12 Children's Books for 4th of July that Celebrate Diversity

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12 Kids’ Books for Independence Day That Celebrate American Diversity and Perseverance 

 

Independence Day is about more than fireworks and flag-waving. It’s about celebrating what unites us as Americans: a spirit of inclusion and perseverance. In honor of the 4th of July, here are some wonderful, complex, and beautifully-illustrated books that teach children how to understand and value themselves, as well as connect with the diverse experiences of people around them. 

 

We Came to America by Faith Ringgold

 

A timely and beautiful look at America's rich history of immigration and diversity, from Faith Ringgold, the Coretta Scott King and Caldecott Honor winning creator of Tar Beach. From the Native Americans who first called this land their home, to the millions of people who have flocked to its shores ever since, America is a country rich in diversity. Some of our ancestors were driven by dreams and hope. Others came in chains, or were escaping poverty or persecution. No matter what brought them here, each person embodied a unique gift--their art and music, their determination and grit, their stories and their culture. And together they forever shaped the country we all call home. Vividly expressed in Faith Ringgold's sumptuous colors and patterns, We Came to America is an ode to every American who came before us, and a tribute to each child who will carry its proud message of diversity into our nation's future. 

 

 

 

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman 

Celebrate diversity and inclusion with this New York Times bestselling picture book about a school where all are welcome! Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other's traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

 

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Jaime Kim

When a girl is asked where she's from--where she's really from--none of her answers seems to be the right one. Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. He doesn't give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one. With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colors--especially anyone who ever felt that they don't belong. Named one of Kirkus’ Best Books of 2019 and New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2019. 

 

 

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

This #1 New York Times Bestseller is a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone. There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael López's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

 

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

Originally performed for ESPN's “The Undefeated,” this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.

 

 

Lovely by Jess Hong

This simple book reminds kids that all sorts of different people are beautiful. Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!

 

 

Windows by Julia Denos, illustrated by E.B. Goodale

Walking his dog at dusk, one boy catches glimpses of the lives around him in this lovely ode to autumn evenings, exploring your neighborhood, and coming home. Before your city goes to sleep, you might head out for a walk, your dog at your side as you go out the door and into the almost-night. Anything can happen on such a walk: you might pass a cat, or a friend, or even an early raccoon. And as you go down your street and around the corner, the windows around you light up one by one until you are walking through a maze of paper lanterns, each one granting you a brief, glowing snapshot of your neighbors as families come together and folks settle in for the night. With a setting that feels both specific and universal and a story full of homages to The Snowy Day, Julia Denos and E. B. Goodale have created a singular book -- at once about the idea of home and the magic of curiosity, but also about how a sense of safety and belonging is something to which every child is entitled.

 

 

You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Here is a wonderful story that teaches kids to listen and try to understand different points of view. Two fuzzy creatures can't agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all! The simple text of Anna Kang and bold illustrations of New Yorker cartoonist Christopher Weyant tell an original and very funny story about size--it all depends on who's standing next to you.

 

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

A #1 New York Times bestseller and Newbery Medal winner! Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty--and fun--in their routine and the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena's vibrant text and Christian Robinson's radiant illustrations.

 

Julián Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love

In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes -- and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love's author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.

 

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it--Yoon-Hey.

 

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted. She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small. With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn't give up on their dreams. Persistence is power. This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor--and one special cameo.



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Interested in what's possible for your book sales and building readership? Check out our services, tell us your goals, and get a customized publicity campaign tailored just for you: https://booksforward.com/




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