We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books

Library shelves are packed with all kinds of stories for all kinds of readers. Stories can be mirrors for children to see themselves, but can also be windows for readers to empathize with characters who have different experiences. Check out these recommended books that feature characters who are diverse (in areas such as race, LGBTQ+, religion, abilities, and more)!

Print the "We Need Diverse Books" staff picks list


Compiled by:
Alex G.

Picture Books and Younger Elementary

The Day You Begin

Jacqueline Woodson
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Woo)

Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself. Later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider. Recommended for ages 6-9.


Don't Throw It To Mo!

David A. Adler
(Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Adl)

Mo is the youngest kid on the football team. The rival kids tease him for being too tiny to catch the ball, but Mo's coach has a plan up his sleeve to turn Mo's little size into a big win. Recommended for ages 6–9.


Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns

Hena Khan
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Kha)

In simple rhyming text, a young Muslim girl and her family guide the reader through the traditions and colors of Islam. Recommended for ages 3-6.


The Haunted House Next Door

Andres Miedoso
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Miedoso)
Series: Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol

Meet Desmond Cole, a fearless eight-year-old who runs his own ghost patrol, looking for ghosts, monsters, and mischief makers everywhere! Recommended for ages 6–9.


Jabari Jumps

Gaia Cornwall
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Cor)

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He's finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he's a great jumper, so he's not scared at all. Or is he? Recommended for ages 3-6.


Maybe Something Beautiful

Isabel Campoy
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Cam)

Mira lives in a gray and hopeless urban community until a muralist arrives and brings color, joy, and togetherness to Mira and her neighbors. Recommended for ages 3–6.


Mommy's Khimar

Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Tho)

A young Muslim girl puts on a head scarf and not only feels closer to her mother, but also imagines herself as a queen, the sun, a superhero, and more. Recommended for ages 3–6.


Princess Hair

Sharee Miller
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Mil)

Little girls pretending to be princesses celebrate the different shapes, textures, and styles of their black hair. Recommended for ages 3-6.


We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Traci Sorell
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 970.3 Cherokee Sor)

Otsaliheliga is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. Recommended for ages 3-6.


Yasmin the Explorer

Saadia Faruqi
(Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Far)
Series: Yasmin

When Yasmin's father explains to her about explorers and maps, Yasmin decides to make a map of her neighborhood. Recommended for ages 6-9.


Older Elementary

Amina's Voice

Hena Khan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Khan)

A Pakistani American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family's vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community. Recommended for ages 8–12.


Aru Shah and the End of Time

Roshani Chokshi
(Juvenile Fiction - J Chokshi)
Series: Pandava

Twelve-year-old Aru stretches the truth to fit in at her private school, but when she is dared to prove an ancient lamp is cursed, she inadvertently frees an ancient demon. Recommended for ages 8-12.


The Crossover

Kwame Alexander
(Juvenile Fiction - J Alexand)

14-year-old twin basketball stars wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health. Recommended for ages 8–12.


El Deafo

Cece Bell
(Juvenile Graphic Novel - J-GN 921 Bell Bel)

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! Recommended for ages 8-12.


The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

Pablo Cartaya
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cartaya)

Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a big, epic fail? Recommended for ages 8-12.


Front Desk

Kelly Yang
(Juvenile Fiction - J Yang)

Recent immigrants from China, ten-year-old Mia Tang's parents take a job managing a rundown motel in Southern California. Mia works the front desk and tries to cope with demanding customers. Recommended for ages 8-12.


George

Alex Gino
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gino)

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Recommended for ages 8-12.


Hurricane Child

Kheryn Callender
(Juvenile Fiction - J Callend)

Born in the Virgin Islands during a hurricane, which is considered bad luck, Caroline falls in love with another girl--and together they set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother. Recommended for ages 8-12.


Princeless: Save Yourself (Book 1)

Jeremy Whitley
(Juvenile Graphic Novel - J-GN Princeless v. 1)
Series: Princeless

Princess Adrienne is tired of being locked in a tower waiting to be rescued by a prince, so she escapes and sets off on a quest to rescue her sisters who are suffering the same fate. Recommended for ages 8–12.


The Storm Runner

Jennifer Cervantes
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cervant)
Series: Storm Runner

A mysterious girl named Brooks shows up at Zane's doorstep and tells him that the volcano near his house is actually a centuries-old prison for the Maya god of death, whose destiny is directly tied to Zane's. Recommended for ages 8-12.