Diversity Reads

What does it mean to have a "diverse" library?

  • In a nutshell, it means including books that expose you and your children to a wide variety of families, cultures, genders, places, and so on
  • It means making sure that your library is representing more than just your culture, family structure, background, sexuality, and place in the world

What does having a diverse library do?

  • Increasing your exposure to different ways of life makes you a more sensitive, accepting, and open person
  • It teaches children that there are many, many different ways to live in the world and that this is something to be treasured and encouraged
  • Helps everyone to feel secure in being curious, asking questions, and learning more about ways of being in the world outside of what you already know

This makes the world a better place! Below, you will find 5-10 reading suggestions for the following age groups (dependent, of course, on reading levels and abilities!):

  • Young children (0-5)
  • Children (6-10)
  • Tweens (10-13)
  • Teens (13-18)
  • Young adults (18-30)
  • Adults (30+)

Young Children 0-5

  • The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
  • Stella Brings The Family by Miriam B Schiffer, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
  • The Family Book by Todd Parr (everything by Todd Parr is amazing!)
  • Baby’s First Words by Christiane Engel
  • Dipnetting with Dad by Willie Sellers, illustrated by Kevin Easthope
  • I Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max
  • Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger
  • The Lost Teachings/Panuijkatasikl Kina'masuti'l by Michael James Isaac, illustrated by Dozay (Arlene) Christmas
  • Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Sources include: Parents for Diversity, The Barefoot Mommy, and Jen Kossowan on CBC  - follow these links for descriptions of the books above and for more ideas!

Children ages 6-10

  • Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins
  • Akimbo and the Lions, a series by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Meet Yasmin! A series by Saadia Faruqi
  • Sam and Charlie, a series by Leslie Kimmelman
  • Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, a series by Nikki Grimes

Descriptions of these books and further suggestions available at What Do We Do All Day

Tweens - ages 10-13

  • Spirit Week Showdown (part of The Magnificent Maya Tibbs series) by Crystal Allen
  • Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue
  • The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (non-fiction)

Descriptions of these books and further suggestions available at Multicultural Children's Book Day and Local Love.

Teens ages 13-18

  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (15+)
  • A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti (14+)
  • The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim (13+)
  • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson (13+)
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (15+)
  • Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston
  • #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Descriptions of these books and further suggestions available at What Do We Do All DayCommon Sense Media (we strongly recommend you read the reviews on this site before purchasing these books), and Raven Reads.

Young Adults ages 18-30

  • The Conqueror's Saga, series by Kiersten White
  • I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall
  • Beasts Made of Night, series by Tochi Onyebuchi
  • Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky
  • Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Please note: this is a very small number of diverse books available in the Young Adult genre. Try searching by year to find even more suggestions if none of these spark your interest!

Descriptions of these books and further suggestions available at Book Shelves and Paperbacks.

Adults

  • Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
  • A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby with Mary Louisa Plummer
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein
  • A Really Good Brown Girl by Marilyn Dumont
  • Song Yet Sung by James McBride
  • The New Odyssey by Patrick Kingsley
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Descriptions of these books and further suggestions available at Rich in Color, CBC Radio, Reading Partners, and CBC Books.

Disclaimer: The books recommended above have not been individually reviewed by the GLC. Instead, we rely on the reviews provided by third parties, each of whom is referenced at the end of each category above. We have carefully sifted through their recommendations to provide a varied and appropriate selection, but we are not responsible for the views of these third parties or for the content of the above books. Please be advised that the categories we have chosen to place the books into are also dependent on the recommendations of third parties and may not be appropriate for your child's reading or maturity levels. We highly recommend that you read any book before giving it or reading it to your child.

We are open to suggestions or amendments to the above lists! Thank you!