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Diverse Books For All Ages

A great selection of books for families, educators, and the community

  • Helping Kids Rise

The Gigantic List of Diverse Books Published September 2022 (+ Free Printable)


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Fall has come in bringing an impressive number of diverse children's books. There are books that represent a variety of communities and cultures. On this list you'll find debut picture books, new chapter book series, and some middle grade books too. This resource list is a labor of love that includes publisher's descriptions along with links for more information.


Related Reading: Gigantic List of Diverse Books Published October 2022


This list doesn't include all of the books publishing September 2022. These are the books on our radar that were submitted by publishers, authors, and the Helping Kids Rise community. If you notice a book that fits our mission that is not featured here, please send us an email to let us know. We'll be happy to update this list to include them.



 


Books Published September 6, 2022

Updated as we receive submissions



From New York Times bestselling author Tami Charles and rising star illustrator Sharon Sordo comes the second book in a charming picture book series about a fun, spunky girl with strong opinions, big ideas, and a huge heart!

Zuri Ray is back! And this time, she's got a party to plan. With summer coming to an end, a backyard bash is an absolute must, and Zuri's not letting her parents' questionable tastes anywhere near the details. The food, the decorations, the entertainment--everything has to be perfect. Good thing her friends are ready to help!

But when the party doesn't go exactly according to plan, will Zuri be able to let loose and improvise? Or will the chaos be too much to handle?

Perfect for fans of Fancy Nancy and Fresh Princess, Zuri Ray and the Backyard Bash highlights how much fun can be had even when plans fall apart.





Sukkot is Shoshi's favorite Jewish holiday. She and her brothers love to decorate their sukkah, the hut where her family will celebrate. But who will win the Ugandan Abayudaya community's annual sukkah contest? While only one sukkah can be the best, everybody wins when neighbors work together.









How do we move our country forward? Stacey Abrams has an answer in this bright and stirring biography, perfect for discussions of voting rights and how people working together can make a difference.

Stacey Abrams is the daughter of two civil-rights activists. She loved going into the voting booth with her parents on Election Day, knowing that their voices mattered. She loved school, even when she was the only Black student in her gifted classes. She loved her classmates at Spelman College -- a historically Black institution -- and worked hard to see they received the fair treatment they deserved.

And today, she brings all those experiences to her role as politician, author, and voting-rights advocate, helping to ensure that every person has a say and every vote gets counted. Stacey Abrams: Lift Every Voice follows Stacey's life from her girlhood to the present, but it also portrays the ordinary people that Stacey fights for -- the beautiful and diverse America that shows up to stand with one another. Backmatter includes a timeline of changes in US voting-rights law from the Constitution through the present day, demonstrating both how far the country has come and how far we have to go. With its spirited text and vivid illustrations, Stacey Abrams: Lift Every Voice will inspire readers to take their own steps forward.




From Daniel Bernstrom, the acclaimed author of One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, comes a charming and irresistibly fun picture book about a young blind girl and her grandmother who experience the vibrant everyday music of their busy city.

A young girl, filled with the sounds of her beloved city, shares a song with her grandmother that changes the two forever. After helping Grandma realize that the city makes music as beautiful as the sounds they hear in church on Sunday morning, the two sit down and take in all the sounds of the city...together.

Song in the City bridges the gap between generations of music and family, while centering love, understanding, and joy.




Step inside the magical world of Little Santa's Workshop!


Shining bright from above. Hot cocoa and so much love.

Santa's workshop is lots of fun. HoHoHome to everyone!

Discover the magical world of Little Santa's Workshop! Step inside the toy workshop, feed candy canes to the reindeer, and taste a sugary sweet in the kitchen. Full of joy and good vibes, Lala Watkins' bright illustrations are completely charming and totally irresistible. So pack your snow boots and travel to the North Pole, and get ready to fall in love with the whimsical, magical world of Little Santa's Workshop!

The first book in a new series from author-illustrator Lala Watkins, bringing joy and sunshine to babies and toddlers!




Ruby Bridges tells her story as never before and shares the events of the momentous day in 1960 when Ruby became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Franz Elementary as a six year old little girl -- a personal and intimate look through a child's lens at a landmark moment in our Civil Rights history.


My work will be precious.

I will bridge the gap between Black & white...

...and hopefully all people!

I suppose some things in life are just meant to be.

When Ruby Bridges was six years old, she became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Frantz Elementary in Louisiana. Based on the pivotal events that happened in 1960 and told from her point of view, this is a poetic reflection on her experience that changed the face of history and the trajectory of the Civil Rights movement.

