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Multicultural Reading List for Children and Award/Recommendation Lists for Diverse Children's Books


The Library of Michigan is pleased to present this reading list of award-winning and highly-recommended, multi-cultural and diverse children's books. Titles in this list were chosen to provide readers a broad and up-to-date selection during quickly changing times.  As much as possible, these books reflect the current breadth of children's literature in our multi-cultural society. 

The Library of Michigan's recommendations focus on specific book titles (rather than the corpus of works by a specific author or illustrator), recent and current titles, and a broad assortment of awards and recommendations that gives a fuller view of the great diversity of current children's literature.

Michigan State University's list of award and recommendation programs for diverse children's literature ( provided a helpful guide in the search for the books that are listed below. Many of these are not included in the Library of Michigan's collections. To request specific titles from other Michigan libraries, use the MeLCat catalog available at

Awards and recommendation lists represented below include

Amelia Bloomer Award The Amelia Bloomer Project, a committee of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table, compiles the Amelia Bloomer List, an annual annotated book list (or bibliography) of well-written and well-illustrated books with significant feminist content, intended for young readers (ages birth through 18).

American Indian Youth Literature Award This award is given by the American Indian Library Association.  Awarded biennially, the AIYLA identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America. Books selected to receive the award present Indigenous North American peoples in the fullness of their humanity

Américas Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature The Américas Award recognizes U.S. published children's and young adult books that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.

Arab-American Book Award The Arab American Book Awards is a literary program created to honor books written by and about Arab Americans. The program generates greater awareness of Arab American scholarship and writing through an annual award competition and educational outreach.

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), an affiliate of the American Library Association, awards books that promote Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage based on their literary and artistic merit.

Coretta Scott King Book Awards (African-American) The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

Ezra Jack Keats Award The EJK Award is given annually to an outstanding new writer and new illustrator by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

John Steptoe New Talent Award (African-American) The John Steptoe New Talent Award is established to affirm new talent and to offer visibility to excellence in writing and/or illustration which otherwise might be formally unacknowledged within a given year within the structure of the two awards given annually by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee.

Lambda Literary Award (LGBTQ) For over 30 years, the Lambda Literary Awards have identified and honored the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender books.

The Pura Belpré Award (Latino) The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking ( REFORMA), an ALA affiliate.

Schneider Family Book Awards (Disability) The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Sydney Taylor Book Awards (Jewish) The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.


Cherry, Matthew. Hair Love.  Amelia Bloomer Book List

Child, Brenda J. Bowwow Powwow: Bagosenjige-niimi'idim.  American Indian Youth Literature Award

Corrin, Ashleigh (illustrator) and Tallie, Mariahadessa Ekere (author).  Layla's Happiness. Ezra Jack Keats Award for Illustrator and Writer Honor

Farina, Matthew. Lawrence in the Fall. Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor and Illustrator Honor

Flett, Julie. Birdsong. American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Gale, Heather. Ho'onani: Hula Warrior. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Gibbons, Janine. Raven makes the Aleuthians. American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Kensky, Jessica. Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship. Schneider Family Book Award

Kotb, Hoda. I've Loved You Since Forever. Arab-American Book Award

Levy, Debbie.  The Key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and Her Music. Sydney Taylor Picture Book Honor

Love, Jessica. Jullian is a Mermaid. Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children's and Young Adult Literature Award

Macy, Sue.  The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come. Sydney Taylor Book Award

Maillard, Kevin Noble. Fry Bread: A Native American Story. American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Muhammad, Ibtihaj. The Proudest Blue. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Murphy, Frank. A Boy Like You. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Newman, Leslea. Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story. Sydney Taylor Picture Book Honor

Oliveros, Jessie.  Remember Balloons. Schneider Family Book Award

Robeson, Teresa. Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom. Asian/Pacific American Picture Book Award

Saeed, Aisha. Bilal Cooks Daal. Asian/Pacific American Picture Book Honor

Smith, Sydney, Small in the City. Ezra Jack Keats Award

Sorell, Traci. At the Mountain's Base. Amelia Bloomer Book List, American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Sorell, Traci. We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga. American Indian Youth Literature Honor


Alexander, Kwame. The Undefeated. Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner

Argueta, Jorge. Fuego Fuegito/ Fire, Little Fire/ Tit, Titchin. Américas Award Commended Title

Barton, Chris. What Do You Do with a Voice like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Carballido, José. Titanosaur. Américas Award Honorable Mention Title

Charles, Tami.  Freedom Soup. Américas Award Honorable Mention Title

Denise, Anika Aldamuy. Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré. Américas Award Commended Title

