Posts Tagged diversity

Introducing New Series: We Need Diverse MG

We Need Diverse MG

From the Mixed-Up Files … of Middle-Grade Authors is excited to announce that starting October 21, we’re launching a new series:

WE NEED DIVERSE MG

We Need Diverse MG

Check out our series logo — designed by one of our newest contributors, Aixa Perez-Prado. Isn’t it amazing?

We Need Diverse MG will publish posts once a month and will be dedicated to celebrating, exploring issues, and promoting diversity in middle-grade books. We hope you will make our newest series appointment reading, and as always, we encourage you to reach out to us with questions, ideas, and comments: msfishby@fromthemixedupfiles.com

 

 

Diversity in MG Lit #20 Contemporary Realistic Fiction

I’ve got a big roster of diverse titles with contemporary and realistic settings this month, so my reviews are going to be correspondingly short so I can fit them all in. I’ve organized these with the youngest books first moving toward YA titles that are still appropriate for MG readers.
Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Meg Medina illus. by Sonia Sánchez. Okay technically this is a picture book. It’s lovely though and pitch perfect to the experience of having a friend move away. I think it will also resonate with many 1-4th graders who haven’t moved but can’t see their best friend because of the pandemic. And the cherry on top–a little ode to the Post Office at the end with the MC surrounded by letters from her best friend.  Candlewick, 9/20
Planet Omar Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik. This one’s a chapter book in the vein of Clementine with a well meaning Muslim boy who has a talent for mischief and a big imagination. Many elements of Muslim family life are introduced in a graceful way. Lots of spot illustrations throughout. Putnam 2/20
The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert. This is a MG debut for Colbert who has written in the YA space previously. She transitions nicely to a sweet small town friendship story that still manages to point out what a big deal micro aggressions are and what a not-big-deal gay parents are. Bravo. Little Brown 3/20
What Lane by Torrey Maldonado, A short & sweet middle school boys friendship story focusing on the nuances of the biracial experience for black boys. Nancy Paulson Books 5/20
The Last Tree in Town by Beth Turley. Another story about the biracial experience, this one an Irish-Puerto Rican family. It delves into depression in main character Cassi’s high school aged sister and dementia in her grandparent. Love it that Cassi is on her school math olympics team. Simon & Schuster, 5/20
Stand Up Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim. Yumi is a budding standup comedian who dreams of youtube stardom while working at her family’s Korean barbecue restaurant.
A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi & Laura Shovan. This strangers to friends story is told in alternating voices. Loved the British Bake Off vibe and the side story of the girls’ mothers working toward their citizenship exams. Clarion 5/20
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Here’s another story delving into the dynamics of the biracial family. This time against the backdrop of economic privilege and a fencing club. Lots of food for conversation here and the sports story element should make it broadly appealing.
Dress Coded by Carrie Firestone delves into the racially complex and deeply sexist practice of school dress codes. My inner twelve year old stood up and cheered. You’re going to want to discuss this with your daughters, and it should be required reading for boys. Reluctant readers may appreciate the short chapters. Putnam 7/20
Once Upon an Eid: stories of Hope and Joy by 15 muslim voices ed. by S.K.Ali & Aisha Saeed I love short stories! This collection does a brilliant job of demonstrating the diversity of experience within the Muslim community world wide. Amulet 5/20
And finally Furia by Camille Saied Méndez. This is a debut YA novel but I think it works for the upper end of middle grade (5-8th) because it focuses so much on athletic ambition. Middle school is when many kids first get serious about their sport. MC Camilla Hasan is an Argentinian teenager who adores soccer and excels at it, earning the name La Furia on the field. But at home she navigates what her ambition will mean in family that values athletic skill in men but not women. There’s an element of romance but sports is first in this girl’s heart. Algonquin 9/20
It’s been a great fall for diverse books. More than 50% of the titles highlighted at the Children’s Institute were diverse, so I’m just scratching the surface here. Please shout out the ones I’ve missed in the comments.

STEM Tuesday — Planets and Stars — Book List

This has been a busy year for space exploration. In February, NASA launched a solar orbiter. Late May saw SpaceX launch their Dragon, followed by three different missions to Mars. And China is planning to send a rover to the moon. We hope these books will inspire our next generation of Space Explorers!

