Dive Into Diversity: Black History Month for Grades 4-6

White Plains is a wonderfully diverse community! Parents, children and teens have expressed an interest in titles that reflect the diversity in the community, and Ashley, Kathlyn, and Raquel's “Dive Into Diversity” column will spotlight noteworthy children's and teen titles that are inclusive, diverse and multicultural to fulfill that interest. Ashley's portion is aimed at readers in grades 4-6.

Author and educator Zetta Elliott put together this incredible list of middle grade and young adult books published in 2019 by black authors. Below are a bunch of them that I’m especially looking forward to reading!

New Kid by Jerry Craft
Winner of the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award.
For children in grades 3-7.
“Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.”–Kirkus Reviews

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
Winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award, selected as a Newbery Honor, and a finalist for the William C. Morris Award.
For children in grades 4-8.
“Thirteen-year-old Genesis Anderson is a black girl who has been dealt a heavy hand in life…Genesis hates her circumstances, and even more, she hates the skin she’s in…With smooth and engrossing prose, debut novelist Williams takes readers through an emotional, painful, yet still hopeful adolescent journey.”–Kirkus Reviews

How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons
For children in grades 3-7.
“Ella, a young African American girl, lives with her grandparents and cousins in 1944 segregated South Carolina but dreams of living with her glamorous, jazz-singing mother in Boston. When she finally receives an invitation to spend Christmas with her mom, Ella is awed to see that Boston isn’t segregated…Ella and her family are well-drawn characters who navigate the realities of racism while still finding love and acceptance within their community.”–School Library Journal

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
For children in grades 3-7.
“Twelve-year-old Shayla finds herself in trouble when she wears a Black Lives Matter armband, which violates her school’s dress code…Trouble follows, bringing with it important lessons about friendship and courage. Awkward, endearing, and memorable, Shayla navigates the world of middle school and the troubled world beyond with wit and endless heart. A timely, funny, and unforgettable debut about friendship, facing your fears, and standing up for what’s right.”–Kirkus Reviews

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles and illustrated by Dapo Adeola
For children in grades 3-7.
“In his debut middle-grade novel Giles (a founding member of We Need Diverse Books) presents a page-turning magical fantasy adventure with broad appeal in which his protagonists must use their considerable talents to save not only their town but also themselves.” –The Horn Book Magazine

Just South of Home by Karen Strong
For children in grades 3-7.
“Sarah was supposed to spend a quiet summer with her little brother Ellis, but once Janie steals a trinket from the burned-down ruins of Creek Church, they unknowingly disturb the spirits resting there and come to find out more about the town's unsettling racist history. Now they must come together as a family to heal the restless ghosts, called haints, that they have unleashed onto the town…Strong's prose presents a world so real readers will feel the warm Georgia breeze, or the haints' chilling breath down your neck.”–School Library Journal

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, and Kids.

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