Books that Celebrate Diversity

Author Paula Young Shelton at Green Hedges School

As we celebrate Black History Month at Green Hedges, we are recognizing the achievements of African-Americans in many areas including science, mathematics, engineering, medicine, sports, the arts and literature.

Our Librarian, Mrs. Nancy Provenzano, has curated a list of books that celebrate African-American authors and prominent African-Americans past and present, and an array of authors who represent the diversity of America, both in their own heritage and through the characters in their books. Included in this list are books written by Newbery Award winning author, Kwame Alexander. This week we were fortunate to welcome Kwame to Green Hedges to share his books and inspire our students. He is just one of many authors we welcome to the school year round who encourage our students to explore the world around them through reading.

All of the books listed below can be found at the Green Hedges Library.  When asked about her approach to choosing books for the School’s collection, Mrs. Provenzano states “I’d like every child to see themselves represented in all aspects of literature and to ultimately realize the range of possibilities available to them.”

Preschool- Grade 3


Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band – Kwame Alexander

And Tango Makes Three  –  Pete Parnell

Baseball Saved Us – Ken Mochizuki

Be Who You Are – Todd Parr

Bee-Bim-Bop – Linda Sue Park

Firebird – Misty Copeland

Grandfather’s Journey – Allen Say

The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher – Molly Bang

King & King – Linda de Haan

Mango, Abuela & Me – Meg Medina

More More More Said the Baby – Vera B. Williams

My Princess Boy – Cheryl Kilodavis

Nino Wrestles the World – Yuyi Morales

The Other Side – Jacqueline Woodson

Tar Beach – Faith Ringgold

Thunder Boy Jr. – Sherman Alexie

Twenty Yawns – Jane Smiley

Whistle for Willie – Ezra Jack Keats


Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl – Virginia Hamilton

The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale – Laurence Yep

Gluskabe and the Four Wishes – Joseph Bruchac

Little Roja Riding Hood – Susan Middleton Elya

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China – Ed Young

Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood – Mike Artell

The Twelve Dancing Princesses – Rachel Isadora


A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin — Jen Bryant

Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina — Carmen T. Bernier-Grand

When the Beat Was Born:  DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip HopLaban Carrick Hill

Young Jim Thorpe: Bright Path — Don Brown

Grades 4 – 6


As Brave as You – Jason Reynolds

Birchbark House (series)  – Louise Erdrich

Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond — Brenda Woods

Crossover and Booked – Kwame Alexander

Esperanza Rising – Pam Munoz Ryan

Flying Lessons & other Stories – Edited by Ellen Oh

George — Alex Gino

Inside Out & Back Again – Thanhha Lai

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy – Gary D. Schmidt

Locomotion and Peace, Locomotion – Jacqueline Woodson

Millicent Min, Girl Genius and Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time (series)  — Lisa Yee

One Crazy Summer (trilogy)– Rita Williams Garcia

President of the Whole Fifth Grade — Sherri Winston

The Thing About Luck – Cynthia Kadohata

Watsons Go to Birmingham – Christopher Paul Curtis


El Deafo  – Cece Bell (graphic novel biography)

March, Book One  – John Lewis (graphic novel biography)

We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball  – Kadir Nelson

Grades 7 – 8


Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel)

Chains (trilogy) –  Laurie Halse Anderson

The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child – Francisco Jimenez

The Code Talker – Joseph Bruchac

Crossing the Wire – Will Hobbs

Dragonwings (series)Laurence Yep

Elijah of Buxton and Madman of Piney Woods  –  Christopher Paul Curtis

Fallen Angels  –  Walter Dean Myers

The Glory Field  – Walter Dean Myers

Fiction in Verse

Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg (also Serafina’s Promise and Unbound)


Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent – Thomas B. Allen

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans  –  Kadir Nelson

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound – Andrea Davis Pinkney

Autobiographies in Verse

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson