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40 kids books that feature people of color


This is such a fun idea for a book! I love the gorgeous illustrations and message about teamwork and cooperation. About a little girl named Meg who is quite a talented builder. She makes incredible things out of boxes, she’s a “Boxitect” at school a new girl joins her class and to Meg’s surprise is also an amazing boxitect. When a big maker competition comes up both girls are teamed up together. Both think they’re the best and their ego gets in the way of creative cooperation. Their project is a big mess, until finally they decide to stop arguing and work together. In the end they create an impressive masterpiece and all it took was a little cooperation for the greater good. Definitely a must have for any children’s bookshelf and sure to inspire the next generation of boxitects.


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Really smart idea for a book, I love books that teach about emotional awareness. A boy has a hard day at school and is feeling frustrated. When his father notices he’s feeling down the boy explains about his day and says he wanted to cry but he didn’t. He doesn’t want to cry in front of his schoolmates thinking they will give him a hard time about it. His dad tells him it’s ok to cry and that it’s actually a good thing and it’s brave to have the guts to express your feelings and be yourself. The boy imagines the bravest people he can think of and wonders if they cry too. Only one way to find out... go ask them. So he finds some brave people around town and asks them. Their replies are very surprising to him, they ALL cry after talking with a bunch of brave people the boy realizes that he’s had the wrong idea about crying this whole time and now he doesn’t need to try and hide it or hold it in. Wonderful illustrations and smart writing make this an easy choice. Especially when you consider the message, I think this book can be very beneficial for young boys to see. Crying is not an easy thing for boys, there’s a lot of pressure to be tough and to not show weakness. It’s an unhealthy gender stereotype and I think it’s great to see high quality books out there about this. Definitely give this 2 thumbs up!


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This is a wonderful book, beautiful illustrations and well written. It follows a boy who is on holiday visiting his grandpa in Haiti. They live in Jacmel and during that time there is a huge Carnival happening. Warned by his family to stay home and watch the carnival from the balcony Luke couldn’t help himself. He waited for his grandparents to fall asleep and then ran outside and joined the Carnival. Getting caught up in the moment and in awe of the vibrant masks and festive atmosphere, he finds himself lost. Finding his way home might not be easy but fortunately he made a few friends along the way that were able to help. I enjoyed this book a lot and love that I can teach my students a little bit about Haitian culture and the Jacmel Carnival. Definitely a must have on any children’s bookshelf.


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This is a fun book. Beautiful artwork and a great introduction to business. About 2 girls who collect a lot of mangoes from their Grammy’s mango tree. There’s no possible way they can eat them all and after giving some away they decide to make a mango stand and sell them. After successfully selling a bunch of their mangoes the girls are super excited to have earned some money and learned a little about entrepreneurship.


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This is now the fourth book I’ve reviewed for George Neeb and he never lets me down. They keep getting better and better. I’m a huge history buff and his love for history is evident. His storytelling is great, he really manages to capture the feeling of an old fable that has a message for the reader to take from it. Also the attention to detail in his illustrations blows me away, he really gets the style right and goes above and beyond. In this one he even included ancient traditional Chinese characters on each page and then in the back has a place where you can see what they mean. Also he includes some real information about Shi Huangdi (the first emperor of China) which I think is wonderful and helps the kids learn something about a very interesting historical figure. This book is a story about the Emperor wanting to find immortality. An old man pleads with the emperor to change his ways and rule with more respect and compassion. His heavy handed ways are angering a dragon and the dragon is causing many floods in retaliation. The old of course is brushed off as crazy and thrown in jail, he does however end up teaching the princess how to summon the dragon with her song. The emperor in his shortsighted greed attempts to steal from the dragon hoping to attain immortality which deeply angers the dragon. It then proceeds to kidnap a young prince named Gao. The old man explains to the princess the best way to gain the respect of the dragon and get Gao back is to use your brain and beat the dragon in an intellectual way. So she challenges the dragon to a riddle in exchange for Gao and wins. The emperor was so impressed by everything that happened he realized that it’s far better to rule with wisdom than temper. Two thumbs WAY up for this one! Definitely worth picking up a copy


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This is a really cute book about family and the strong bond we make with our loved ones. It’s about a boy who loves his grandma. He visits her on her farm and she has a lot of special animals including a multicolored sheep. Grandma misses her grandson and decides to make him a blanket out of the special sheep’s wool. She sends it to him and he absolutely loves it, especially because he can smell his grandma on it. He takes that blanket everywhere and eventually it gets dirty and damaged. After they wash it the grandma smell is gone and the boy feels kinda sad. Then grandma comes to visit and repairs the damaged blanket leaving the boy delighted because now he can smell her on it again.