I Am Ruby Bridges offers hope and confidence to all children. It is the perfect learning tool for schools and libraries to teach the story of Ruby Bridges and introduce this landmark story to young readers in a powerful new way. This story of innocence and courage is brought to life by NAACP-nominated artist, Nikkolas Smith through stunning and breath-taking illustrations. Embracing the meaning of her name, Bridges reflects with poignancy and heart on the way one brave little girl stood proud to help build a bridge between all people and pave the path for future generations.



Nikki Grimes, Coretta Scott King Award winning author, and acclaimed illustrator Elizabeth Zunon's latest children's masterpiece is a whimsical adventure and rollicking celebration of playtime fun.

Time to get to work, little one, I tell you.

What work? you ask.

Like always,

you pretend not to understand.

Your job is called Play, I say.

Mom needs to wake up her child whose job is to play. From dancing in puddles to jumping in leaves, and swinging high enough to almost reach the sun, there's so much to do in a fun-filled day.

For those seeking children's books about diversity, this loving depiction of everyday shenanigans is sure to become a story time favorite. Playtime for Restless Rascals is an African American children's book that celebrates imagination, playful moments, and the love between parents and child.




Mary had a little plan

that sprouted on the spot.

It all began the day she passed

a drab, abandoned lot.


Fashion-forward Mary is known for adding flair everywhere she goes. When she spots an abandoned lot in her neighborhood, Mary knows she can use her stylish talent to spruce it up. Soon she's rallying neighborhood shops and calling on her friends to help. With Mary leading the way, this group carries out her little plan that has a big impact on her community!


"Pinkalicious + Fancy Nancy + Eloise = Mary, the diminutive, precocious, brown-skinned queen of glam."--Kirkus Reviews (starred) on Mary Had a Little Glam



Count along in celebration of Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, in this luminous picture book from bestselling mother-son duo Surishtha and Kabir Sehgal.


Count up to ten and back down again to the tune of "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" while learning about the traditions that make Diwali a fun-filled festival! Celebrated during autumn harvest, Diwali symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. From sweet treats to intricate henna designs to exciting firework displays, kids will delight in this vibrant glimpse into the Festival of Lights.




From beloved African American folklorist Zora Neale Hurston comes a moving adaptation by National Book Award winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi. Magnolia Flower follows a young Afro Indigenous girl who longs for freedom and is gorgeously illustrated by Loveis Wise (The People Remember, Ablaze with Color).

Born to parents who fled slavery and the Trail of Tears, Magnolia Flower is a girl with a vibrant spirit. Not to be deterred by rigid ways of the world, she longs to connect with others, who too long for freedom. She finds this in a young man of letters who her father disapproves of. In her quest to be free, Magnolia must make a choice and set off on a journey that will prove just how brave one can be when leading with one's heart.

The acclaimed writer of several American classics, Zora Neale Hurston wrote this stirring folktale brimming with poetic prose, culture, and history. It was first published as a short story in The Spokesman in 1925 and later in her collection Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick (2020).

Tenderly retold by #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi, Magnolia Flower is a story of a transformative and radical devotion between generations of Indigenous and Black people in America. With breathtaking illustrations by Loveis Wise, this picture book reminds us that there is no force strong enough to stop love.



The award-winning team who brought us MY BROTHER CHARLIE present a companion book that celebrates the power of water for those who have autism.


Like many kids on the autism spectrum, Charlie finds solace and empowerment in pools, ponds, sprinklers, visiting the aquarium, and swimming in the ocean. Through his adventures and discoveries, he shows the world that even though he has autism, autism doesn't have him.


In this beautiful ode to the love between siblings Callie and Charlie, we return to the characters from our award-winning book MY BROTHER CHARLIE, who bring whimsy to everyday fun for all children, while showing readers that kids who may experience the world in different ways can help us see the wonders of swimming to your own rhythm.





Four-time NBA champion and superstar Stephen Curry makes a splash with his picture book debut inspiring young readers to unlock their very own superpower.


A positive boost from a strong role model. --Kirkus


With accessible advice honoring commitment to craft and fortitude, this is a sporty and strong addition to growth-mindset and social-emotional-learning conversations. --Booklist


Stephen Curry's journey to the NBA wasn't easy. Coaches and recruiters repeatedly told him he was too small to make it in the big leagues. But Stephen used their doubts to shape his ever-positive attitude and fuel his own underdog success story. Now, Curry pens an original story to inspire the next generation of go-getters and big dreamers.


