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Find more Top 10 Multicultural Fiction for Youth
These titles take readers around the world and into their own backyards. Circumstances may differ, but the characters’ hopes and struggles are universal. These books have been reviewed in Booklist between February 1, 2015, and January 2016.
Bayou Magic. By Jewel Parker Rhodes. 2015. Little, Brown, $17 (9780316224840). Gr. 4–7.
Ten-year-old Maddy is spending the summer with her grandmother on the bayou in Bon Temps, Louisiana, where she learns family history and some serious life lessons. A tale of often diverse and always fascinating characters.
Black Dove, White Raven. By Elizabeth Wein. 2015. Disney/Hyperion, $17.99 (9781423183105). Gr. 8–11.
Set in 1930s Ethiopia, the story of black Teo and white Em, as close as siblings, is a tangled history that confronts myriad complex questions. What constitutes home: family and faith or country and heritage?
Diego’s Crossing. By Robert Hough. 2015. Annick, $21.95 (9781554517572). Gr. 9–12.
Diego is a smart high-school senior from a dusty town on the Mexican side of the U.S. border. This grim and unflinching story shows the nearly impossible choices that make life there so tough.
Full Cicada Moon. By Marilyn Hilton. 2015. Dial, $17.99 (9780525438756). Gr. 4–7.
In 1969 Vermont, Mimi, who is half black and half Japanese, wishes to be an astronaut, and this makes her stand out. This wonderful novel in verse speaks to questions of heritage, ambition, and history.
The Land of Forgotten Girls. By Erin Entrada Kelly. 2016. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780062238641). Gr. 5–7.
Two sisters from the Philippines live with a dreadful stepmother in a small Louisiana town. But with the help of all kinds of neighbors, Soledad figures out ways to make her conditions better.
Mango, Abuela, and Me. By Meg Medina. Illus. by Angela Dominguez. 2015. Candlewick, $15.99 (9780763669003). Gr. 1–3.
Young Mia decides to teach her grandmother English—and in return, she learns Spanish—in this poignant tale of intergenerational connection, transition, and patience.
The Merit Birds. By Kelley Powell. 2015. Dundurn, $14.99 (9781459729315). Gr. 9–12.
Angry 18-year-old Cameron must accompany his mother to Laos. At first things go well, but a motorbike accident lands him in a Laotian jail. Fresh and gripping, and filled with both action and romance.
Miracle on 133rd Street. By Sonia Manzano. Illus. by Marjorie Priceman. 2015. Atheneum, $17.99 (9780689878879). PreS–Gr. 2.
In this delightfully illustrated story, there are issues with José’s Christmas, but a multicultural mix of neighbors help make the holiday special. The let’s-all-pull-together narrative makes readers think that it is, indeed, a wonderful life.
Shadowshaper. By Daniel José Older. 2015. Scholastic/Arthur L. Levine, $17.99 (9780545591614). Gr. 8–11.
In this powerful fantasy, “shadowshaping” becomes a resonant metaphor for the importance of cultural heritage, as Puerto Rican Sierra and Haitian Robbie draw upon and amplify their ancestors’ spirits.
X. By Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon. 2015. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763669676). Gr. 9–12.
Malcolm’s X’s third daughter pairs with Magoon to offer a fictionalized biography of the famous activist. It’s a satisfyingly complete, never simplistic story of one young man’s journey toward a life of purpose and meaning.
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