Skip to content
We're happy to announce the launch of the EmbraceRace Podcast!

Children's books featuring kids of color being themselves. That's enough!

Inspired by an article by Rumaan Alum’s article We Don’t Only Need Diverse Books. We Need Diverse Books Like A Snowy Day, many of you in the EmbraceRace community posted or messaged us your favorite books featuring kids of color NOT fighting bigotry, discrimination or enslavement. The result is this completely crowdsourced list (i.e. not an EmbraceRace generated list) with many promising children's book leads.

To be clear, we think reading and discussing stories about oppression with children is important. But the percentage of books featuring black, brown, indigenous and other people of color that are about oppression is oppressively high. We are so much more than the oppression we endure. Does the publishing industry know that?

Early Childhood


All the World, Writer, Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrator, Marla Frazee, Recommended for ages 2 to 5
“Following a circle of family and friends through the course of a day from morning until night, this book affirms the importance of all things great and small in our world, from the tiniest shell on the beach, to the warmth of family connections, to the widest sunset sky.”

Daddy Calls Me Man, Writer, Angela Johnson, Illustrator, Rhonda Mitchell, Recommended for ages 2 to 5

“Inspired by his family experiences and his parents’ paintings, a young boy creates four poems.”

A Day with Nellie, Written and Collaged by Marthe Jocelyn, Recommended for ages 3 to 5

“Wake up, Nellie! The fun is about to begin. First, there’s deciding what to wear. Then there’s breakfast with all kinds of shapes and textures and tastes. From indoor play in a made-up train, to a trip to the park and a bedtime cuddle with Daddy, Nellie’s day is full of discoveries. Marthe Jocelyn’s bright collages incorporate a feast of concepts for small children to explore. With so much to look at and talk about, A Day with Nellie is sure to be a favorite with the very young and with the people who take care of them.”

Every Little Thing, Adaptor, Cedilla Marley, Illustrator, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Recommended for ages 1 to 4

“Bob Marley’s songs are known the world over for their powerful message of love, peace, and harmony. Now a whole new generation can discover one of his most joyous songs in this reassuring picture book adaptation written by his daughter Cedella and exuberantly illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. This upbeat story reminds children that the sun will always come out after the rain and mistakes are easily forgiven with a hug.”

Everywhere babies

Everywhere Babies, Writer, Susan Meyers, Illustrator, Marla Frazee, Recommended for ages 2 to 3
“Every day, everywhere, babies are born. They’re kissed and dressed and rocked and fed and adored by the families who love them. A celebration of babies everywhere!”

F is for Feelings, Writers, Dr. Goldie Millar and Dr. Lisa Berger, Recommended for ages 0 to 4
“Every day we feel all kinds of feelings, in all kinds of places, with all kinds of people, in all kinds of ways

.”Feast for 10, Writer, Cathryn Falwell, Recommended for ages 2 to 3
“Readers go from one to 10 twice in this cozy counting book, as an African American brood prepares a bountiful dinner for the extended family. Mother and the five kids start at the supermarket (``one cart . . . two pumpkins . . . three children’’), unload groceries at home (with the father’s help), do the cooking and then ``ten hungry folks’’ sit down to dinner.”

Full, Full, Full of Love, Writer Trish Cooke, Illustrator Paul Howard, Recommended for ages 2 to 5
“For the youngest member of an exuberant extended family, Sunday dinner
at Grannie’s can be full indeed — full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full to the brim with happy faces, and full, full, full of love.”

Girl of Mine, Writer Jabari Asim, Illustrator LeUyen Pham, Recommended for ages 1 to 3
“As daddy cradles his baby girl, she is suddenly whisked away on a fantastical adventure, swinging above lush floral gardens under the golden moonlight. The sweet text, inspired by ‘Rock-A-Bye Baby,’ will whisk little ones off to peaceful slumber.”

I Know A Lot! Writer Stephen Krensky, Illustrator Sara Gillingham, Recommended for ages 1 to 3
“This third book in Stephen Krensky and Sara Gillingham’s empowerment series celebrates the feats of growing out of toddlerhood with increased knowledge. Whether comparing heavy rocks to lighter flowers, or noting that the sunlight delineates the day from the night, Krensky and Gillingham acknowledge the “small wins” of understanding the world just a little bit more.”

Joshua by the sea

Joshua by the Sea, Writer, Angela Johnson, Illustrator, Rhonda Mitchell, Recommended for ages 2 to 5
“Joshua goes to the shore with his family. There is a serene, understated quality to the gentle watercolors and spare text featuring a young African-American boy as he explores his world, with his loving family always nearby.”