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Fun book about one of history’s great minds and pioneering physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi. Presented in an interesting way and setting the stage for a wonderful series, a group of friends discover a box containing a magical book. The children open the book and begin reading it, to their surprise they’re transported back in time where they’re greeted by Al Razi. He explains to them about many of his discoveries and accomplishments throughout his life. I love bios, I think teaching children about real people and events can be hugely inspiring. This book also comes with activities and experiments in the back.


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This is a wonderful book and am so happy to see books like this out there. I think it can offer a great deal of comfort to children that are feeling like they don’t necessarily fit in with everyone else and have to face some bullying at school about it. I jump at any opportunity to read books to my students about acceptance and celebrating the fact that we are all different and are all unique in our own way. A lot of time bullying stems from ignorance and when someone looks or acts different kids can zero in on them, but I think exposure to books like this and actively teaching them social awareness and respecting people for who they are early on can really make all the difference. This book is about a kid named Toby who likes to wear all kinds of clothes and do all kinds of things that are sometimes considered more for boys or girls. Sometimes Toby feels more like a boy and other times more like a girl and that’s totally ok because that’s who Toby is. He faces some teasing from his classmates because they don’t understand him but after talking with his mom and confidently declaring that there’s nothing wrong with being Toby the other children are cool about it and welcome him to play with them. It’s a great book about just being yourself and I think the world needs more books like this! Super happy to include this on my Children’s Bookshelf.


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I’m always excited to find books about bullying and conflict resolution and this author really did a fantastic job! About a boy named Charlie who tries to be nice to a new student at school. The other boy reacts rudely and turns out to be a bully. Frustrated by the bullying the Charlie talks with his parents about the situation and his father encourages him to forgive the bully and to treat him with kindness. It’s not easy but he decides his father is right. Eventually Charlie tells the bully he’s had enough and talks it out with him. The bully opens up about why he acts the way he does and apologizes. He agrees to change his ways and is grateful to have Charlie as a new friend. I’ve always loved the “kill em with kindness” approach when it comes to bullying or rude people. I think this is an excellent example of positive conflict resolution and definitely a great addition to any classroom bookshelf.


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I’ve been waiting for a book like this for a long time! Absolutely love the topic and feel like there are WAY too many adults out there that still need to learn this lesson. Kids need to understand how powerful their thoughts are and to control their inner voice. It’s about a young girl who’s feeling anxious about tomorrow’s spelling bee and is certain things will go badly. Of course she obsesses about it all day and ends up having a horrible day. She ends up talking with her teacher about it and Mrs. Carey helps explain about the power of thoughts and why having positive thoughts and a good attitude are so important. The next day she put that advice to practice and had a wonderful day. Her teacher explains that she used a thought jar and every night before bed she would write down something good that she wanted to happen and put it in the jar. And like magic those things started to happen. Inspired by the thought jar concept the girl makes her own ... also in the back of the book there are instructions on how to create your own thought jar AMAZING I really love this book and am super excited to include it on my Children’s Bookshelf!


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This is a fun book It’s about a boy who doesn’t want to get his hair cut but also is fussy about washing and maintenance. Mom thinks it time to just cut it shorter but the little guy isn’t feeling it. So mom decides to make a game out of it. She puts together a scavenger hunt that leads him right to the barber shop and all the way to the seat. Once he’s there he gets a cut and feels much better.


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The teacher inside me fell in love with this instantly such a great message about practice, persistence and learning. About a boy who is feeling frustrated because he’s have difficulty learning cursive handwriting. He explains to his mother his frustrations so she gives him a magic pencil she explains that the more he uses it the more magic will help him write. Before long he’s writing beautifully and getting praise from his teacher and feeling great about himself.


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I’ve always been a big fan of children’s book bios. Maybe it’s the teacher in me but I think it’s great when story time can also teach them something. History is filled with inspirational people and their stories should be shared far and wide. This book features some courageous people who changed the world. These beautiful illustrations feature a short age appropriate summary of what these people are best known for. I really like the people the author chose to feature and the overall message about courage and the power even one person can have to make the world a better place.


