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Looking for your child’s next favorite read or a way to diversify your family’s reading list? The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL) just released their list of the Best Books of 2020. You can see the full list here: click me! 

We’d like to spotlight the listed books that are readily available here at Forest Public Park Library. These books are a little on the heavier side, and deal with difficult and (sadly) very real issues that many children in these communities face. These are important and necessary stories that are great for discussion, but if you’re looking for something lighter to share with your family, there are more recommendations at the end.

  1. Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson 
    1. ZJ’s friends Ollie, Darry and Daniel help him cope when his father, a beloved professional football player, suffers severe headaches and memory loss that spell the end of his career.
  1. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (eBook available on Overdrive)
    1. Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people … In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance — and Papi’s secrets — the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
  1. The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita L. Hubbard
    1. Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation’s oldest student who did just that, in this picture book from a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a rising star author.
  1. Stamped : racism, antiracism, and you by Jason Reynolds (eBook available on Overdrive)
    1. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
  1. Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson (eBook available on Overdrive)
    1. The Hart family of Portland, Oregon, faces many setbacks after Ryan’s father loses his job, but no matter what, Ryan tries to bring sunshine to her loved ones.
  1. When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson (eBook available on Overdrive)
    1. Omar and his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp, and when an opportunity for Omar to get an education comes along, he must decide between going to school every day or caring for his nonverbal brother in this intimate and touching portrayal of family and daily life in a refugee camp.

However, people are more than their trauma, and it’s important for children to see themselves represented in positive ways. Here are some books currently on order that celebrate their joy and power:

  1. All Because You Matter by Tami Charles
    1. A lyrical, heart-lifting love letter to Black and Brown children everywhere reminds them how much they matter, that they have always mattered and they always will.
  1. Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
    1. “A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on”– Provided by publisher. Includes historical and cultural notes, song list, and two poems.
  1. I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
    1. The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through–as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you–and shows you–who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!
  1. ¡Vamos! Let’s go eat! by Raul the Third
    1. Little Lobo, a Mexican American, and Bernabé, his dog, gather tacos, frutas picadas, cuernos, and more and deliver them to los luchadores preparing for Lucha Libre 5000.
  1. The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney
    1. Legendary artist Jerry Pinkney’s singular reinvention of this tale about love and sacrifice empowers young, twenty-first century girls with the strong message that “you should never give up your voice . . . for anyone .”

Don’t see the book you want on this list? Never fear! All the books on the CSMCL list are available through Interlibrary loan and most are available as eBooks or audiobooks on Overdrive and Hoopla as well. Let us know which books on the list are your favorites. Happy reading!

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