Only six percent of children’s books published in 2012 featured diverse characters. Last Saturday, the first ever BookCon in New York city came under severe scrutiny for featuring all-white speakers (and one Grumpy Cat). NPR’s Bilal Qureshi reported on the controversy and the resulting hashtag campaign, #WeNeedDiverseBooks.
We asked around the NPR headquarters, checked out our library and compiled a list of books with authors hailing from around the world, including Korea, India and the South Dakota Sioux reservation.
These books tackle themes like international adoption, bi-racial families and cultural history, to name a few. Not all of the authors are minorities, but every book features a protagonist of color that children can point to and say, “That’s me!”
The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring by Lucille Clifton
King Shabazz gets tired of everyone telling him that “spring is right around the corner,” so he and his friend Tony start turning street corners to chase this elusive spring — after putting their caps on backwards to show they mean business!
Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez
A multilingual mouse and his family live upstairs in an old theater. They love to go to the plays and shout “Bravo!” when the curtain falls. But when Gato-Gato, the theater cat, finds them, Chico Canta must use his gift for languages to save his family.
Bringing Asha Home by Uma Krishnaswami
Arun can’t wait for his little sister to come home — she’s been adopted all the way from India. But India is far away and Asha’s adoption frustratingly takes nearly a year. While waiting for their newest addition, Arun and his family find ways to welcome Asha into their hearts, even if she isn’t in their home.
Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look
“Brush of the Gods” is about Wu Daozi, a famous seventh-century Chinese artist. The author imagines Wu Daozi as a young man trying to learn calligraphy, but when he sits down to write, he creates beautiful paintings instead! An imaginative tale that thoughtfully brings life to one of China’s master painters.