Duncan, Alice Faye. A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Gonzales, Debbie. Girls with Guts! The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Hegedus, Bethany. Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Kim, Patti. I'm OK. Asian/Pacific American Award for Children's Literature Honor Title

Maraniss, Andrew. Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany. Sydney Taylor Book Honor

Palacio, R.J., White Bird: A Wonder Story. Sydney Taylor Book Award

Pasternack, Sofiya. Anya and the Dragon. Sydney Taylor Book Honor

Perkins, Mitali. Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border. Américas Award Winner

Quintero, Isabel (author) and Peña, Zeke (illustrator). My Papi has a Motorcycle. Américas Award Honorable Mention and Ezra Jack Keats Illustrator Honor

Read, Kate (author and illustrator). One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller. Ezra Jack Keats Illustrator Honor

de Regil, Tania.  A New Home. Américas Award Commended Title

Tapper, Alice Paul. Raise Your Hand. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Véissid, Jacqueline. Ruby's Sword. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Vilela, Fernando. Along the Tapajós. Américas Award Commended Title

Wan, Joyce. Dream Big. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Wang, Jen. Stargazing. Asian/Pacific American Award for Youth Literature

Middle School

Argueta, Jorge. Caravan to the North. Américas Award Commended Title

Balcárcel, Rebecca. The Other Half of Happy. Américas Award Honorable Mention Title

Bigelow, Lisa Jenn.  Hazel's Theory of Evolution. Lambda Literary Award

Callender, Kacen. Hurricane Child. Lambda Literary Award and Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children's and Young Adult Literature Award

Connor, Leslie. Truth as Told by Mason Buttle. Schneider Family Book Award

Craft, Jerry.  New Kid. Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Daud, Somaiya. Mirage. Arab-American Book Award

Day, Christine. I Can Make this Promise. American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Gyetxw, Hetxw'ms. Grizzly Mother. American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Hale, Shannon. Best Friends Amelia Bloomer Book List

Johnston, Tony. Beast Rider. Américas Award Winner

Kadarusman, Michelle. Girl of the Southern Sea Amelia Bloomer Book List

McManis, Charlene Willing with Traci Sorrell. Indian No More. Amelia Bloomer Book List, American Indian Youth Literature Award

O'Brien, Keith. Fly Girls Young Readers' Edition: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History Amelia Bloomer Book List

Ramée, Lisa Moore. A Good Kind of Trouble Amelia Bloomer Book List

Salazar, Aida.  The Moon Within. Américas Award Honorable Mention

Takei, George. They Called Us Enemy. Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

Villalobos, Juan Pablos. The Other Side: Stories fo Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border. Américas Award Commended Title

West, Jacqueline. The Collectors. Schneider Family Book Award

Williams, Alicia D. Genesis Begins Again. Coretta Scott King Book Awards John Steptoe Award for New Talent Author

High School/YA

Acevedo, Elizabeth. With The Fire on High. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Halse Anderson, Laurie. Shout. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Carlton, Susan Kaplan. In the Neighborhood of True.  Amelia Bloomer Book List

Courtney, Nadine Jolie. All-American Muslim Girl. Amelia Bloomer Book List

Dewoskin, Rachel. Someday We Will Fly. Sydney Taylor Book Award

Fleming, Melissa. The Journey of Doaa Al Zamel: One Teen Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival. Amelia Bloomer Book

Jensen, Kelly. (Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health. Schneider Family Book Award

Johnston, Angela Hovak. Reawakening Our Ancestors' Lines: Revitalizing Inuit Traditional Tattooing. American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Khan, Sabina. The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali. Amelia Bloomer Book List Amelia Bloomer Book List

Lemay, Kate Clarke, ed. Votes for Women!: A Portrait of Persistence Amelia Bloomer Book

Moskowitz, Hannah. Sick Kids in Love. Sydney Taylor Book Honor

Ortiz, Victoria.  Dissenter on the Bench. Sydney Taylor Book Honor

Oshiro, Mark. Anger is a Gift. Schneider Family Book Award

Quigley, Dawn. Apple in the Middle. American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Reese, Debbie. An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People. American Indian Youth Literature Honor

Silverstein, Karol Ruth. Cursed. Schneider Family Book Award

Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Hearts Unbroken. American Indian Youth Literature Award

Spillet, Tasha. Surviving the City. American Indian Youth Literature Award

Villasante, Alexandra. The Grief Keeper. Lambda Literary Award

Yoon, David. Frankly in Love. Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

Updated: 10/2/2020