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Recommended Books for Children

Children’s literature provides both mirrors and windows for readers. Some books are mirrors, reflecting children’s experiences, feelings, and cultures. Other books are windows, giving children an opportunity to see the world through others’ eyes. Reading books that reflect our diverse population enhances children’s social and emotional development, especially the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others. For additional book recommendations, see Book Lists.

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Recognizing & naming your emotions; having confidence and optimism


Anna Hibiscus’ Song, by Atinuke
The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz
A Gift from Papá Diego/Un regalo de Papá Diego, by Benjamin Alire Saenez
How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods, by Saxton Freymann
In My Family/En mi familia, by Carmen Lomas Garza
I Love My Hair, by Natasha Anatasia Tarpley
Looking Like Me, by Walter Dean Myers
Lots of Feelings, by Shelley Rotner
Mama’s Sari’s, by Pooja Makhijani
Meet Danitra Brown, by Nikki Grimes
My Cold Plum, Lemon Pie, Bluesy Mood, by Tameka Fryer Brown
The Three Names of Me, by Mary Cummings
The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain
Too Many Tamales, by Gary Soto
Yesterday I Had the Blues, by Jeron Ashford Frame


Managing emotions and behaviors; working toward personal goals


Big Red Lollipop, by Rhuksana Khan
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson (Novel)
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret, by Florence Parry Heide
Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Novel)
Grump, Groan, Growl, by Bell Hooks
The Heart of a Chief, by Joseph Bruchac (Novel)
Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream For Me, by Daniel Beaty
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
Little Melba and her Trombone, by Katheryn Russell-Brown
Mouse Was Mad, by Linda Urban
My Name is María Isabel, by Alma Flor Ada (Chapter book)
The Quiet Place, by Sarah Stewart
Rickshaw Girl, by Mitali Perkins (Chapter book)
Serafina’s Promise, by Ann E. Burg (Novel in verse)
Sky Sisters, by Jan Boudreau Waboose
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo, by Rachel Vail
Twist: Yoga Poems, by Janet Wong
Upside Down Boy/El niño de cabeza, by Juan Felipe Herrara

Social Awareness

Ability to take perspective of and empathize with others


Amelia’s Road, by Linda Jacob Altman
Back of the Bus, by Aaron Reynolds
The Colour of Home, by Mary Hoffman
Deep in the Sahara, by Kelly Cunnane
Halmoni’s Picnic, by Sook Nyul Choi
Here I Am, by Patti Kim
I Lost My Tooth in Africa, by Penda Diakité
I Love Saturdays y domingos, by Alma Flor Ada
Indian Shoes, by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Short Stories)
Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai (Novel in verse)
Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña
Mama's Nightingale, by Edward Danticat
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match; Marisol McDonald No Combina, by Monica Brown
Mirror, by Jeannie Baker
Muskrat will be Swimming, by Cheryl Savageau
My Name is Yoon, by Helen Recorvits
My Two Blankets, by Irena Kobald
Nadia’s Hands, by Karen English
New Shoes, by Susan Myer
One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams Garcia (Novel)
Rain School, by James Rumford
Same, Same, But Different, by Jenny Sue Kostecki Shaw
Shades of People, by Shelly Rotner
Skin Again, by Bell Hooks
Suki’s Kimono, by Chieri Uekagi
Take Me Out to the Yakyu, by Aaron Meshon
The Ugly Vegetables, by Grace Lin
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Relationship Skills

Building & maintaining positive relationships


Across the Alley, by Richard Michelson
Crossing Bok Chitto, by Tim Tingle
Danitra Brown Leaves Town, by Nikki Grimes
Dear Whiskers, by Ann Whitehead Nagda (Chapter book)
Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson
Extra Credit, by Andrew Clements (Novel)
Four Feet, Two Sandals, by Karen Williams
A Friendship for Today, by Patricia McKissack (Novel)
Grandfather Counts, by Andrea Cheng
Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, by Nikki Grimes
Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret, by Lynn Reiser
Matthew and Tilly, by Rebecca Jones
My Name is Sangoel, by Karen Williams and Khadra Mohammed
My Name is Bilal, by Asma Mobin-Uddin
My Way: A mi manera, by Lynn Reiser
Pink and Say, by Patricia Polacco
Sitti’s Secret, by Naomi Shihab Nye
Sumi’s First Day of School Ever, by Soyung Pak
The Name Jar , by Yangsook Choi
The Other Side
, by Jacqueline Woodson
Yo! Yes?
, by Chris Raschka

Responsible Decision-Making

Making decisions considering the well-being of self and others


Baseball Saved Us, by Ken Mochizuki
A Chair for my Mother, by Vera B. Williams
Crow Boy, by Taro Yashima
First Day in Grapes, by L. King Perez
Freedom Summer, by Deborah Wiles
Grandmama’s Pride, by Becky Birtha
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, by Kathleen Krull
King for a Day, by Rhuksana Khan
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, by Gary D. Schmidt (Novel)
A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park (Novel)
Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice, by Sylvia Rosa-Casanova
My Heart Will Not Sit Down, by Mara Rockcliff
Nasreen’s Secret School, by Jeannette Winter
New Shoes, by Susan Meyer
One, by Kathryn Otoshi
One Hen, by Katie Smith Milway
Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni
Sam and the Lucky Money, by Karen Chinn
Say Something, by Peggy Moss
Teammates, by Peter Golenbock
Unspoken, by Henry Cole
Wings, by Christopher Myers

Additional Book Lists