Diversity

Everything Sad is Untrue: (a True Story)

Indeed this is a true story of a boy named Khosrou, who became known as "Daniel" when he and his mother and sister immigrated to the United States. Author Daniel Nayeri writes from his perspective as a child who loved his relatives and his ancient house in Iran, but was forced into a long immigration process when his mother, a doctor, converted from Islam to Christianity and was thereafter considered a criminal in her own country. The fictionalized account makes many references to the storytelling of the legendary Persian queen Scheherazade, and Nayeri writes as if his own survival depends on telling the many small stories and captured memories, whether poignant, mundane, or traumatic, that make him the person he is today. Humor and also sadness abound, and there is some blood and violence.

This book won the Michael L. Printz Award for literary excellence in young adult literature, in 2021.

A Boy Called Bat

Bixby Alexander Tam (Bat, for short) loves all kinds of animals. When Bat's veterinarian mom brings home an orphaned newborn skunk, his focus and goal is to convince her that a skunk might just be a perfect pet. The only trouble is, she insists that the skunk can only stay with them for one short month, just long enough for the baby skunk to grow up enough to transition to a wildlife rehab center. Can Bat convince her to change her mind?  

A sweet and understanding portrayal of a boy on the spectrum, Bat's supportive family and teacher bring to life how it can be difficult to communicate with someone whose mind works differently, and yet, the story never mentions autism at all. When it comes to making friends, and making eye contact, Bat isn't made fun of or judged, and his full focus on his interests is as appreciated as he is. Recommended for ages 8+

Reviewed by Claire C.

While I was Away

When 12 year-old Waka's parents think she needs to brush up on her Japanese, they send her to Japan to live with her Obaasama, her grandmother, who lives in Tokyo. Five long months in a Japanese only school, giving up her summer vacation and her best friends back home in Kansas! In addition to dealing with the pressure of reading and writing in only Japanese, and making friends at school as a gaijin, an "outsider," Waka also learns how to connect with her complicated and distant grandmother.

A memoir of her time in a Japanese school, Waka T. Brown's story of growing up in two worlds and sometimes feeling like an outsider in both, is a compelling glimpse into life in Japan in the 80s. I loved learning right along with Waka, and her insights in how the past can sometimes haunt those we love, and knowing that can help us know them better.

Reviewed by Senior Information Assistant, Claire C.

June is Pride Month

Illustration of raised hands with rainbow bracelets holding Pride flags and a sign that says "Love is Love"..

In June we celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning Pride! Many Pride events in the United States are held in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion on June 28, 1969. Celebrations often include festivals, performances, rallies, parades, family events, film screenings, and other events. These events honor the history of the LGBTQ+ social movement and celebrate progress made by the community.

Supporting a diverse and inclusive community is at the heart of our mission to serve Monroe County. While we strive to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community all year long, June offers an opportunity to highlight the contributions of LGBTQ+ creators and to provide a safe and welcoming space.

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

The small town of Fry in Logan County is a weird place. Strange, unexplainable, dangerous stuff happens all the time, threatening the townsfolk. Thankfully, the town is also home to cousins Otto and Sheed - the Legendary Alston Boys. They've solved mysteries and saved the day countless times, but when they encounter an unusual man with a magical camera on the last day of summer, they embark on what may be their toughest challenge yet... The setting is reminiscent of Gravity Falls or Stranger Things (but more kid-friendly of course) - Logan County is full of supernatural surprises. Otto and Sheed are extremely likable characters, and the story is filled with humor, action, imagination, and delivers a heartwarming and inspiring message on top. Recommended for ages 9-12, but could be enjoyed by younger kids as well.

Reviewed by Paul D.

American As Paneer Pie

Eleven year old Lekha is the only Indian American girl in her school and definitely feels like an outcast in the mostly-white Detroit neighborhood she calls home. Her classmates make ignorant remarks about her family’s culture, language, and tease her about her birthmark (that just so happens to be on her forehead, just like a Bindi).

Lekha has learned to suppress everything that makes her different from everyone else - she never brings her favorite Indian foods to lunch, covers her birthmark with her hair, and stays silent when she, or anyone else, is teased. When a new Desi kid, Avantika, moves in across the street everything begins to change. Avantika speaks up about her culture and celebrates it when all Lekha has done is hide it. Lekha is impressed and embarrassed by Avantika’s ability to lean into her culture and heritage. But when a local political election spawns a hate crime against Lekha’s family, she knows she can’t stay silent and complacent any longer.

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl

Growing up as a young boy in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Sundar Paliwal experienced several difficult things such as hunger, poverty and the loss of his mother at a young age. He continues to look at his community as he grows up, gets married and eventually has his own two daughters and one son. He teaches his children about the beauty and importance of all living things. But Sundar’s community and land is being destroyed by mining companies, where he works.

Sundar knows he must make change in his community and for the land around them. He quits his mining job and becomes an activist and local leader. However, when tragedy strikes yet again in Sundar’s life, he imagines an inspiring plan that will not only replenish the environment but also highlight the need for equality amongst girls and boys in his village. In honor of every girl born in the village, 111 trees will be planted!

The Only Black Girls in Town

Until Edie and her mom bought the B&B across the street, Alberta and her two dads were the only Black folks in their neighborhood. Surfer girl Alberta is thrilled to find out that she and the new girl are in the same grade, and expects to immediately be besties, despite how different they are in many ways.

Then, Edie discovers a box of old journals in the attic and recruits Al to help her figure out the mystery of who wrote them, leading to a shocking discovery!

This is an excellent middle grade story about the complexities of Blackness and friendship. Appropriate for ages 8+

Reviewed by Cidne B., Senior Information Assistant

Celebrate Lunar New Year!

IU Asian Culture Center Presents: How to Make Dumplings!

What is Lunar New Year?

In Western countries, we celebrate the New Year on January 1, but in many Asian countries the traditional new year follows the cycles of the moon so they celebrate what we call "Lunar New Year" (sometimes also called "Chinese New Year") and it usually occurs in late January to early February.

For people following the Lunar calendar, years are tracked by animals. For example, this year is the Year of the Ox. There are 12 animals of the Lunar calendar that always appear in this order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This means that the next Year of the Ox won’t be until 2033!

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