Teaching Tolerance loves to read! Check out a few of our favorite diverse books for readers and educators.
Seeds of Freedom, written by Hester Bass and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, reminds us that the fire hoses in places like Birmingham meant that change could come peacefully in cities like Huntsville. Well-chosen details—like how black children got shoes that fit when they weren’t allowed to try them on—and graceful watercolor illustrations immerse the reader in a different time and place.
“A great addition to the civil rights movement bookshelf.” –Maureen Costello
“Learning from the world is the greatest learning.” The words of Muhammad Yunus’ father inspired him to become a leader to thousands of impoverished people around the world. Use Paula Yoo’s Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank with your elementary readers for another example of a great role model who should be celebrated.
“Paula Yoo takes an inspirational story from the complicated world of economics and boils it down to principles even a child can understand." –Annah Kelley
Drifting, by Katia D. Ulysse, is a superb novel in the form of interconnected short stories that follow Haitian families as they move between time and place, before and after the devastating earthquake of 2010.
“Students will find a detailed and enriching story of the immigrant’s journey, as well as the struggles and triumphs that come with it.” –Joanna Williams
In Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, Zaretta Hammond has crafted a professional development resource that is at once philosophical and practical, accessible yet sophisticated in its expectation of readers. Dip in for tips and strategies, or dive deep for an opportunity to shift thinking and practice.
“Brain science meets the art of teaching.” —Adrienne van der Valk
Isabel Quintero’s debut novel, Gabi: A Girl in Pieces, is a collection of Mexican-American high school senior Gabi Hernandez’s journal entries. Gabi’s world includes a mother who constantly worries that her daughter will be “bad,” an absent father with a meth addiction, a pregnant friend and another friend who comes out as gay, along with the pressures of body ideals, college applications and more. In the midst of this whirlwind, Gabi finds a creative outlet—and forges her identity—through writing and poetry.
“A must-read! This novel deserves a spot in every high school library.” —Maya Lindberg
Veda is a teen with a bright future in classical Bharatanatyam dance. But when a terrible car accident results in the loss of one of her legs, it takes all her strength—along with the love and support of family, friends and teachers—to prove to herself and her doubters that she will dance again. In A Time to Dance, Padma Venkatraman uses moving pieces of free verse to provide insight into the depths of Veda’s despair and anger, as well as her hopes and triumphs.
Middle and High School
“Affirms the power of a supportive community to lift up those who feel lost.” —Monita Bell
When young Winston’s eyes are bigger than his tummy for his grandmother’s callaloo, a Caribbean spinach dish, he is magically transported to Tobago, where mythic creatures teach him not to take more than he needs. Marjuan Canady’s Callaloo, illustrated by Nabeeh Bilal, includes a fun folktale glossary from Trinidad and Tobago.
“A fresh and fascinating look into Caribbean culture.” —Margaret Sasser
In Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison, Nell Bernstein documents the shame and the failure of juvenile prisons, where thousands of children are isolated, punished and dehumanized every day. With reasoned evidence and empathic prose, Bernstein makes the case for why and how to end the practice of incarcerating juveniles.
“This book gives a voice to the voiceless.” –Emily Chiariello
>> Click here for the PDF version of What We're Reading.
Speaking of Fourth Grade: What Listening to Kids Tells Us About School in America
by Inda Schaenen
MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL
The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act
by Clay Risen
Penny and the Magic Puffballs
by Alonda Williams, illustrated by Tyrus Goshay