Little You, Writer Richard Van Camp, Illustrator, Julie Flett, Recommended for ages 0 to 3“A tender board book for babies and toddlers that celebrates the potential of every child. With its delightful contemporary illustrations, Little You is perfect to be shared, read or sung to all the little people in your life — and the new little ones on the way!”

Lola at the Library, Writer, Anna McQuinn, Illustrator, Rosalind Beardshaw, Recommended for ages 2 to 5
“Everything about the trip is an exciting adventure — from packing her backpack with books and her all-important library card, to storytimes and singing, to choosing new books and the walk home, when they always stop for a special treat. But the best time of all is when Mommy reads her story at bedtime. Simple text and large, bright acrylic illustrations of this engaging African-American child makes this selection just right for sharing. Perfect for instilling a love of libraries and books in the youngest patrons, it’s a winner.”

Max Paints the House, Written by Ken Wilson-Max
Max and his friends, Little Pink and Big Blue, decide to paint their red house to match the color of the sky but the sky keeps changing.

“More More More,” Said the Baby, Writer and Illustrator, Vera B. Williams, Recommended for ages 0 to 5
“From beneath the tickles, kisses, and unfettered affection showered on them by grownups, the children in Vera B. Williams’ Caldecott Honor Book cry out for ‘more more more!’ The stars of three little love stories — toddlers with nicknames like “Little Pumpkin” — run giggling until they are scooped up by adoring adults to be swung around, kissed, and finally tucked into bed. Quirky watercolor drawings and colorful text feature multiethnic families, and young readers will rejoice in seeing the center of all the attention: the wiggly, chubby, irresistible toddlers.”

My aunt came back

My Aunt Came Back, Writer and Illustrator, Pat Cummings, Recommended for ages 2+
“For toddlers just discovering the joy of mimicking words and sounds, this exuberant chant is perfect to read aloud.”

Nana’s Cold Days, Writer, Adwoa Badoe, Illustrator, Bushra Junaid, Recommended for ages 0 to 5
“Many people find winter a trial. But for people who come from ​​countries that are warm all year around it can be simply unbearable.Ken and Rama have looked forward to their Nana’s visit from Africa for months. But when she arrives, in the middle of winter, she covers herself in three blue top sheets, three red blankets and three pink comforters. Brrr, she says, It’s too cold for living things.”

One Love, Adapted by Cedella Marley, Illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton, Recommended for ages 2 to 5
“Adapted from one of Bob Marley’s most beloved songs, One Love brings the joyful spirit and unforgettable lyrics of his music to life for a new generation. Readers will delight in dancing to the beat and feeling the positive groove of change when one girl enlists her community to help transform her neighborhood for the better.”

Peekaboo Morning, Writer and Illustrator, Rachel Isadora, Recommended for ages 0 to 3
“A toddler plays a game of peekaboo, and you’re invited to play too. First there’s Mommy to find, with Daddy not far behind. Then Puppy comes peeking around the corner, and a favorite toy train brings the toddler to Grandma and Grandpa. Isadora’s brilliant, joyful pastel illustrations capture the familiar and cozy people, toys and animals that will delight babies.”

Please, Baby, Please, Writers, Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, Illustrator, Kadir Nelson Recommended for ages 2 to 5
“From moments fussy to fond, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, producer Tonya Lewis Lee, present a behind-the-scenes look at the chills, spills, and unequivocal thrills of bringing up baby!
Vivid illustrations from celebrated artist Kadir Nelson evoke toddlerhood from sandbox to high chair to crib, and families everywhere will delight in sharing these exuberant moments again and again.”

Soos boo boos

Soo’s Boo-Boos, Writer, Tilda Balsley, Illustrator, Shelagh McNicholas, Recommended for ages 2 to 5
“Uh-oh! Soo has ten boo-boos. But she’s in luck! Her mom knows ten ways to soothe her boo-boos and make Soo all better again. Count from one to ten and back again with this warm and funny picture book!”

Ten, Nine, Eight, Writer & Illustrator Molly Bang, Recommended for ages 3 to 5
“The gentle rhyming text and depiction of an African-American father and daughter make this bedtime counting story stand out.”Whose Toes Are Those? Writer, Jabari Asim, Illustrator, LeUyen Pham, Recommended for ages 1 to 3

“Children are invited to explore their toes by playing ‘This Little Piggy.’ ”

Preschool to Early Elementary

Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream (Marilyn Burns Brainy Day Books), Writer Cindy Neuschwander, Illustrator Liza Woodruff, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Amanda Bean loves to count but isn’t sure about why she needs to learn multiplication. Her teacher says it will speed up the process, but she can’t quite see it. That is, until she has a crazy dream full of sheep on bicycles, knitting grannies, and more.”

Amarys & Indigo series, Writer Amira Shea, Illustrator Sandee Chica, Recommended for ages 3 to 6
This series features 4-year old twin characters and their adventures.

