Looking for books that illustrate other cultures, cultural sensitivity, and the struggles that minorities face in the United States? Check out these three books by own voices authors.
I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.
Children’s Picture Books
By Yoeri Slegers, for 5-8 year-olds, Flyaway Books, 32 pages.
Crocodile has a nice home and everything he needs until things start getting bad and he has to flee. No matter where he tries to go, someone doesn’t want him. Until finally, he finds a place. He learns to love his new place, even though everything is so different.
A beautiful book to open the conversation about immigration. Crocodile, with his big green body and scary (although not too scary) white teeth has a hard time getting accepted in safe places because he looks big and scary. But Crocodile has feelings and hopes, just like everyone else.
As an educator, I’ll use Crocodile’s Crossing to open a conversation about immigration, hosting, and colonialism with my high school history class. Parents will love the questions Crocodile’s Crossing brings up and fitting in and accepting others.#Teachers, #librarians, and #parents will want to check out this new picture book by @Yoerislegers. NOW is a great time to teach about #immigration and #acceptance. Click To Tweet
By Dr. Maria Alma González Pérez, Del Alma Publications, September 2020, 40 pages.
This bilingual (Spanish and English) alphabet book introduces young readers to not only the alphabet but to the life of a vaquero (cowboy). Each page has a photograph to illustrate the letter.
Children will enjoy seeing young vaqueros and vaqueras in many of the photos. The book points out the origins of many English words that come from the rich vaquero heritage of Mexico.
The Perfect YA Book About Minorities
by Stacey Lee, G.P. Putnam’s and Sons Books for Young Readers, August 2019, 384 pages.
You don’t need to be a teenager to fall in love with this book! From the back of the book:
“By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.
“While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.” Amazon
Why I Love this Book
The author brings up a question I’ve never thought of before. How did other minorities fare in the South post Civil War? I knew about how people in western states treated Chinese immigrants, but I never realized they faced racism everywhere.
Stacey Lee’s lyrical words and ways of seeing creates a vibrant heroine in Jo Kuan. The reader must face her suppositions and assumptions as Jo peels back layer after layer of her own personal history. I can’t wait to read other books by Lee.
In these turbulent times, the fact that I know so little about what other people have faced as they worked towards their American Dream makes me feel humble. Knowing helps to build empathy and understanding.
Teachers and librarians will want to add this book to their libraries.Another must-read for #teachers, #librarians, and #parents! You'll fall in love with Jo and learn so much! By @staceyleeauthor, an #ownvoices who writes with lyrical beauty and sharp wit. Click To Tweet