Newest Children’s Book Recommendations

In response to thousands of views per month to our children’s book lists, we will soon be adding the following books to our existing lists.  These books were chosen by educators to help develop the next generation of global citizens, as well as for their overall quality.  (The existing lists on our website can be found here: Ages 3-8Ages 8-12, Ages 13-18. ) Thank you for your interest in our recommendations!

Ages 3-8        

The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez, illustrator (Ages 4-7) 2018 

In the lyrical voice that has won her many awards, the author addresses young children’s fear of new situations. The book is written like a collage of different experiences, different individuals, and different fears so that all children can find themselves in this book and be reassured, and perhaps come to be more accepting of others.

Dreamers, by Yuyi Morales (Ages 4-8) 2018

Yuri Morales, a Caldecott award winning author, shares her own story of immigrating to the US. “(She) tells, through illustrations that seem to dance and sing, the story of crossing borders on a bridge of language with her young son. Together they discover picture books and public libraries, and the gifts they brought with them — open hearts, art, poetry and stories — blossom.”—The Washington Post, Best Books of 2018

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, by Margarita Engle and Rafael López, illustrator (Ages 5-8) 2015 

Newberry Honor winning author Margarita Engle tells an empowering story of a Cuban girl who refused to accept that girls cannot be drummers, based on a real-life story. This award winning book has magical illustrations.

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein (Ages 3-8) 1964

Here’s a much loved classic about love, about unlimited generosity (the tree), about selfishness (the boy) and about enduring relationships. The message isn’t simple, which is part of its appeal.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness, by Kerascoët (Ages 4-8) 2018

This book without words is about a child who is bullied and about how a simple act of kindness can change everything for that child. It explores themes of kindness, acceptance and standing up for others. “”A good choice for young children who can work out for themselves what has happened, what Vanessa’s new friend does, and why it works.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires (Ages 4-8) 2014

A wonderful story about a young girl’s struggle to invent and build a “magnificent thing,” about her frustration which morphs into anger, and ultimately about perseverance and success.

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold (Ages 5-9) 1991

This classic Caldecott Medal winning book “…recounts the dream adventure of eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her apartment-building rooftop, the ‘tar beach’ of the title, looking down on 1939 Harlem. Part autobiographical, part fictional, this allegorical tale sparkles with symbolic and historical references…. The spectacular artwork resonates with color and texture.”–Horn Book, starred review 

Ages 8-12

Emmanuel’s Dream, by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls, Illustrator (Ages 7-12) 2015

The inspiring true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a physically handicapped boy in Africa who proves he can do what other children can, and more! In 2001, he bicycled 400 miles across Ghana, changing the perceptions about people with disabilities. He continues to work for disability rights today. While the format is a picture book, the content is most appropriate for ages 8-10.

Her Right Foot, by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris (ages 5-10) 2018

A clever, funny book about the Statue of Liberty and the message that its right foot, which is stepping forward, sends. While it can be understood by child as young as five, the humor and informational content is best appreciated by children from 8-10.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Readers Edition, by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer (Ages 8-12) 2010

This autobiography is about a boy who is determined to bring electricity to his village in Malawi and succeeds against all odds. The adult version of this book, revised here to be accessible to upper elementary students, was a New York Times bestseller. A picture book version for younger children is also available. 

Amal Unbound, by Aisha Saeed (ages 10 and up) 2018 

The story of a young Pakistani girl, “this beautifully crafted and moving story will encourage middle grade readers to ponder such issues as indentured servitude, class, and resistance. Saeed’s well-developed narrative will evoke empathy for all those around the world like Amal, who are not guaranteed freedom or education.” —School Library Connection, starred review

Front Desk, by Kelly Yang (Ages 10 and up) 2018 

After school, 10 year-old Mia works at the front desk of a motel where her immigrant parents clean rooms, and where the family lives. Her parents hide immigrants there— unknown to the evil manager—by letting them stay in empty rooms. This debut story, which got rave reviews, weaves a compelling plot with many social issues.

Ages 12 and Up

Everlasting Nora: A Novel, by Marie Miranda Cruz  (Ages 12 and up) 2018

A 12-year-old girl lives with her mother in a shantytown inside Manilla’s North Cemetery. When her mother disappears, Nora and her best friend Jojo set out to find her. “Cruz offers an important and engaging tale. At its heart, this is a story about friendship and family―the one we’re born into and the one we make…. This moving title should find a place in all libraries looking for authentic and powerful middle grade stories.” ―School Library Journal, starred review

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi (Ages 12 and up) 2017

This non-fiction book tells the story of Fred Korematsu who was a young man when Japanese Americans were ordered from their homes for internment.  He refused to go, was jailed, and his case went to the US Supreme Court where internment was upheld. The ruling was finally overturned in 2018. In addition to telling a compelling story, the book is filled with photos and artifacts of the time, adding to its interest to readers of all ages.

Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson (Ages 12 and up) 2018

The prizewinning author of Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson, has created a second exceptional novel for middle schoolers and beyond. Six students are required to meet together at school to discuss their problems. “Woodson’s skills as poet and master storyteller shine brightly here as she economically uses language to express emotion and delve into the hearts of her characters. Showing how America’s political and social issues affect children on a daily basis, this novel will leave an indelible mark on readers’ minds.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, by Diane Guerrero and Michelle Burford (Ages 14 and up) 2016

Diane Guerrero, the television actress from Orange is the New Black was fourteen years old when her parents were deported. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in. In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country.  Note: there is also a second version of this book, My Family Divided, intended for middle school readers.