Diversifying My Bookshelf

As part of #WeNeedDiverseBooks, there is a call to diversify our own bookshelves. And so, I am putting my money where my mouth is and looking for good books where I might not normally look. And really, any excuse to buy books is a good one. 🙂

For me: The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin

The Killing MoonDescription: In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt.

But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru – the most famous of the city’s Gatherers – must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering dreamers in the goddess’ name, stalking its prey both in Gujaareh’s alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill – or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.

Why: This book is a nebula-nominee. I am also interested in seeing how someone infinitely more aware of race relations than I am handles them in fiction. I’ve also been following Jemisin on Twitter for awhile. I don’t agree with a lot of what she says, but I do appreciate her insights.

For 6-year-old girl: Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story by Paula Yoo

Sixteen Years in Sixteen SecondsDescription: On a summer day in 1932, twelve-year-old Sammy Lee watched enviously as divers catapulted into the public swimming pool. Sammy desperately wanted to try diving himself, but the Korean American boy — like any person of color — was only allowed to use the pool one day a week.

This discrimination did not weaken Sammy’s newfound passion for diving, and soon he began a struggle between his dream of becoming an Olympic champion and his father’s wish for him to become a doctor. Over sixteen years Sammy faced numerous challenges, but he overcame them all and fulfilled both his dream and his father’s. In 1948 Dr. Sammy Lee dove into Olympic history. A matter of seconds after his final platform dive, the scores appeared and Sammy Lee became the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal.

Sammy Lee’s story of determination and triumph sets an extraordinary example for anyone striving to fulfill a dream. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds will inspire all who read it.

Why: My daughter recently said that her favorite sport is swimming. So I thought this might be a book that she would enjoy. We also have many Asians living on our street, and I want her to be able to see these friends as protagonists too.

For 4-year-old boy: How Far Do You Love Me? by Lulu Delacre

How Far Do You Love MeDescription: Based on a bedtime game author/illustrator Lulu Delacre played with her young daughters, How Far Do You Love Me? is an “I love you” book with a twist. With every expression of love, readers visit one of thirteen different locations around the world, each a beautifully illustrated scene of adults and children in a place of natural beauty.

Why: We already have several “I love you” books. I love that this one focuses on the wonders of our natural earth.

For 6-month-old boy: My Colors, My World/Mis colores, mi mundo by Maya Christina Gonzalez

My Colors My WorldDescription: The world is filled with bold, beautiful colors, if only you know where to find them. Little Maya finds purple and yellow in the flowers in her garden, red in her swing set, and black in her Papa’s shiny hair. Mud is squishy, cool, and brown. Orange marigolds glow like the sun. Look around you. Where are the colors in your world?

My Colors, My World/Mis colores, mi mundo is Maya Christina Gonzalez’s wonder-filled exploration of the colors and textures that make up the everyday environment of a small child. This new board book format of the award-winning story is perfect for tiny hands and was developed with the help of early childhood educators. The simple, streamlined text introduces rich vocabulary words alongside vibrant acrylic illustrations. Little Maya will draw the littlest readers in to her world, and will encourage them to make connections between the colors on the page and the world around them.

Why: My husband lived for two years in Chile, and he’s always been interested in teaching our kids Spanish. We could certainly use more bilingual books in our house to help with that.

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