Aunt Flossie’s Hats (And Crabcakes Later), Writer, Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, Illustrator, James Ransome, Recommended for ages 5 to 7
“For Sarah and Susan, a visit to their great-great-aunt Flossie is a literal and figurative feast. After tea and cookies, and before crabcakes, they are permitted to look through Aunt Flossie’s prodigious collection of hats and try on their favorites. ``Each hat has its story,’’ says Aunt Flossie, as she relates tales of the old days — the big Baltimore fire, the parade at the end of WW I and, best of all, a story the girls can help tell because they are in it. This is an affecting portrait of a black American family and of the ways in which shared memories can be a thread, invisible yet strong, that ties generations together.”

Be boy buzz

Be Boy Buzz, Writer, bell hooks, Illustrator, Chris Raschka, Recommended for ages 4–8
“This spare, poetic riff on young manhood plumbs the delights and contradictions of what it means to be a boy — particularly an African-American boy — in a brief handful of sentences and with a few well-placed pastel lines that imply motion and emotion.”

Big Red Lollipop, Writer, Rukhsana Khan, Illustrator, Sophie Blackall, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“ ‘Big Red Lollipop’ is a delight, a simple story with considerable depth. Young readers will recognize some universal truths: the brattiness of young siblings, the great unfairness that birth order wreaks on the world. They will also see truthfully rendered social awkwardness, and learn something of the uneasy spot in which young children of immigrants often find themselves, obliged to obey their parents while also instructing them in the mysterious ways of their adopted land.”

Bigmama’s, Writer and Illustrator, Donald Crews, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“When he visits Bigmama’s house in the country, Donald Crews finds his relatives full of news, and the old place and its surroundings just the same as the year before.”

The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring, Writer Lucille Clifton, Illustrator Brinton Turkle, Recommended for ages 3 to 6
“In the middle of the city, two young friends set out to find Spring. Their search ends in a most unlikely but utterly convincing discovery.”

Bree finds a friend

Bree Finds a Friend, Writer, Mike Huber, Illustrator, Joseph Cowman recommended for ages 5 to 8
“Bree doesn’t know anyone who likes to dig as much as she does. What’s more, Bree doesn’t know anyone who likes worms as much as she does. So Bree digs alone, until one day a classmate joins her. Together, the two unearth something even better than worms — a new friendship.”

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop,Writer and Illustrator, Chris Raschka, Recommended for ages 3–8
“Charlie Parker is swinging and spinning all over the pages, and Charlie’s cat is waiting, waiting for him to come home. The infectious jazzy text is just right for young listeners.”

Charlotte and the Quiet Place, Writer, Deborah Sosin, Illustrator, Sarah Woolley, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“Sometimes children need a break from our noisy, overstimulating world. Charlotte and the Quiet Place shows how a child discovers mindful breathing and experiences the beauty of silence. Children will relate to the unfolding adventure and message of self-discovery and empowerment. Parents, teachers, and caretakers of highly active or sensitive children will find this story especially useful.”

The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County, Writer, Janice N. Harrington, Illustrator, Shelley Jackson, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Meet one smart chicken chaser. She can catch any chicken on her grandmother’s farm except one — the elusive Miss Hen. In a hilarious battle of wits, the spirited narrator regales readers with her campaign to catch Miss Hen, but this chicken is ‘fast as a mosquito buzzing and quick as a fleabite.’”

A Child’s Calendar, Writer, John Updike, Illustrator, Trina Schart Hyman, Recommended for ages 5 and up
“Twelve poems follow a family and their friends through the seasons.”


City Shapes, Writer, Diana Murray, Illustrator, Bryan Collier, Recommended for ages 4 to 7
“From shimmering skyscrapers to fluttering kites to twinkling stars high in the sky, everyday scenes become extraordinary as a young girl walks through her neighborhood noticing exciting new shapes at every turn.”

Come on, Rain! Writer Karen Hesse, Illustrator, Jon J. Muth, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Then the clouds roll in and the rain pours. Tess, her friends, and their mothers join in together in a rain dance to celebrate the shower that renews both body and spirit.”


Cora Cooks Pancit, Writer Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, Illustrator Kristi Valiant, Recommended for ages 5 to 7
“Cora loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon. One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama’s assistant chef. And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora’s head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish.”

Corduroy, Writer and Illustrator, Don Freeman, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“Don Freeman’s classic character, Corduroy, is even more popular today then he was when he first came on the scene more than thirty-five years ago.”


Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia, Writer & Illustrator Laura Lacamara, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“By the time the rooster crowed, Dalia’s hair had grown straight up to the sky, tall and thick as a Cuban royal palm tree. Dalia’s mother gasped and wondered what her clever daughter would do with her unruly hair…”

Down the Road, Writer Alice Schertle, Illustrator E.B. Lewis, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Hetty is very careful with the eggs she has bought on her very first trip to the store, but she runs into trouble when she stops to pick apples.”