I Have a Superpower is the empowering story that teaches kids you don't have to be the strongest, fastest, or even tallest kid out on the court. So long as you have heart, any goal is achievable through hard work and determination--even without a cape!






A little girl helping her grandmother prepare a holiday meal learns about the origins of soul food in this powerful picture book that celebrates African American cuisine and identity from an award-winning author.


Know what I like most about Grandma's kitchen?

More than jambalaya? More than sweet potato pie? Even more than pralines?

Grandma's stories! Every meal Grandma cooks comes with a story.

What will today's story be?


While visiting her grandma in Louisiana, nine-year-old Frances is excited to help prepare the New Year's Day meal. She listens as Grandma tells stories--dating back to the Atlantic Slave Trade--about the food for their feast. Through these stories, Frances learns not only about the ingredients and the dishes they are making but about her ancestors and their history as well.


A celebration of the stories that connect us, this picture book urges us to think about the foods we eat and why we eat them. This book was inspired by the author's own childhood and includes her family's very own recipe for pralines in the back!







The third book in a nonfiction early-reader series based on the new Ada Twist, Scientist Netflix show!


How does a cake bake? What's the difference between baking soda and baking powder? And why is it so important to measure the different ingredients in a recipe?


Ada Twist, Scientist: The Why Files is the perfect nonfiction resource for all these questions and more. Based on the bestselling series and the new Netflix show, this nonfiction series is perfect for the youngest scientists of tomorrow, as they learn along with Ada. Designed in a scrapbook format, these books combine art from the show, illustrations, and photography to bring simple science concepts to life.








From actor, producer, and comedian Kel Mitchell of Nickelodeon's All That and the film Good Burger, this laugh-aloud novel for kids follows Chase as he masterminds a series of epic pranks only to discover that they've all become real on April 2nd. When his tricks become reality in hilarious and disastrous ways, Chase must come clean. How will he set the world right again, catch the eye of his crush Zoe, and keep her from getting flattened by the refrigerator running all over town?

This comedy-fantasy adventure

  • is full of wackiness, mayhem, and laugh-out loud moments

  • teaches the value of taking responsibility for your actions and telling the truth

  • blends realistic fiction with fantasy

  • features comic-style illustrations in every chapter

  • celebrates the value of friendship, family, and good teachers in your life

  • features a diverse cast of characters

This novel will keep middle graders entertained with its fast pace, fantastical chaos, and hilarious tricks. If you've ever dreamed of pranking the world with toilet clowns and spider drones, this book is for you.





Lay Lay -- the latest teen music sensation and Nickelodeon's newest star -- stars in this brand-new illustrated chapter book series!


Ever since her freestyle rapping video went viral, Lay Lay has been adjusting to her newfound fame. She loves the spotlight, but she's also just a normal kid who likes to hang out with her friends. When her middle school announces its upcoming talent show, Lay Lay and her squad are excited to sign up together. They know they can each bring something special to it--they could even win! But everyone at school assumes that only Lay Lay will be the star. Lay Lay hates that her crew has been pushed to the sidelines since she got famous. Can she make sure that everyone gets a chance to shine during the big show? Don't miss this totally original story starring That Girl Lay Lay!





All the awwws of animal adoption stories are combined with sugary sweetness in this new, fun-filled chapter book series about a cat café!


Every home needs a cat!


Kira Parker lives above The Purrfect Cup, the cat café that her family owns and runs. But this weekend, Mama and Dad are taking a "much needed vacation," which means that Granny is coming to visit! Mama puts Granny in charge, but Kira's got so many GREAT IDEAS to make her cat friends and customers happy. So when Granny gives her the okay to take control, it's Kira's moment to make The Purrfect Cup extra purrfect.


But between a new, overly-energetic cat and a line of customers that never seems to end, running the café is harder than it looks! Will Kira be able to run everything smoothly . . . or will this weekend be a total cat-astrophe?





 


Books Published September 13, 2022

Updated as we receive submissions



In her debut picture book, professional Indigenous dancer Ria Thundercloud tells the true story of her path to dance and how it helped her take pride in her Native American heritage.


At four years old, Ria Thundercloud was brought into the powwow circle, ready to dance in the special jingle dress her mother made for her. As she grew up, she danced with her brothers all over Indian country. Then Ria learned more styles--tap, jazz, ballet--but still loved the expressiveness of Indigenous dance. And despite feeling different as one of the only Native American kids in her school, she always knew she could turn to dance to cheer herself up.


Follow along as Ria shares her dance journey--from dreaming of her future to performing as a professional--accompanied by striking illustrations that depict it while bringing her graceful movements to life.




