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The Bookshelf: Children’s Books that Celebrate Diversity Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. Digitally enhanced collages illustrate the story of Ada, a child who learns to play violin when an ecologist and musician arrives in her small village atop a landfill in Paraguay and organizes the Recycled Orchestra. Also available in a Spanish version. Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, illustrations by Rafael López. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. This vibrantly illustrated picture book was inspired by a real Chinese-African-Cuban girl who persevered in her desire to play drums despite being told that drums are for boys. This 2016 Pura Belpre Award winner will inspire readers to follow their dreams. George by Alex Gino. Scholastic Press, 2015. George really wants to be Charlotte the spider in the school play, but the teacher says it is a role for a girl. Winner of a Stonewall Book Award, this important book introduces middle grade readers to transgender issues and to a character struggling to be herself. The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle and Deborah Durland DeSaix. Holiday House, 2009. The authors did extensive research to bring to life this little-known, fascinating story of Muslims who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016. The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, was the first mainstream book to feature an African-American child. Told in collage verse with illustrations reminiscent of Keats’, Pinkney describes the life of a visionary artist struggling to overcome anti-Semitism and pave the way for diversity in children’s literature. Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016. This colorful, expressive biography won the 2017 Caldecott Award for most distinguished American picture book for children. It’s an especially pertinent choice for local readers during the Cleveland Museum of Art’s exhibition of Basquiat’s notebooks through April 23. Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs, illustrations by Nizar Ali Badr, translated by Falah Raheem. Orca Book Publishers, 2016. Rama and her family are forced to flee their Syrian village to escape the civil war. Unique stone creations by the artist powerfully illustrate the family’s harrowing journey. Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. Grandma Bean asks her granddaughter, Dani, to find a letter and a key and Dani ends up unlocking the past. Part historical fiction, part mystery, this middle grade novel takes readers through the tumultuous times of the riots surrounding the desegregation of Ole Miss. Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016. Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his father but wants a name that is uniquely his. The first picture book by award-winning author and Spokane/ Coeur d’Alene Indian Sherman Alexie celebrates a special relationship between father and son. Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato. Balzer + Bray, 2016. Worm and Worm encounter a few difficulties when they decide to get married, but love wins in the end and they learn that if the old ways don’t fit the situation, change them! SL SHAKER LIFE | SPRING 2017 69


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