Dream Dancer, Writer, Jill Newsome, Illustrator, Claudio Muñoz, Recommended for ages 4 and up
“Lily loves to dance. She dances everywhere and all the time. She even dances in her dreams. But one day, Lily is climbing a tree, and she falls. Her leg is broken, and her dreams of becoming a ballerina are shattered…until a small wooden doll gives Lily the hope and inspiration to try to dance again.”

The Freckled Speckled Rainbow Dog Salon, Writer Kelly Greenawalt, Illustrator Amariah Rauscher, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Every day after school Marvin and Malcolm Murphy work at their family’s dog salon. The Fancy Schmancy Perfect Pet Salon promises a perfect pooch every time. When a very curious and mischievous Malcolm discovers that he can make the soap change colors by adding a little plop of paint, the whole salon becomes freckled and speckled …”

The Girl Who Got Out of Bed, Writer, Betsy Childs, Illustrator, Dan Olson, Recommended for ages 3 to 6
“Shirley is a little girl who keeps thinking of reasons to get out of bed. But once she learns the secret to make morning time come, she can’t wait for bedtime to roll around again. Beautifully written and illustrated by the creators of The Boy Who Cried Over Everything, this story is sure to become a favorite with parents and children alike.”

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, Writer & Illustrator Kenard Pak, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“Join a young girl as she takes a walk through forest and town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind, she says goodbye to summer and welcomes autumn.”

Grace for President, Writer Kelly S. DiPucchio, Illustrator LeUyen Pham, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first.”


Here Comes Trouble, Writer, Corinne Demas, Illustrator, Noah Z. Jones, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Toby really doesn’t like cats, and he is incensed at the fact that they always wreak havoc and never actually get punished for it. When Pandora, a neighbor’s cat, comes to stay while her people are away, Toby tries to make trouble for her, but she ignores him…. The repetitious nature of the text and the bright, expressive illustrations make this book a great pick for any audience.”How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Writer Jane Yollen, Illustrator Mark Teague, Recommended for ages 3 to 6
This fun “how do dinosaurs …” series pictures differently raced parents interacting with an assortment of dinosaurs, in this case, putting them to bed.

How Far Do You Love Me? Writer & Illustrator Lulu Delacre, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“An ‘I love you’ book with a twist. With every expression of love, readers visit one of thirteen different locations around the world, each a beautifully illustrated scene of adults and children in a place of natural beauty.”

If I Had a Gryphon, Writer, Vikki Vansickle, Illustrator, Cale Atkinson, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“Sam just got a hamster for a pet. But the hamster is kind of boring … he just eats and sleeps and gets his shavings wet. Inspired by her book of mythological creatures, Sam longs for a more exciting pet. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought.”


Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest,Writer, Marti Dumas, Illustrator, Marie Muravski, Recommended for ages 5 to 7
“Giant Afro. Even Bigger Brain. Jaden Toussaint, 5 year-old scientist and all around cool dude, is on a mission to convince the grown-ups that he needs more SCREEN TIME. His only weapons are science, ninja dancing, and his super-powered brain power. Can Jaden Toussaint get the grown-ups to change their minds?”

Jamaica’s Find, Writer Juanita Havill, Illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Jamaica finds a stuffed dog at the playground and after taking him home without trying to find the owner discovers her conscience as well. Jamaica’s honest and appealing character inspired five more books, each about a childhood ethical dilemma.”

​​Jamela’s Dress (part of a Jamela series), Writer Niki Daley, Recommended for ages 3+
“Jamela gets in trouble when she takes the material intended for a new dress for Mama, parades it in the street, and allows it to become dirty and torn. But there is a happy ending in store for ‘Kwela Jamela African Queen,’ and just in time.”

Just Us Women, Writer, Jeanette Caines, Illustrator, Pat Cummings, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“A young African American girl is excited about a road trip with her Aunt Martha. It is a special trip, with the first rule set by Aunt Martha: “No boys and no men, just us women.” It’s a trip they’ve been planning for long time.”

Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money, Writer Emily Jenkins, Illustrator G. Brian Karas, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“This quirky tale is a boon for young entrepreneurs, who will enjoy looking at the humorous details in the pictures as much as working out the math after each sale.”


Kamik’s First Sled, Writer Matilda Sulurayok, Illustrator Qin Leng
A story written by an Inuit elder about an Inuit boy, Jake, and his dog, Kamik. Jake wants to start training Kamik to be a sled dog but Kamik is too busy playing with the other dogs. Jake’s grandmother sees his frustration and tells him helpful stories of training sled dogs when she was young.

