Children's Books for Parents and Teachers - book reviews and suggestions for parents and teachers.
Diversity

The following collection of books deals with a full range of people’s differences. Their characters live in different kinds of families and are different sizes, shapes, and colors. Many have special physical and mental abilities and disabilities. Share these books with your class to show how individuals cope with and overcome their differences.

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The Day the Crayons Quit

By: Drew Daywalt
Publisher: Philomel
Level: 6-7

Crayons have feelings, too, in this funny back-to-school story illustrated by the creator of Stuck and This Moose Belongs to Me — now a #1 New York Times bestseller!

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.

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The Name Jar

By: Yangsook Choi
Publisher: Dragonfly Books
Level: 6-7

The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she?

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for …

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Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Doreen Rappaport
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Level: 8-9

This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, Martin’s Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America—and the world—forever.

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The Sandwich Swap

The Sandwich Swap

By: Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Level: 6-7

Lily and Salma are best friends. They play together and stick together through thick and thin. But who would have ever thought that ordinary peanut butter or plain old hummus could come between them? Lily and Salma don’t quite understand each other’s tastes, but does that mean they can’t be friends? They understand far better than a lot of gown ups that these things hardly matter and that friendship is the most important thing of all.

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Amy's Travels

Amy’s Travels

By: Kathryn Starke
Publisher: Creative Minds Publications
Level: 8-9

Come join Amy as she travels to all seven continents. Amy’s Travels, based on a true story, teaches the geography, culture, and diversity of the world through the eyes of a young child.

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The Cow That Went Oink

The Cow That Went Oink

By: Bernard Most
Publisher: Harcourt, 1990
Level: 6-7

Children who are teased at school, who are shy about speaking in front of the class, or who simply see themselves as not fitting in are bound to find relief in this tale about a cow who oinks and a pig who moos. This book teaches a great lesson about accepting differences.

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Radiance Descending: A Novel

Radiance Descending: A Novel

By: Paula Fox
Level: 12-13

Paul has a younger brother, Jacob, who has Down’s syndrome, and he is angry. He doesn’t like the attention his brother receives and he doesn’t want anyone to know they are brothers. Guided by his patient and wise grandfather, Paul makes a painful journey while coming to terms with feelings about his brother.

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One True Friend

One True Friend

By: Joyce Hansen
Publisher: Clarion, 2001
Level: 12-13

Fourteen-year-old Amir has bounced from foster home to foster home since the death of his parents. He now lives with the loving Smiths who have raised his youngest brother, Ronald, since he was a baby. Amir’s goal is to unite all of his brothers and sisters. His lifeline during this time is Doris, a friend from his old neighborhood in the Bronx. They write letters sharing their feelings and concerns. When Doris writes about a friend experimenting with drugs, Amir must come to terms with his family’s past. And when …

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The Misfits

The Misfits

By: James Howe
Publisher: Atheneum, 2001
Level: 12-13

Addie is super tall and super smart. Joe is gay. Skeezie is sloppy and tough looking, and Bobbie, the narrator, is overweight and vulnerable since the death of his mother. They’ve been friends for years and hold a forum once a week to talk about important things. Although they’ve been called names all their lives, they have had one another for support. For their seventh-grade election, they form a new political party, called the No-Name Party whose slogan is, “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will break …

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A Day for Vincent Chin and Me

A Day for Vincent Chin and Me

By: Jacqueline Turner Banks
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, 2001
Level: 10-11

Tommy is part of a posse, a group of six seventh-grade students who have been friends forever. He leads this posse in a neighborhood effort to slow down traffic on his street where a deaf girl lives. Meanwhile, Tommy’s mother leads a protest march called “A Day for Vincent Chin” in the state capitol. Chin, a Chinese man, was beaten to death by racist auto workers, who mistakenly assumed he was Japanese. Tommy, who more than anything wants to fit in, dislikes his mother’s leadership role because it draws attention …

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