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  • Writer's pictureB. E. Padgett

Four diverse kid lit books that inspire great conversations with your child.

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

As a book loving auntie, I’ve learned that diverse stories and characters are important to the development of children. Life is full of a variety of people and experiences but rarely does the mainstream book industry represent the wonderfully diverse world we live in. This is particularly true in children’s literature.

Today I wanted to share some children’s authors of color and their books that can spark some great conversation with your kids.

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Chapter Book (middle grade)

The Jumbies is based on Caribbean folklore. It is an easy read with creepy imagery and a compelling villain. Corinne, the protagonist, is a driven female character with a big heart for her community. It doesn’t take long before we follow her on a journey of unknown danger and mysteries. The Jumbies is a book that will make kids ten to thirteen sit at the edge of their seats. Corinne’s journey deals with the compromising of two worlds, two communities and the resolving of conflict within herself.

Tracey Baptiste continues The Jumbies stories in her book series.

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Chapter Book (middle grade)

The main story development is Amina’s character and how she views the world around her. As a reader, you get to experience her inner struggles and relate to her friendship heartaches. Kids ten to thirteen will enjoy the ease of storytelling, dialogue and family interactions. Amina’s Voice is told through the perspective of an American-Muslim girl. Kids who have not had this life experience will benefit from a better understanding of others.

You can read more of Amina’s story in Hena Khan other books.

Luca’s Bridge by Mariana Llanos

Picture Book (elementary grades)

Luca’s story is about family and home. His parents are deported which uproots his sense of home and takes him far from the friends and neighborhood he has known. Luca’s move expresses the sadness, fear and uncertainty about immigration and the impacts on personal identity and family.

Luca’s Bridge is in both English and Spanish. Mariana Llanos writes many of her books in both English and Spanish.

The Yellow Suitcase by Meera Sriram

Picture Book (elementary grades)

This gorgeously illustrated story is about family and grief. In the story, Asha travels from her home in California to India as her grandmother passes. The customs of grieving are unfamiliar to her in India. She has feelings of loneliness, anger and sadness when she realizes she will not see her grandmother again. This book covers intercultural traditions, grief and family love.

While these books are categorized as children’s book, I highly recommend them even for adult readers. They are compelling, heartwarming stories, and a quick read.

For more diverse book recommendations and resources, check out the non-profit organization We Need Diverse Books™.

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