We are so excited to share our supplementary materials because we are certain you will love these books as much as our teachers and students have! On this page you will find a list of  socially just and culturally mindful books used in our partner schools while practicing the tenets of the New Balanced Literacy program. Please consider purchasing your own copy for read-aloud and utilizing our convenient informational page with tips from Dr. Margaret Policastro. 


Books

"The Boy And The Wall" By Palestinian Refugee Children In The Aida Refugee Camp

The writers and illustrators of this English/Arabic bilingual picture book are Palestinian refugee children in the Aida Refugee Camp near the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank. They created a story that focuses on a boy in a refugee camp whose experiences reflect those of many Palestinian refugee ...

"Schomburg: The Man Who Built A Library" By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated By Eric Velasquez

In luminous paintings and arresting poems, two of children’s literature’s top African-American scholars track Arturo Schomburg’s quest to correct history. Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked. Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro–Puerto Rican ...

"That’S Not Fair! Emma Tenayuca’S Struggle For Justice" By Carmen Tafolla And Sharyll Tenayuca, Illustrated By Terry Ybáñez

A vivid depiction of the early injustices encountered by a young Mexican-American girl in San Antonio in the 1920’s. Emma Tenayuca learns to care deeply about poverty and hunger during a time when many Mexican Americans were starving to death and working unreasonably long hours for 3 cents/hour ...

"Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down" By Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated By Brian Pinkney

This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement. Andrea Davis Pinkney uses poetic, powerful prose ...

"Sojourner Truth’S Step-Stomp Stride" By Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated By Brian Pinkney

Born into slavery, Belle had to endure the cruelty of several masters before she escaped to freedom. But she knew she wouldn’t really be free unless she was helping to end injustice. That’s when she changed her name to Sojourner and began traveling across the country, demanding equal ...

"Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History" By Walter Dean Myers, Illustrated By Floyd Cooper

Frederick Douglass was a self-educated enslaved man in the South who grew up to become an icon. He was a leader of the abolitionist movement, a celebrated writer, an esteemed speaker, and a social reformer, proving that, as he said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free ...

"Rosa" By Nikki Giovanni, Illustrated By Bryan Collier

Fifty years after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus, Rosa Parks is still one of the most important figures in the American civil rights movement. This tribute to Rosa Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed. Award-winning ...

"When I Was Eight" By Christy Jordan-Fenton And Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, Illustrated By Gabrielle Grimard

Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. Ignoring her father’s warnings, she travels far from her Arctic home to the outsiders’ school to learn. The nuns at the school call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and ...

"Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People To Freedom" By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated By Kadir Nelson

Carole Boston Weatherford depicts Harriet Tubman’s initial escape from slavery and her mission to lead others to freedom as divinely inspired, and achieved by steadfast faith and prayer. On the eve of her being sold and torn from her family, Tubman prays in her despair. In response, “God speaks ...

"The Whispering Town" By Jennifer Elvgren, Illustrated By Fabio Santomauro

The dramatic story of neighbors in a small Danish fishing village who, during the Holocaust, shelter a Jewish family waiting to be ferried to safety in Sweden. It is 1943 in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Anett and her parents are hiding a Jewish woman and her son, Carl, in their cellar until ...

"Coretta Scott" By Ntozake Shange, Illustrated By Kadir Nelson

Walking many miles to school in the dusty road, young Coretta knew, too well, the unfairness of life in the segregated south. A yearning for equality began to grow. Together with Martin Luther King, Jr., she gave birth to a vision and a journey — with dreams of freedom for all ...

"Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story" By Paula Yoo, Illustrated By Lin Wang

Born in 1905, Anna May Wong spent her childhood working in her family’s laundry in Los Angeles’s Chinatown. Anna May struggled to pursue an acting career in Hollywood in the 1930s. There were very few roles for Asian Americans, and many were demeaning and stereotypical. Finally, after years ...

"Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History" By Vashti Harrison

An important book for all ages, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of forty trailblazing Black women in American history. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman ...

"Gordon Parks: How The Photographer Captured Black And White America" By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated By Jamey Christoph

His white teacher tells her all-Black class, “You’ll all wind up porters and waiters”. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first Black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was poor and looking for work. When he bought ...

"When We Were Alone" By David A. Robertson, Illustrated By Julie Flett

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her ...

"Preaching To The Chickens: The Story Of Young John Lewis" By Jabari Asim, Illustrated By E.B. Lewis

John wants to be a preacher when he grows up — a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful ...

"We Are Grateful, Otsaliheliga" By Traci Sorell, Illustrated By Frané Lessac

The Cherokee community is grateful for blessings and challenges that each season brings. This is modern Native American life as told by an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the ...

"Voice Of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit Of The Civil Rights Movement" By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated By Ekua Holmes

Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that ...

"Harlem’S Little Blackbird: The Story Of Florence Mills" By Renée Watson; Illustrated By Christian Robinson

Born to parents who were both former slaves, Florence Mills knew at an early age that she loved to sing, and that her sweet, bird-like voice, resonated with those who heard her. Performing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired everyone from songwriters ...

"Something Happened In Our Town" By Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, And Ann Hazzard, Illustrated By Jennifer Zivoin

Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one white, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives ...

"I Am Not A Number" By Jenny Kay Dupuis And Kathy Kacer, Illustrated By Gillian Newland

When Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school, she is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite being told to do otherwise. When she goes home for summer holidays, her parents decide ...

"The Legendary Miss Lena Horne" By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated By Elizabeth Zunon

Celebrate the life of Lena Horne, the pioneering African American actress and civil rights activist, with this inspiring and powerful picture book from award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford. Lena Horne was born into the freedom struggle, to a family of teachers and activists. Her mother dreamed of being an actress ...