Poignant words from award-winning Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith about all the hopes adults have for the young people in their lives.

The hopes we have for the children in our lives are endless. We want our young people to thrive and experience all that life has to offer, but we also feel protective of them. Using simple but powerful statements, Monique Gray Smith delivers a touching message about loving, nurturing and wishing the best for our children. Paired with Gabrielle Grimard's warm and enchanting illustrations, the message in I Hope will resonate with all parents, grandparents and caregivers.



When Estela Juarez's mom is deported to Mexico, Estela knows she has to speak up for her family. Told in Estela's own words, Until Someone Listens is a true story about a young girl finding her voice and using it to make change.


Estela's family lives together in a happy home full of love. Or, at least, they used to... until their home was torn apart.


My mom had to go back,

to the other side of the river,

because she wasn't born in this country.


For years her family fought and fought for permission for her to stay in the U.S. But no one listened. When Estela was eight, her mother was deported to Mexico. Estela knew she had to do something. So she wrote letters: to local newspapers, Congress, the President, and anyone else who could help. She wrote and wrote and wrote until, finally... someone listened.


In this heart wrenching, autobiographical story, Estela Juarez's letters take her from the local news all the way to the national stage, where she discovers the power in her words and pledges to keep using her voice until her family--and others like hers-- are together again. Also available in Spanish as Hasta que alguien me escuche!



This emotional and honest picture book explores a racist encounter from the perspective of a young Black boy, while offering a message of unconditional love and acceptance to soothe the pain of blind prejudice.

In this story based on the author's childhood, a young Black boy confronts his first experience of overt racism. In recounting the events to his grandfather, the young narrator asks: "How can she hate me when she doesn't know me?" Grandpa offers wisdom and encouragement to the child, reminding him that another person's hate does not change the fact that he is loved and that he matters. While offering an unflinching look at the emotional impact of the encounter, Tyler Merritt presents a message of love and acceptance that will resonate with young readers and offer a starting point for conversations about racial equality between parent or caregiver and child.




A Geisel Honor-winning series! Author Kelly Starling Lyons selected as the 2021 Piedmont Laureate!

Join Ty on his imaginative adventures in Ty's Travels: Winter Wonderland, a My First I Can Read book by acclaimed author and illustrator team Kelly Starling Lyons and Nina Mata. Imagination and play are highlighted in this festive Winter story, perfect for sharing with children 3 to 6.

Ty's big imagination takes him and Momma on a trip to the North Pole. Everything is wonderful! A Christmas tree sparkles, a snowman waves, and a polar bear sings. Will Ty's wish to see Santa come true? He wishes and wishes.

Ty's Travels: Winter Wonderland fills an important need for inclusive Christmas stories with diverse characters.

With simple, rhythmic text and joyful, bright art, this My First series and Guided Reading Level I is perfect for shared reading with a child. Books at this level feature basic language, word repetition, and whimsical illustrations, ideal for sharing with emergent readers. The active, engaging stories have appealing plots and lovable characters, encouraging children to continue their reading journey.




Discover how a young girl who loved to read and write became a voting rights activist, a candidate for governor of Georgia, and an author in this exciting addition to the Who HQ Now series that features newsmakers and trending topics.


Stacey Abrams began her career in politics at the age of seventeen when she was hired as a typist for a congressional campaign. From there, she worked hard to get into Yale law school and, eventually, was elected into the House of Representatives. In 2018, she became the first Black woman in the United States to be a major party's nominee for governor when she was selected as the Democratic candidate. Although she didn't win that race, she decided to run again in 2022, proving that she never backs down from a challenge. Stacey made it her mission to help ensure that all people who are eligible have the right and ability to vote. Her Fair Fight Action organization helps prevent voter suppression across the country.


When she was growing up, Stacey was taught three important principles by her parents: go to school, go to church, and take care of each other. And these are the same beliefs she holds today.




Astrology for Black Girls is a charming introduction to the wonders of self-discovery and empowerment through the Zodiac.


Astrology for Black Girls gives young girls information and context for the core foundations of the Zodiac. This book provides the perfect introduction to the sun, moon, rising signs, and more. Speaking directly to black girls, author and life-long astrology practitioner Jordannah Elizabeth address:

  • Practicing both Faith and Astrology

  • Talking to Family and Friends about the stars

  • Using the Zodiac for discovery and understanding

Complete with four-color illustrations by Chellie Carroll throughout, this beautiful book will capture the imagination of middle-grade Black girls for years to come.