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Another powerful book by Michael A. Brown! I love this author, all of his books are great. He’s released a series of empowering books that all focus on enormously important issues like self esteem or bullying etc. If you haven’t discovered his work I highly recommend checking it out. This book features a boy named Malik who does very well in school but has to deal with a lot of bullying. He runs away from a bully and seeks refuge in his friend’s house near by. He and the new kid in school meet the other kids in the house. These kids like to go there because they feel safe and are able to be open about the problems they face in life. As they meet the new kid they all share with him how they have to deal with various forms of abuse and how they’re always there for each other. Just then, the bully arrives at the door ... after talking to the bully he confesses why he’s mean to Malik. He suffers abuse at home and doesn’t do well in school and is jealous that Malik is so smart. With no support network at school or at home, all he knows is to lash out with negativity. Realizing that the bully is in pain and needs help, the children accept him into their group and offer him help with his studies and the support network he so desperately needs. I think these kind of books are enormously important to have in classrooms. This one is easy for children to understand and can be a powerful resource in the hands of the right adult. I highly recommend it and the rest of the books by this author, I’m more than excited to add this to my Children’s Bookshelf!


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This book is truly a work of art. It features a bunch of wonderful poems about kids having recess and life in the Arctic. From making igloos to the Northern lights to sled dogs it depicts many of the unique elements that make the North so very special. Also look at these illustrations I really enjoyed this and highly recommend!


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This is an important book and it’s presented very well. Written from a child’s point of view, and following a family as they discuss the history of racial inequality in the United States. They talk about why peaceful protest brings change and the people in the past that bravely stood for what was right and the changes they helped bring to society. Also they prepare signs and go out to protest for equality and justice. Inspired by real events, this book is undoubtedly relevant in this day and age, especially following the events of this past year. It can serve as a great educational tool in the hands of the right teacher or parent. The message is clear and one that needs sharing. Ignorance and racism cannot be tolerated in today’s modern society and through books like this we can educate young people of all demographics about the uncomfortable history in the United States and everyone’s desire to have a more tolerant and respectful society.


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Here’s a really lovely book about family and Covid-19. A young boy wants to sleep with his mom because he’s feeling a bit upset about things. She begins to talk with him about his feelings and he explains that he misses the way life was before and that this whole thing is kind of scary. His mother comforts him and explains that everything is going to be ok and not to worry. In the end he begins feeling a lot more positive about the situation and confident he can get through it. Mom deals with this situation very well in the book and offers the reader a glimpse at some really good parenting. Also at the end of the book there’s some excellent information for parents to review about behavior and parenting.


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Ruby doesn’t usually worry but sometimes it happens. She had a small worry but over time it’s grown bigger and bigger. This book is great, it teaches the importance of talking about your worries and thoughts so that they don’t grow into something bigger. A great lesson for anyone to learn!


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Heartwarming story about a young boy who is having troubles with his teachers. He keeps talking in class and needs to learn when it’s ok to talk and when it isn’t. Fortunately his Grandfather is there to share some wisdom. The two go fishing and Grandpa manages to get through to boy in a very clever way. Great illustrations, important lesson and excellent example of good parenting all rolled up into one wonderful book! This book has a Lexile range of L410 - L600 so it makes for great second grade reading material.


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Featuring lovely watercolor illustrations and following Baby K as she travels with her parents around the world. She visits various cities and countries featuring some famous landmarks. It’s a cute book especially good for children that are curious about travel or travel a lot with their parents.


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This is a wonderful travel book! Features a girl who uses her passport to take the reader on a tour around the world. Starting in New York she heads south and explores central and South America. She then moves on to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Each city along the way she tells the reader about lovely activities and sights from that place. She visits the koalas in Australia and ends her trip in Antarctica and even gets to hangout with those super cute penguins.


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Celebrating the miracle of birth! This book is narrated by the parents talking to their unborn child. Expressing their excitement, love and anticipation ... it’s really a sweet book.


