the country changed politically, economically, and socially during her childhood.

Nash, Woodrow and Shelly Fraser Mickle. Sculptor Woodrow Nash: How I research my ancestors. (Pelican, 2021). English.
African-American sculptor Woodrow Nash details his process of creating life-size works of art of enslaved Africans in the Americas. In his process, he presents evidence on the details that inform his work.

Oh, Ellen. Find Junie Kim. (HarperCollins, 2021). English.
A Korean American middle school student avoids speaking out against racism and anti-Semitism at her school, jeopardizing her friendships and her integrity. Through the stories of her immigrant grandparents who survived the Korean War in villages overrun by both sides, she learns the price of silence and how to be strong in the face of hatred. Junie turns to her family when she faces serious mental health issues.

Oshiro, Mark. Insiders. (HarperCollins, 2021). English.
Héctor, a middle schooler whose family recently moved, discovers that his new town (and school) is not a safe place for a gay theater kid. Harassed relentlessly (with very little help from the adults at his new school), Héctor finds himself hiding in the janitors’ closet – but there’s something different about this hideout, which magically transforms into a room where Héctor can relax and be himself, and make new friends from different parts of the country.

Warga, Jasmin. The shape of thunder. (Balzer+Bray, 2021). English.
Cora and Quinn were once the closest of friends, but after what Quinn’s brother did to Cora’s sister, is it even possible that they’ll still be close? There has been a shooting and its aftermath separates the two girls. If only they could go back and change things! But should they even be required to do so? To what extent is this really their responsibility? The story is told through the alternating voices of Cora, who lives with her Lebanese father and white maternal grandmother, and Quinn, who is white.

Weatherford, Carole Boston; Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre. (Carolrhoda, 2021). English.
Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood was known as Black Wall Street because of its thriving businesses and tight-knit black community, until a false accusation in 1921 unleashed a white mob with guns, torches and even aerial bombardment. It is the last of Floyd Cooper’s books to be released during his lifetime; he died in July 2021.

Yang, Kao Kalia; illustrated by Billy Thao. Yang warriors. (University of Minnesota Press, 2021). English.
The Yang Warriors are a group of older children, risking everything to pick fresh greens for their malnourished younger cousins ​​and siblings in this fictionalized account of author Yang’s childhood in the camp. refugees from Ban Vinai in Thailand. Thao’s comic book-style illustrations showcase the warriors’ superhero qualities.


2022 WE ARE MEMBERS OF THE KID LIT COLLECTIVE: Sam Bloom, Edith Campbell, Sujei Lugo Vázquez and Lyn Miller-Lachmann.

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