Last Stop on Market Street,Writer, Matt de la Peña, Illustrator, Christian Robinson, Recommended for ages 5 to 7
“Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty — and fun — in their routine and the world around them.”

Lily Brown’s Paintings, Writer Angela Johnson, Illustrator E. B. Lewis, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“This is about art and color as much as imagination. Lovely and buoyant."

Lizard from the Park, Writer and Illustrator, Mark Pett, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“When Leonard takes a shortcut through the park, he finds an egg and takes it home, where it hatches into a lizard (or so Leonard thinks). Leonard names his new pet Buster and takes him all around the city: on the subway, to the library, to a baseball game, and more. But Buster keeps growing and growing — and Leonard gets the sense that Buster is longing for something Leonard can’t provide…”

Lolas fandango

Lola’s Fandango/El fandango de Lola, Writer, Anna Witte, Illustrator, Micha Archer, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Lola is a young Spanish girl in awe of her glamorous older sister. However, she discovers her own talent and duende, or spirit, through secret fandango lessons from her father. The text is infused with the rhythms, movements and sounds of the dance and the humanity of Lola’s family is beautifully portrayed by Micha Archer’s collage-paintings.”

Max and the Tag Along Moon, Writer and Illustrator, Floyd Cooper, Recommended for ages 3–7
“Max loves his grandpa. When they must say good-bye after a visit, Grandpa promises Max that the moon at Grandpa’s house is the same moon that will follow him all the way home. On that swervy-curvy car ride back to his house, Max watches as the moon tags along. But when the sky darkens and the moon disappears behind clouds, he worries that it didn’t follow him home after all.”

Mice and Beans, Writer Pam Munoz Ryan, Illustrator Joe Cepeda, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“One birthday party, one grandma who loves to cook, one delicious Mexican meal, one cake, one piñata, one bag of candy, one big present, lots of children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins, and several surprise visitors. Mix all the ingredients into a fun romp. Add comic illustrations, jaunty rhythms, and playful refrains.”

Monster Trouble, Writer, Lane Fredrickson, Illustrator, Michael Robertson, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel — but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON’T let her be! Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus. Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. What’s a girl to do?”

My autumn book

My Autumn Book, Writer and Illustrator Wong Herbert Yee, Recommended for ages 3 to 6 (Author’s entire 4-part season series was ER community recommended)
“In the fourth installment of Yee’s seasonal picture-book quartet (Who Likes Rain?, 2007, etc.), a girl celebrates the coming of autumn and finds a special way to remember it when it’s over.”Mr. George Baker, Writer, Amy Hest, Illustrators, Jon J. Muth and Kate Willis-Crowley, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“In this Reading Rainbow book, one-hundred-year-old George and his young friend Harry wait together for the school bus. Both are learning to read in a school down the hall from one another.”

My Cat Copies Me, Writer and Illustrator Yoon-duck Kwon, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“A shy little girl and her very independent cat, play, hide, and comfort one another. Both children and parents will appreciate how the cat soothes the little girl and silently encourages her to explore the bigger world and experience new things.”

My name is yoon

My Name is Yoon, Writer, Helen Recorvitz, Illustrator, Gabi Swiatkowska, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Yoon’s name means “shining wisdom,” and when she writes it in Korean, it looks happy, like dancing figures. But her father tells her that she must learn to write it in English. In English, all the lines and circles stand alone, which is just how Yoon feels in the United States. Yoon isn’t sure that she wants to be YOON. At her new school, she tries out different names — maybe CAT or BIRD. Maybe CUPCAKE!”

Muskrat Will Be Swimming, Writer Cheryl Savageau, Illustrator Robert Hynes, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Beautifully illustrated and complete with a Seneca creation story, Muskrat Will Be Swimming demonstrates how the ancient stories of Native American cultures are used to help today’s children find their way in the world. It is a treasure for all who have ever dealt with the fear of being different.”

The New Girl… and Me, Writer, Jacqui Robbins, Illustrator, Matt Phelan, Recommended for ages 4 to 7
“On her first day of school, who will be her friend? Raise your hand if it’s you. You’ll meet someone — and something — surprising.”

The New Small Person, Writer and Illustrator, Lauren Child, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“It’s a pleasing twist on typical stories about sibling rivalry, in that the little brother’s actions change the dynamic rather than vice versa. Shared activities and playthings strengthen their bond, resulting in a happy ending for Elmore and Albert, whose name is finally revealed upon his big brother’s change of heart.”

Not norman

Not Norman: A Goldfish Story,Writer, Kelly Bennett, Illustrator, Noah Z. Jones, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Norman the goldfish isn’t what this little boy had in mind. But when Curtis tries to trade Norman for a “good pet,” things don’t go as he planned. Could it be that Norman is a better pet than he thought?”

