Books by Theme

Friendship, Family, and Culture

A Place at the Table

A Place at the Table

By: Saadia Faruqi, Laura Shovan
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Two girls from very different backgrounds each struggle with different issues. But Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, whose mother is British and father American, come together in a cooking class. There they discover friendship and more revealed from both girls’ perspectives.

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

By: Angela Johnson
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
Genre: Poetry, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This story, written in free-verse poetry, begins with one Texas family learning about their freedom, leaving the sweltering cotton fields, and going to celebrate with a whole community on a cool beach at night. Beautiful watercolor illustrations and extra historical information at the end.

Bigmama’s

By: Donald Crews
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Every year the narrator and his family take a trip down to Cottondale, Florida, to visit his grandmother, Bigmama. This autobiographical story recalls the joys of summer and the contrast between the author's life in the city and Bigmama’s lush, rural home. While the illustrations suggest it was a period of segregation, this thought never overpowers the carefree summer celebration.

Bowwow Powwow

By: Brenda J. Child, Gordon Jourdain
Illustrated by: Jonathan Thunder
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When Uncle and Windy Girl and Itchy Boy attend a powwow, Windy watches the dancers in their jingle dresses and listens to the singers. She eats tasty food and joins family and friends around the campfire. Later, Windy falls asleep under the stars. Now Uncle's stories inspire other visions in her head: a bowwow powwow, where all the dancers are dogs. This playful story is accompanied by a companion retelling in Ojibwe.

From My Window

By: Otavio Júnior
Illustrated by: Vanina Starkoff
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

From the window in his favela, the narrator shares what he sees: neighbors working, playing, the changing weather, and more. Based on the author’s experience growing up in Brazil, everyday experiences are illustrated in a colorful, naïve, folk style. 

Measuring Up book cover

Measuring Up

By: Lily LaMotte
Illustrated by: Ann Xu
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Can winning a cooking contest allow 12-year-old Cici to bring her Taiwanese grandmother to the U.S. for her 70th birthday? Will it interfere with her parents’ inviolable motto of “good grades, good college, good job”? Readers are sure to see themselves and their families in this engaging graphic portrait of an immigrant family and an aspiring chef who is bridging two cultures.

Prairie Lotus

By: Linda Sue Park
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

After the death of Hanna’s mother, she and her father head to the Dakota Territory looking to start anew. But can a girl with a Chinese mother and a white father overcome the odds against them? The Newbery Medalist again presents rich historical fiction with an afterword that describes the genesis of this powerful story.

Show Way

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: Hudson Talbott
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Soonie's great grandmother was only seven-years-old when sold to the big plantation. A quilt that showed the way to freedom and chronicled the family's history connects the generations, and continues to do so. Idealized illustrations and the poetic text provide an unusual family story.

The All-Together Quilt

By: Lizzy Rockwell
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Inspired by the Norwalk Community Quilt Project, this fictionalized account shows how a group of young and old come together to create a quilt for the library. The author/illustrator’s signature style is effective in presenting the step by step process. A final note and photograph of Peace by Piece participants concludes this uplifting book.

The Heart of Mi Familia

The Heart of Mi Familia

By: Carrie Lara
Illustrated by: Christine Battuz
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In the young narrator’s home, “two worlds become one.” Her family is “a mix of dos cultures…”, one Spanish speaking, the other English. Together the family joyfully prepares to celebrate a birthday. Colorful, child-like illustrations and a straightforward narration present a bicultural family.

This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s history.

Watercress

Watercress

By: Andrea Wang
Illustrated by: Jason Chin
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A child is embarrassed when parents stop the car to harvest wild watercress. Illustrations in sepia, however, show why this is such an emotional moment for the Chinese American family as it recalls an earlier time. Inspired text and stunningly detailed watercolors provide insight into one family’s history and a glimpse of their life before coming to the United States.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

By: Traci Sorell
Illustrated by: Frané Lessac
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Join the Cherokee people as they celebrate each season of the year and special occasions, as well as the daily activities for which gratitude is expressed. Bold hues and flat forms distinguish the naïve illustrations. Cherokee words, based on Sequoyah’s syllabary (written symbols for syllables), are sprinkled throughout. Additional information concludes this handsome and unique glimpse of contemporary Native life written by a Cherokee poet.

When Lola Visits

By: Michelle Sterling
Illustrated by: Aaron Asis
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

What does summer smell like? How does it taste? When Lola arrives from the Philippines, so does summer and with it, the joy of a family reunited with their grandmother. Loose lines and rich color combine with a text to evoke the sights and sounds of a warm summer with a warm family.

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