In the thrilling third and final book in the acclaimed Maya and the Rising Dark trilogy that Kirkus calls truly #BlackGirlMagic, Maya must face off with the Lord of Shadows to save the human world from impending war with the Dark.

War is coming. Despite everything Maya and her father have done, the veil that protects the human world is failing. The Lord of Shadows has raised an army powerful enough to challenge the orishas. And it's only a matter of time before he breaks through the veil and destroys Maya's neighborhood and the rest of the world.

Maya and her friends aren't going down without a fight. She's honing her guardian powers, with the help of two new allies--her long lost guardian sister and a mysterious darkbringer (who might be a double agent). But when an attack hits close to home, Maya doesn't have any more time to prepare. She must face the Lord of Shadows or risk losing everything. With her friends--Eli, Frankie, Zeran, and Eleni--by her side, Maya leads the charge in an epic showdown that takes her across worlds and to the edge of the universe.

Will she succeed or will Darkness prevail, once and for all?







 


Books Published September 20, 2022

Updated as we receive submissions


A cumulative all-holiday carol packed to the brim with family, food, love, and Black joy, especially perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, graduations, and all family celebrations.


Every holiday, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and neighbors come over to eat, sing, and celebrate life. But all our main character can think about is the sweet potato pie Granny makes just for her. As tables fill with baked macaroni and cheese, chitlins, and other sides a-steaming, she and Granny move the pie to keep it intact. The task becomes tricker as the room grows with dancing and card games and pie cravings. Just when all seems lost and there's no more pie, Granny pulls out a sweet surprise.


Written to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," Twelve Dinging Doorbells is exuberant. Author Tameka Fryer Brown's cumulative rhyme is impossible to resist, and the humorous details in Ebony Glenn's cut-paper collage will welcome readers to this party again and again.







As a little boy grows into a bigger boy, ready to take on the world, he first must have that very difficult conversation far too familiar to so many Black and Brown Americans in this gentle and ultimately hopeful picture book.


Jay's most favorite things are hanging out with his pals, getting kisses from Grandma, riding in his dad's cool car, and getting measured by his mom with pencil marks on the wall. But as those height marks inch upward, Grandpa warns Jay about being in too big a group with his friends, Grandma worries others won't see him as quite so cute now that he's older, and Dad has to tell Jay how to act if the police ever pull them over.


And Jay just wants to be a kid.


All Black and Brown kids get The Talk--the talk that could mean the difference between life and death in a racist world. Told in an age-appropriate fashion, with a perfect pause for parents to insert their own discussions with their children to accompany prompting illustrations, The Talk is a gently honest and sensitive starting point for this far-too-necessary conversation, for Black children, Brown children, and for ALL children. Because you can't make change without knowing what needs changing.





Meet Mabel Fairbanks, the skating superstar who became the first Black athlete inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

After watching ice skaters glide and spin at a rink in Central Park, Mabel Fairbanks was determined to learn to skate. But in the 1930s, many places didn't allow Black skaters on the ice, so Mabel practiced on a homemade rink in her bedroom! There she learned how to perform sharp turns and whizzing spins of her own creation.


It wasn't long before Mabel needed more room to practice skating, and she returned to one of the rinks that denied her entrance. This time she refused to take no for an answer. She knew that if they just let her on the ice, she would be the most marvelous skater anyone had ever seen. And she was right, as her trailblazing talent continues to influence the sport today.


Written and illustrated with warmth and spirit, this is the true story of how Mabel Fairbanks's determination and grit led her to become America's first Black skating superstar.




Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling!


Tyson is the youngest-smaller than his four older brothers and always trying to keep up. But when the family's pet gerbil, Swish, goes missing, it's Tyson to the rescue! Tyson uses his knowledge of doubles, triples, and sizes to figure out a clever way to reach his beloved pet. A playful exploration of proportional thinking, featuring an author letter about the ubiquitous nature of math.



Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education non-profit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.





A gorgeously illustrated picture book that is a powerful love letter to chosen families and the village that raises us. A young girls basks in the love of her community--which includes not only her mother but the many different women who make up her world.


Home can be a blue house with white trim you share with your mama. But it can be bigger than that, with lots of Big Mamas to take care of you when your mom works--different houses for every day of the week. Mondays mean Nurse Louella and bike riding. Tuesdays mean eating fufu with your fingers with Miss Zikora. And Wednesdays . . . well, no matter where you are, as long as you are with your Big Mamas, you are home.


A girl basks in the warmth of her community in this powerful love letter to chosen families and the villages that raise us, from Pushcart Prize-winning author Shay Youngblood and popular illustrator Lo Harris.





An empowering holiday pic