By Terri Schlichenmeyer
School will start soon and you will meet many new children.
You will meet children from other cities and perhaps other countries; some will have lighter hair and some will have darker skin. Maybe they’ll be like you, and maybe they won’t, so why not find out what’s different and interesting about these new kids by reading one (or all!) of these great books….
Do you know where your new classmates will live? In “My Town Mi Pueblo” by Nicholas Solis, illustrated by Luisi Uribe (Nancy Paulsen Books, $17.99), two cousins live very close to each other and very far apart . She lives in the United States, he lives in Mexico, and they’re separated by a big river. In this book, they tell you about their cities – her, in English; Him, in Spanish – they explain why they like to visit each other in the town across the river, and what they do for fun. This is an excellent book for bilingual children and for those who have playmates who are. Look for it on August 16.
For the kid who straddles two cultures, or the kid whose playmates do, Jyoti Rajan Gopal’s “American Desi,” illustrated by Supriya Kelkar (Little, Brown Young Readers $18.99) is the book to share. .
Here, a young girl has “one foot” in America and the other in India. So is she Indian or American… or both? Can she enjoy her bindis and bracelets and still love hip-hop music? How she reconciles her two lives and even brings them together is a story of pure joy, illustrated in colorful pages that your child will want to watch again and again.
For future black men and their current playmates, “Black Boy, Black Boy” by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, photos by Ken Daley (Sourcebooks, $17.99) is a book that inspires and informs.
Here, a father proudly walks his black son on a path through history to show the boy that inventors, activists, writers, musicians, politicians and others have gone before him and paved the way. This pride-inspiring book comes out August 9th.
And finally, for every child everywhere, no matter who he or she is, “Our World Is One Family” by Miry Whitehill and Jennifer Jackson, photos by Nomar Perez (Sourcebooks, $17.99) is fun and helpful. The words inside this book show children and their families from around the world, including children with disabilities, children who speak different languages, children who eat unusual foods, and children who need friends. It explains immigration in words small children can understand and teaches children how to be welcoming to those who are different.
These books are great for ages 4-7, but if you’re looking for inclusive books for older children or toddlers, contact your favorite librarian or bookseller. They’ll help you find exactly what you need for your child, regardless of their reading (or listening) level. Your librarian or your bookseller will make you discover all kinds of novelties to meet.