Our Solar System and Beyond

Absolute Expert: Space, All the Latest Facts from the Field by Joan Marie Galat

This book starts with the question, “where does space begin?” and takes off to explore our solar system, stars, the big bang, and even communicating with aliens. Every chapter includes Space Watch (things you can see without needing a telescope) and Space Labs (hands-on experiments).

 

Dr. Maggie’s Grand Tour Of The Solar System by Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Dr. Maggie is a space scientist and in this book she takes you on a journey around our solar system. There’s a stop at every planet: a hike up Olympus Mons on Mars, a visit to the red spot on Jupiter, and some quick tours to a few moons. What’s fun is that she includes a “ship’s database” at the back filled with facts and statistics.

 

The Daredevil’s Guide To Outer Space by Anna Brett, illustrated by Mike Jacobsen

A Lonely Planet guide of a different sort! Cartoon characters blast off to explore our solar system and beyond. Text is presented in panels and text boxes as well as through dialog. Readers visit the International Space Station and meet other spacecraft throughout the journey.

 

Dr. E’s Super Stellar Solar System by Bethany Ehlmann and Jennifer Swanson

Dr. Ehlmann has an out-of-this-world job: she’s a planetary geologist AND she helped drive the rover, Curiosity on Mars. But she wonders what it would be like to zoom around the solar system. The comics are fun, the science is real, and there are some “try this” activities. There’s even a handy guide for likely places to find alien life.

 

Mars Missions

Mission to Mars by Mary Kay Carson

Humans will go to Mars someday. What will it take to get them there? Will there be water on the planet? Martians to greet us? This book looks at what we’ve discovered in previous Mars missions, and the technology and training for future exploration.

 

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity (Scientists in the Field Series) by Elizabeth Rusch

At 13 years old, Steven Squyers watched astronauts land on the moon. Two decades later, with a degree in geology, he started thinking what a mission to Mars might look like. He proposed sending rovers – and in these pages readers follow along as he and his team design, build, and launch the rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin & Marianne Dyson

Treating the reader as a Mars Mission crew member, the book examines the preparation, travel, and early residency involved in settling Mars. Each chapter includes both early and ground-breaking science, political and scientific history, facts, and numerous hands-on activities.

 

 

Looking into Deep Space

The Hubble Space Telescope: Our Eye on the Universe by Terence Dickinson, with Tracy C. Read

After discussing Edwin Hubble, the intricacies of the Hubble telescope, and providing a glossary on the universe, this book looks at the remarkable images Hubble has revealed and the advances in scientific knowledge and understanding of star clusters, gorgeous nebulas, the milky way, and distant galaxies that it has provided.

 

Beyond the Solar System: Exploring Galaxies, Black Holes, Alien Planets, and More (A History with 21 Activities) by Mary Kay Carson

Examining the scientists and their contributions to our increasing knowledge of stars, planets, and other galaxies (from prehistory to 2010), this book invites readers to recreate their discoveries and the tools that the scientists developed to explore our solar system and the universe. It includes a glossary and great additional resources.

Visual Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide to the Milky Way and Beyond by National Geographic, with a foreword by Chris Hadfield (Astronaut and Former Commander of the International Space Station)

Combining stunning photographs with illustrations and graphics, this book explores our galaxy and planets. Then it expands into deep space to look at the creation of stars and galaxies, how the universe fits together, and possible exoplanets. It includes information from space missions and a glossary.

Wormholes Explained by Richard Gaughan

If we haven’t seen them, can they exist? Using engaging, accessible text and beautiful images, this book distills a wormholes’ description, scientific theories of gravity & relativity, and the mathematics involved as it offers the data and evidence scientists currently have about wormholes and space.

 

 


STEM Tuesday book list prepared by:

Sue Heavenrich writes about science for children and their families, from space to backyard ecology. A long line of ants marching across the kitchen counter inspired her first article for kids. When not writing, she’s committing acts of citizen science in the garden. She blogs about science for kids and families at archimedesnotebook.blogspot.com.

 

 

Maria Marshall is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s been a judge for the Cybils Awards from 2017 to present. Her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2017-2018, 2016, and 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at www.mariacmarshall.com/blog.