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Wonderful story about a little girl struggling with “b,d and p” , she’s learning to read and is getting frustrated she keeps confusing them. She’s persistent though and finds her own mnemonic device to help her remember. She finally gets it and is super excited. I’m sure we all remember a moment in our childhood when we finally figured something out and how satisfying that was... this is essentially what this book is all about. I love the message about never giving up and the potential this book has for classroom use. Gonna be recommending this one to some teacher friends for sure.


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Such a great book to read with boys! A young boy sees his sister with a bow so he asks for one too. He sees her with a doll so he wants one too. He wants to wear pink, ok! He feels like crying ... ok, boys cry too. Mom doesn’t stand in his way at all. She let’s him express himself however he wants, which is so cool. It’s great to see books that help to break down gender stereotypes and I’m happy to have it on my Children’s Bookshelf.


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Very well written and featuring professional illustrations, this rhyming book about trying new things with surely capture your heart. About a girl without a hobby. When her friends are off doing the things they love to do she finds herself all alone. So she decides she’s going to take up dancing. She tries many different styles and has so much fun, that she can’t just just one. So she continues to study many different types of dancing and is delighted she’s found something she loves. Lovely message in this book, definitely worth checking out!


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Wonderful book and inspirational real life story about the much revered Sai Baba of Shirdi. A wonderful story of an orphan boy who is a little bit naughty as a youngster and is taken to an ashram to learn some discipline and get a different perspective on life. The boys guru taught him a lot and some say transferred his powers to Sai Baba upon his death. After that he devotes his life to others, healing those in need and spreading teachings of love, generosity and anti-discrimination. He is not tied to any religion and is now fondly celebrated by people from many diverse backgrounds. The book has a Lexile level of 610L -800L making it perfect for 3rd graders. However I think this can be a wonderful read aloud for younger students as well.


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This is the cutest book EVER!! Narrated by a young boy who essentially explains to the reader how much he loves his father and vice versa. It perfectly depicts the point of view of a little guy with a wonderful imagination. He explains all the things his daddy’s arms do and imagines they’re a whole bunch of different things like mountains to climb or big fuzzy paws. It’s the perfect length, it’s written in rhyme, it’s expertly illustrated and it’s simply adorable... I highly recommend this one!!


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This is a really positive book and has a deep message. One line that resonated with me was “These are only jobs, just jobs, not me.” This is very true and unfortunately society emphasizes career choice in a way that tends to define a person’s worth in the eyes of others and themselves WAY more than it really should. I grew up having teachers say things like “can you say, do you want fries with that? Because if you don’t study harder that’s your future!”. Instead I would have loved to hear teachers say “Happiness is the true marker of success, find the thing that makes you happiest and try your best to do that very well” I like how this book talks about potential occupations but also has a more down to earth message about finding happiness within yourself and not defining your self worth by your job. Also the illustrations are pretty cool, they have a futuristic theme which is super cool. I enjoyed this book and the message.


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A book about having a positive self image. A boy tells the reader how he loves himself naming off various body parts... and of course he loves his mom too super simple idea, written by a teacher and social worker, I think it’s great to see more and more uplifting books focused on self esteem. I was moved by a quote at the end of the book that I really liked... “Children are great imitators so give them something great to imitate”


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A book about self esteem and being a racial minority. This is an important book for every child to read, it clearly shows the feelings a lot children have when they’re one of the only black kids around. Kids can sometimes be especially harsh and not even realize the damage they’re causing by behaving ignorantly. The boy in this book goes to the park and sees his friends but is told by the new kid that he can’t play with them because he looks different. After mom gives him some words of wisdom he stands up for himself and points out that in fact we all look different and that’s okay. He then goes on to play with his friends confidently and feeling like he likes the way he looks and there’s nothing wrong with him. Great message, definitely has the potential to resonate with children in similar situations. Also I think it’s important for all the other children to read this book and books like it so they can see things from a different perspective and understand that we’re all just people and race isn’t a big deal.


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What an inspiring and heart warming story I really enjoyed this and the lesson it teaches. All about confidence, attitude, loving yourself and how that effects the way others see you and treat you. About a girl who has a red birthmark on her face. She’s very self conscious about it and dealt with a lot of bullying and teasing from the other children because of it. Now she wears make up to hide it when she goes to school. One day a new student comes to class and introduces himself confidently. The other kids immediately ask him about the huge black mark on his face. He immediately explains about his birthmark and how it makes him feel like a superhero. The girl is immediately impressed by his attitude and realizes after some time that the other kids aren’t teasing him. She eventually talks with him about it and shows him her birthmark and he insists that it’s better she show it off and own it proudly. So she does and some of the other classmates congratulate her for not hiding it with make up and explain how they think it looks like a rose and how that’s pretty cool. His example was exactly what she needed to find her own self confidence and realize that she’s perfect exactly the way god made her.