Oh, What A Busy Day, Writer and Illustrator, Gyo Fujikawa, Recommended for ages 4 to 7
“A big, beautiful book that goes from morning till night, completely capturing a child’s world along the way. Filled with silly jingles and fun rhymes; imaginative ideas for games; things for a daydreaming child to think about, and gentle little lessons on kindness and friendship.”


On the Construction Site,Writers, Carron Brown and Bee Johnson, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Young builders will delight in exploring all the hidden secrets of a construction site. They simply hold the book’s pages to the light to ‘see-through’ everything that’s being built — inside and out.”

One Word from Sophia, Writer, Jim Averbeck, Illustrator, Yasmeen Ismail, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Sophia tries varied techniques to get the giraffe she wants more than anything in this playfully illustrated story about the nuances of negotiation.”

Oswald, the Almost Famous Opossum, Writer, Sara Katherine Pascoe, Illustrator, Varya Kolesnikova, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“When a goose crashes onto their roof, the lives of Oswald, a fame-seeking opossum, and his best human friend, shy, ten-year-old Joey, are turned upside down. Oswald’s persistent attempts at fame alienate all his friends, human and animal, so he tries to atone with a big party. But plans go awry when another animal falls into a pot of vegetarian chili, and Joey’s mother, Ann, is mistakenly arrested for animal cruelty. For once, Oswald thinks of someone other than himself.”


Peeny Butter Fudge, Writer Toni Morrison, Illustrator Joe Cepeda, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“’12:00 Lunch, 1:15 Nap, 2:25 Playground…’ read Mama’s instructions, posted to the fridge. But when three children spend the afternoon with Nana, the schedule is forgotten.”

Precious and the Boo Hag,Writers, Patricia C. McKissack and Onawumi Jean Moss, Illustrator, Kyrsten Brooker, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“When Precious is left home alone with a stomachache, she’s got nothing but a warning from Mama — “Don’t let nothing or nobody into this house” — to keep her company. You see, “nothing or nobody” could turn out to be something awful: the Boo Hag!”

The Princess and the Pea, Writer and Illustrator Rachel Isadora, Recommended for ages 3+
“Caldecott Honor artist Isadora (Ben’s Trumpet ) offers a visually vibrant version of this Hans Christian Andersen classic, which she sets in Africa. Created with oil paints on printed and palette paper, the stylized collage-like art features an array of rich hues and intricate patterns. The spare narrative introduces a prince who travels the world in search of a ‘real princess’ to marry. Readers see the hopeful fellow greeting three princesses, each of whom says hello in a different African language (translated at tale’s end).”

Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu, Writer Ylleya Fields, Illustrator Michael LaDuca, Recommended for ages 5 to 7
“Princess Cupcake Jones loves creating a mess and ends up scattering her things everywhere in the castle! When her beloved tutu goes missing, Cupcake learns the importance of tidying up and putting things in their proper place.”

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville, Writer, Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrator, Frank Morrison, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“It’s the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She’ll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn’t matter that Alta’s shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too…The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.”

Rain! Writer Linda Ashman, Illustrator Christian Robinson, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“One rainy day in the city, an eager little boy exclaims, “Rain!” Across town a grumpy man grumbles, “Rain.” In this endearing picture book, a rainy-day cityscape comes to life in vibrant, cut-paper-style artwork.”

The Rain Stomper, Writer, Addie Boswell, Illustrator, Eric Velasquez, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“Today is the day of the big neighborhood parade. Baton twirler Jazmin is ready to lead the way for the dogs and kids, music and fun. But then the clouds crowd in. The sky darkens. Thunder roars. And the rain begins. SLAP clatter clatter SLAP SLAP! Is Jazmin’s parade ruined? Or can she use her spirit, her fearless energy, and her mighty baton to save the day?”

Rainbow Stew, Writer and Illustrator, Catheryn Falwell, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“It’s a rainy summer day, but the vegetables in Grandpa’s garden are just waiting to be picked. Yellow peppers, purple cabbage, red tomatoes, green zucchini, orange carrots, and more. So many colors! So many delicious ingredients to slice, chop, peel, and dice for a great big pot of mouthwatering Rainbow Stew.”


Raising Dragons, Writer, Jerdine Nolan, Illustrator, Elise Primavera, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Fantasy and realism blend nicely in warm-hearted pictures that dazzle with vibrant colors in a tale of a farmer’s daughter and her flying, fire-breathing dragon. He is handy to have around the farm, but when he eventually must return to his home, the strong, devoted little girl who raised him knows just what to do.”

