Ordinarily I feature a group of books in my monthly feature but today I’m going to call out one book that offers a guide to 500 diverse books. There are many roundups of diverse books in addition to this one. Solid on line resources like The Brown Bookshelf to name just one. There are also other books that round up and recommend books for kids A Family of Readers edited by Rodger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano is one from several years ago. But here is what makes BETTER WITH BOOKS so notable. Consider the tag line: 500 diverse books to ignite empathy and encourage self-acceptance in tweens and teens. That’s a great mission and it’s more books by a considerable margin than most of this type of book. In the introduction Sharon Draper says, “all of them…speak to contemporary issues and offer a solid starting point for the essential human quest toward greater understanding of ourselves and others. “
Melissa Hart has a beautifully expansive way of looking at diversity going beyond race, ethnicity, gender identity and class to include categories like
Adoption and Foster Care
Religion and Spirituality
and Physical disabilities
Categories that are often over-looked.
You’ll find books you already know and love and plenty of lesser known gems. The books featured are all published in the last 10 years and will provide a foundation for empathetic reading for many years to come. It will be a particularly good book to give as a gift to a favorite teacher.
Rosanne Parry is the author of a 4 MG novels and the forthcoming A WOLF CALLED WANDER and LAST OF THE NAME. She is a bookseller at Annie Blooms and teaches in the Masters in Book Publishing program at Portland State. She writes in a treehouse in her back yard.
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.