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Cute book about a young girl that wakes up in the morning with blue spots all over her. Turns out she’s come down with a case of the blues. Good thing Grandpa is there to take care of her and bring her to see the doctor. Written in rhyme and accompanied by wonderful illustrations, definitely worth checking out.


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Sacagawea was the only girl, and the only Native American, to join Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery, which explored the United States from the Mississippi River all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the early 1800s. As a translator, she helped the team communicate with members of the Shoshone tribe across the continent, carrying her child on her back the whole way. By the time the expedition arrived at the west coast, Sacagawea had proved that she truly was a trailblazer.


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Well written little chapter book. Each chapter is only about 3 or 4 pages long and the whole book is 33 pages. Teachers are constantly searching for this kind of book because so versatile when planning out lessons. Sometimes it’s nice to just have 3 pages of text for your reading or writing lesson or other times you might want to read the whole thing to the class which can also be done in one sitting. The back of the book has follow up comprehension questions (which I love) and to top it all of the book is about a boy who enters a creative writing contest and wins with his awesome story. The writing is well paced and kept me interested and wanting more the entire time. The whole book really makes creative writing seem exciting (which I also love!) this gave me so many ideas , I highly recommend it to you teachers out there. I included the first few chapters so you can get an idea or the reading level and I also included the follow up comprehension questions that are in the back of the book... definitely one to check you’ll be happy you did!


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A powerful book and important piece of history. I’ve always been a huge fan of reading non fiction children’s books in my classes. Silly stories and fairytales have their place but I always do my best to feature bios about influential people or interesting books about a historical event (as long as it’s age appropriate of course) This one features the Mendez family and their efforts to fight segregation. After being forced by the school system of California to attend a separate school because they had Mexican heritage they filed a lawsuit. They weren’t given a good reason for the segregation within the education system and being that they were American citizens they felt like it was time to initiate social change and fight for equality. This is a true story and is a wonderfully illustrated moment in the American civil rights movement. Definitely worth picking up and certainly has a place on my Children’s Bookshelf.


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Career day is coming and the kids need to be prepared to tell the class what they want to be and why. The teacher decides to offer some inspiration and gives the kids some ideas ... these STEM based suggestions offer the kids many examples of how cool science is. From a teacher’s point of view I really love books like this for obvious reasons and also I like how the author highlights the fact that anyone can do it regardless of how they look and at the end of the book you can see some real life people who have contributed to science. I think this book can be very inspirational in the hands of the right teacher or parent.


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This was such a lovely read. As a teacher I think it resonated with me in a special way. I can fully relate to the teacher in the book, I’ve definitely had that super cute student with an over active imagination that doesn’t know when to turn it off. This is about a little girl that loves to tell stories, she always gets a laugh and really it’s quite innocent. However sometimes the teacher is just trying to get her lesson going and not in the mood to deviate or is just being a boring adult about things. In the end the teacher shows her love for the girl and her stories when the little girl forgets her homework. The girl tells the teacher she forgot her homework and the teacher replies “You forgot it? Or ... maybe a unicorn ate your homework?”. This really warmed my heart, I’ve had so many moments like that where you see the opportunity to relate to the child on their level and you can see how important it is to them that you did that. Finally there’s a wall at the school that needs painting and of course the teacher allows her to express her imagination into art where many of her stories can become a mural for all to enjoy. Fabulous book, enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend checking it out!


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I really enjoyed this book, I’m always on the look out for children’s biographies... this is about Katherine Johnson an African American mathematician who worked with NASA and helped break down barriers for both women and African Americans during the civil rights movement. She’s a very inspirational person.


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An inspiring story. Written by Michael Jordan’s mom and sister. A tale about faith and hope and how any family working together can help a child make his or her dreams come true.


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Eva is going to walk on the bottom of the sea by herself for the very first time. She’s an Inuit in northern Canada and she’s climbing under the ice during low tide to collect mussels. It’s another world under there and Eva better be careful not to walk too far.


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