School Days Around the World, Writer Margriet Ruurs, Illustrator Alice Feagan, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“From Marta in Azezo, Ethiopia, and Luciano in Mérida, Venezuela, to Alina in Taraz, Kazakhstan, and Lu in Shanghai, China, the children who are profiled [in this non-fiction book]live in places that truly span the globe. However, while there are huge differences in their environments, all the children share similar desires to learn, read and play with others.”

Skysisters, Writer Bourdeau Waboose, Illustrator Brian Deines, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“Two Ojibway sisters set off across the frozen north country to see the SkySpirits’ midnight dance. It isn’t easy for the younger sister to be silent, but gradually she begins to treasure the stillness and the wonderful experiences it brings. After an exhilarating walk and patient waiting, the girls are rewarded by the arrival of the SkySpirits — — the northern lights — — dancing and shimmering in the night sky.”

So Much!, Writer Trish Cooke, Illustrator Helen Oxenbury, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“A baby’s family members want to squeeze, kiss, and wrestle the baby when they come over for Daddy’s birthday.”

Sonyas chickens

Sonya’s Chickens, Writer & Illustrator Phoebe Wahl, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“Sonya is bereft when a fox takes one of the three chickens she’s cared for like a mother, but her papa comforts her with the idea that the fox is also trying to feed his family. Her family acknowledges Sonya’s grief with a small ceremony, and the child and her chickens move on.”

Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure, Writer Wynton Marsalis, Illustrator Paul Rogers, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Ringing with exuberance and auditory delights, this second collaboration by world-renowned jazz musician and composer Wynton Marsalis and acclaimed illustrator Paul Rogers takes readers (and listeners) on a rollicking, clanging, clapping tour through the many sounds that fill a neighborhood.”

The summer nick taught

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read, Writer, Curtis Manley, Illustrator, Kate Berube, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“It’s not easy to teach a cat to read, but one boy tries to anyway in this sweet and silly picture book debut that captures the challenges and rewards of learning to read.”

Swift Walker: Science and Geography Books for Kids, Writer Verlyn Tarlton, Illustrator Alejandro Chamberlain, Recommended for ages 4+
“These delightful books introduce kids to space and geography facts with a fun character they can relate to.”

Tar Beach, Writer and Artist Faith Ringgold, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“Cassie Louise Lightfoot, eight years old in 1939, has a dream: to be free to go wherever she wants for the rest of her life. One night, up on “tar beach” — the rooftop of her family’s Harlem apartment building — her dream comes true. The stars lift her up, and she flies over the city.”

Those Shoes, Writer, Maribeth Boelts, Illustrator, Noah Z. Jones, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for ‘want,’ just ‘need,’ when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things.”

Tutu Goes Green, By Tulani Thomas, Recommended for ages 5 to 7.
“Tutu, a young African-American girl, shows everyone how they can live a ‘greener’ life and help protect the environment. Tutu loves her family and friends, but she also loves and respects the earth. She recycles, reuses whatever she can, and reduces waste by only using what she needs. Definitions of the terms recycle, reuse, and reduce are provided, and specific examples of each are described.”

Visiting Feelings, Writer Lauren Rubenstein, Illustrator Shelly Hehenberger, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“Visiting Feelings encourages children to treat their feelings like guests — welcome them in, get to know them, and perhaps learn why they are visiting.”

Walter the Farting Dog, Writers William Kotzwinkle & Glenn Murray, Illustrator Audrey Colman, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“Wouldn’t you know, two burglars break in, and Walter’s liability becomes his asset.”

We Laugh Alike / Juntos Nos Reímos: A Story That's Part Spanish, Part English, and a Whole Lot of Fun, Writer Carmen Bernier-Grand, Illustrator Alyssa Bermudez, Recommended for ages 5 to 8. "This clever playground adventure weaves together bilingual Spanish and English conversations, so two groups of children can express similar thoughts in their own languages."

What can you do with a rebozo? Writer Carmen Tafolla, Illustrator Amy Cordova, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“’What I like to do most with a rebozo is DANCE! / ¡Lo que más me gusta hacer con un rebozo es BAILAR! ‘ A little girl describes the many uses her family has for Mamá’s rebozo, a traditional Mexican shawl.”

What Mary Jo Shared, Writer Janice May Udry, Illustrator, Elizabeth Sales, Recommended for ages 4 to 8
“With originality, a shy first grader solves the problem of what to do for ‘show and tell.’ ”

What should i make

What Should I Make? Writer Nandini Nayar, Illustrator Proiti Roy, Recommended for ages 3 to 7
“Neeraj’s mother is making chapatis and she’s given him a handful of the dough. What should he make with it? A snake? A mouse? A cat? But what if his creations come to life?”