"My Hair Is A Garden" By Cozbi A. Cabrera

After a day of being taunted by classmates about her unruly hair, Mackenzie can’t take any more and she seeks guidance from her wise and comforting neighbor, Miss Tillie. Using the beautiful garden in the backyard as a metaphor, Miss Tillie shows Mackenzie that maintaining healthy hair is not ...

"Viola Desmond Won’T Be Budged!" By Jody Nyasha Warner And Richard Rudnicki

In 1946, Viola Desmond bought a movie ticket at the Roseland Theatre in Nova Scotia. After settling into a main floor seat, an usher came by and told her to move, because her ticket was only good for the balcony. She offered to pay the difference in price but was ...

"Dreamers" By Yuyi Morales

In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed. She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams. . . and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist ...

"The Day You Begin" By Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated By Rafael López

A 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 ...

"Young Water Protectors: A Story About Standing Rock" By Aslan And Kelly Tudor

At the not-so-tender age of 8, Aslan arrived in North Dakota to help stop a pipeline. A few months later he returned — and saw the whole world watching. Read about his inspiring experiences in the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock. Learn about what exactly happened there, and why. Be ...

"Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’S Fight For Desegregation" By Duncan Tonatiuh

Almost 10 years before Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. Mendez, an American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, was denied enrollment to a “whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Latinx community and filing a ...

"Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe And The Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army" By Art Coulson, Illustrated By Nick Hardcastle

In the autumn of 1912, the football team from Carlisle Indian Industrial School took the field at the U.S. Military Academy, home to the better-equipped West Points Cadets. Sportswriters billed the game as a sort of rematch, pitting against each other the descendants of U.S. soldiers and American ...

"The Undefeated" By Kwame Alexander And Kadir Nelson

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 ...

"Malcom Little: The Boy Who Grew Up To Become Malcolm X" By Ilyasah Shabazz; Illustrated By Ag Ford

Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice. Bolstered by the love and wisdom of his large, warm family, young Malcolm ...

“She Did It!: 21 Women Who Changed The Way We Think” By Emily Arnold Mccully

(2018): Prepare to discover new heroes among these twenty-one women who challenged the status quo, championed others, and made their voices heard. From Jane Addams to Alice Waters, from groundbreaking artists and social justice advocates to scientific pioneers and business innovators, a strong thread of trailblazing women runs through American ...

"Real Giraffes Wear High-Heel Shoes" By Maria Ashworth

(2018): Some boys like to wear pink and some girls like to play with trucks. So why can’t a giraffe wear high heel shoes? Sami, the giraffe loves to do everything in high heel shoes. The herd cannot accept Sami’s refusal to not stand in bare hooves. One ...

"The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore" By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

In Lewis' father's bookstore people bought and read books, and they also learned from each other. People swapped and traded ideas and talked about how things could change. They came together here all because of his father's book itch. Read the story of how the bookstore fostered new ...

"Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans" By Don Brown

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three ...

"Last Stop On Market Street" By Matt De La Peña

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 ...

"Mama's Nightingale: A Story Of Immigration And Separation" By Edwidge Danticat

A touching tale of parent-child separation and immigration, from a National Book Award finalist. After Saya's mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother's warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them while she’s in ...

"Full Cicada Moon" By Marilyn Hilton

Inside Out and Back Again meets One Crazy Summer and Brown Girl Dreaming in this novel-in-verse about fitting in and standing up for what’s rightIt's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly ...

"Funny Bones: Posada And His Day Of The Dead Calaveras" By Duncan Tonatiuh

Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much ...

"Trombone Shorty" By Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews

Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.Along ...

"New Shoes" By Susan Lynn Meyer

When her brother's hand-me-down shoes don't fit, it is time for Ella Mae to get new ones. She is ecstatic, but when she and her mother arrive at Mr. Johnson's shoe store, her happiness quickly turns to dejection. Ella Mae is forced to wait when a customer ...

"The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts To Teach The Craft Of Writing" By Ruth Culham

It's been said that good writers borrow while great writers steal. Writing thieves read widely, dive deeply into texts, and steal bits and pieces from great texts as models for their own writing. Ruth Culham admits to being a writing thief-and she wants you and your students to become ...

"I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark" By Debbie Levy

“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”                            -Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This true story shares the path that Ruth took to make her mark on our judicial system. This masterful book about an influential ...

"The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation On Trial" By Susan E. Goodman

Sarah Roberts deserved an equal education, and her family fought for change. They made history. Roberts v. City of Boston was the first case challenging our legal system to outlaw segregated schools. It was the first time an African American lawyer argued in a supreme court. These first steps set ...

"Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story" By Caren Stelson

This striking work of narrative nonfiction tells the true story of six-year-old Sachiko Yasui’s survival of the Nagasaki atomic bomb on August 9, 1945, and the heartbreaking and lifelong aftermath. This special book offers readers a remarkable new perspective on the final moments of World War II, the fifty ...

"Brave Girl: Clara And The Shirtwaist Makers' Strike Of 1909" By Michelle Markel

As a young immigrant girl, Clara Lemlich lands in New York City “dirt poor, just five feet tall, and hardly speaks a word of English.” Her father is unable to find work, but Clara does as a seamstress in a garment factory. Full of grit and determination, Clara recognizes the ...

The Bobbin Girl By Emily Arnold Mccully

"Beautifully composed watercolor paintings give a vivid impression of America in the 1830s and bring the period to life. A useful book for history units."                                    -BooklistRebecca Putney is a bobbin girl who helps support her struggling family by working all day in a cotton mill. Working conditions at the mill ...

Ruth And The Green Book By Calvin Alexander Ramsey

Ruth was so excited to take a trip in the new family car! But she soon found out that black travelers weren’t treated well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to black people. Finally, a friendly gas station attendant gave Ruth’s family The Green ...