Books by Theme
Friendship, Family, and Culture
A Place at the Table
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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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