Where’s the Cat? Writer and Illustrator Manjula Padmanabhan, Recommended for ages 3 to 6“Where’s That Cat? is all about looking for a naughty little cat on a busy city street filled with people to talk to and things to look at! The endearing pictures with delightful details invite us to join Minnie in her search for Pooni — who is always just a step ahead.”

Upper Elementary

Abby’s Birds, Writer, Ellen Schwartz, Illustrator, Sima Elizabeth Shefrin, Recommended for ages 5 to 8
“Abby makes an unlikely friend in her neighborhood — her elderly Japanese neighbor, Mrs. Naka. All spring and summer, the two delight in the robins that live in the maple tree that straddles their yards, following the birds’ progress as they nest and the babies hatch and learn to fly. Mrs. Naka teaches Abby how to make tori — origami birds. Later, when Mrs. Naka has an accident, will Abby be able to use her new skill to conjure up a surprise to comfort her ailing neighbor?”

Bright Sky, Starry City, Writer Uma Krishnaswami, Illustrator Aimee Sicuro, Recommended for ages 6 to 9
“Phoebe helps her dad set up telescopes on the sidewalk outside his store. It’s a special night — Saturn and Mars are going to appear together in the sky. But will Phoebe be able to see them with all the city lights?”

Buzz Beaker Series, Writer, Cari Meister, Illustrator, Bill McGuire, Recommended for ages 7 to 9
“These two Level 3 ‘Reading Alone’ beginning readers present Buzz Beaker, a young African-American inventor.”


The Day of Ahmed’s Secret, Writers Florence Parry Heide, Illustrator Ted Lewin, Recommended for ages 6 to 9
“As young Ahmed delivers butane gas to customers all over the city of Cairo, he thinks, I have a secret. All day long, as he maneuvers his donkey cart through streets crowded with cars and camels, down alleys filled with merchants’ stalls, and past buildings a thousand years old, Ahmed keeps his secret safe inside. It is so special, so wonderful, that he can reveal it only to his family, only when he returns home, only at the end of the day.”

EllRay Jakes Series, Writer, Sally Warner, Illustrators, Brian Biggs and Jamie Harper, Recommended for ages 6 to 8.
“Even though he’s the smallest kid in class, eight-year-old EllRay Jakes can get himself into big trouble. This humorous and true to life series starring an African-American family is just right for boys and reluctant readers.”

Kunu’s Basket, Writer Lee DeCora Francis, Illustrator Susan Drucker, Recommended for ages 6 to 8
“When his grandfather asks Kunu to help him with some basket-making tasks, Kunu comes to understand that it is the tradition in his family for one generation to help the next. He also learns that it might take several tries before he gets it right. Can he be patient enough to try again and again? His grandfather shows him the way, and at last Kunu’s first basket is something to celebrate.”

The Skates of Uncle Richard, Writer, Carol Fenner, Illustrator, Ati Forberg, Recommended for ages 7 to 9
“With her Uncle’s encouragement a nine-year-old takes the first step toward realizing her dream of becoming a figure skater.”


Up Home, Writer Shauntay Grant, Illustrator, Susan Tooke, Recommended for ages 8 to 12.
“Happy memories sparkle in this journey through poet Shauntay Grant’s childhood visits to North Preston, Nova Scotia. Her words bring to life the sights, sounds, rhythms, and people of a joyful place, while Susan Tooke’s vibrant illustrations capture the warmth of one of Canada’s most important black communities. Up Home celebrates the magic of growing up, and the power in remembering our roots”

A Walk on the Tundra, Writers, Rebecca Hainnu and Anna Ziegler, Illustrator Qin Leng, Recommended for ages 6 to 10
“A Walk on the Tundra follows Inuujaq, a little girl who travels with her grandmother onto the tundra. There, Inuujaq learns that the tough little plants she sees are much more important to Inuit than she originally believed. In addition to an informative storyline that teaches the importance of Arctic plants, this book includes a field guide with photographs and scientific information about a wide array of plants found throughout the Arctic."

Middle School


The Egypt Game, Writer, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Illustrator, Alton Raible, Recommended for ages 8–12
“The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she’s not sure they have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard, Melanie and April decide it’s the perfect spot for the Egypt Game. Before long there are six Egyptians, and they all meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code. Everyone thinks it’s just a game until strange things start happening.”

The True Meaning of Smekday, Writer and Illustrator, Adam Rex, Recommended for ages 8 to 12
“Who knew the end of the world could be so hilarious? With a misfit cast of characters led by a precocious 11-year-old narrator named Gratuity “Tip” Tucci and a bumbling alien named J.Lo who has an appetite for dental floss and air fresheners, Rex’s high-octane fantasy could fairly be called an apocalyptic comedy.”

Nora May

Nora May is a chemical engineer who works in the arts and loves to sing. She was once an EmbraceRace intern. More about Nora >