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Diversity in Literature

This category contains 14 posts

THE OKAY WITCH by Emma Steinkellner

The Okay Witch was a light, easy, enjoyable read. The main character is 13-year-old Moth Hush. She and her mom live in Founder’s Bluff, Massachussetts. Moth has always felt out of place among her peers, she doesn’t have any friends and a lot of the other kids bully her on a regular basis. Early in … Continue reading

ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME by Juana Martinez-Neal…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela Alma thinks her name is too long.  Her father tells her the story behind each part of her name, telling her after she has heard the stories she can decide for herself if her name really is too long. As her father tells her about each of the people … Continue reading

THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson Illustrated by Rafael Lopex…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

The Day You Begin opens with a gentle acknowledgement: There will be times when you walk into a room and no one is quite like you. The illustrations are done in soft, bright tones that reinforce a compassion to support us as the text acknowledges the many ways in which we can feel conspicuously different … Continue reading

DRAWN TOGETHER by Minh Le Illustrated by Dan Santat…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

A grandson unwillingly visits his grandfather, who does not speak English. Bored and resentful, the young boy takes out his sketchbook and: Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words. Grandfather and grandson share an ability and love for drawing. They begin to each share their … Continue reading

BOWWOW POWWOW by Brenda Child Illustrated by Jonathon Turner Translated by Gordon Jourdain…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

Originally written in the Ojibwe language, Bowwow Powwow is an explanation of the basics of what a powwow is and an idea of why it holds such a revered place in Ojibwe culture–past and present.  The illustrations are beautifully done in jewel tones, which have a relaxing, calming effect on the reader. Our main character is … Continue reading

GENESIS BEGINS AGAIN by Alicia D. Williams

After finishing Genesis Begins Again I wanted to live with the experience of reading it for a day or two before I wrote a review. I have now had the opportunity to do just that. Genesis is thirteen years old.  We first meet her as she is coming home from school–bringing friends with her for … Continue reading

A TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman was a 4.5/5 star read for me! After reading Venkatraman’s most recent work–the middle grade novel The Bridge Home–I was curious about her backlist.  A Time to Dance was originally published in 2014.  The main character is Veda Venkat, a young, Indian girl who is extremely talented and skilled … Continue reading

THE POET X by Elizabeth Acevado

Having read Elizabeth Acevado’s With the Fire on High, I was excited to go back and read The Poet X.  I was not disappointed.  Acevado creates some of the strongest, most completely developed young female characters I have ever encountered.  Xiomara Batista from The Poet X is no exception. Xiomara’s mother is extremely religious and has raised … Continue reading

PIECING ME TOGETHER by Renee Watson…a 2020 LOVELACE nominee Division II

Jade is an extraordinarily talented African-American teenage artist about to begin her junior year at St. Francis High School in Portland, Oregon.  St. Francis is a private high school in a nicer neighborhood than the one in which Jade lives with her mother and uncle; its students are mostly white. Jade agreed to attend St. … Continue reading

WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo

WOW!  I cannot say enough how much I LOVED With the Fire on High! Emoni Santiago is one of my new favorite characters in literature. She’s extraordinary.  Her mother was Jamaican and her father is Puerto Rican.  She has always lived with her paternal grandmother; her father shows up for about a month (usually July) out … Continue reading