10+ Books That Promote Tolerance and Diversity

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Books have a way of sparking empathy, drawing readers into the lives of characters who may be different from themselves—or different from other characters in the story. Kids walk in others' shoes as these characters navigate the school bus, deal with bullies, fall in love, face physical or mental challenges, or have fantastical adventures in another time or galaxy. It's a diverse world, and these books reflect the view that we're all in it together.
10+ Books That Promote Tolerance and Diversity

The Invisible Boy

By Trudy Ludwig

Age 6+

Kind tale of empathy shows how to reach out to left-out kid.

Blackbird Fly

By Erin Entrada Kelly

Ages 9+

Super relatable heroine, lots of middle school drama.

Full Cicada Moon

By Marilyn Hilton

Age 9+

Girl beats stereotypes in powerful free-verse novel.

Stella by Starlight

By Sharon M. Draper

Age 9+

Compelling, nuanced tale of loving family under segregation.

Better Nate Than Ever

By Tim Federle

Age 10+

Terrific tale of misfit taking bold step to remake his life.

Wonder

By R.J. Palacio

Age 11+

Moving, uplifting tale of disfigured boy with inner beauty.

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A few tolerance and diversity themed books from Boyds Mills Press, Highlights' own publishing house:

Garvey's Choice

Garvey's Choice

By Nikki Grimes

Ages 8-12

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.

Dorothea's Eyes

Dorothea's Eyes

By Barb Rosenstock; illlustrated by Gerard DuBois

Ages 8-12

From the time she was a little girl, Dorothea Lange saw the world with her eyes and her heart. She knew, before she ever held a camera, that she was born to be a photographer, despite the fact that girls weren’t supposed to have that type of job and that polio made it difficult for her to walk. Dorothea deliberately blended into the background to take her pictures. She used her photographs to tell the stories of the people the world ignored—the homeless, the jobless, the poor. This powerful and inspiring biography tells the emotional story of Lange’s evolution as one of the founders of documentary photography, and includes a gallery of Lange’s photographs, author’s note, timeline, and bibliography.

Answering the Cry for Freedom

Answering the Cry for Freedom

By Gretchen Woelfle; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Ages 9-12

Even as American Patriots fought for independence from British rule during the Revolutionary War, oppressive conditions remained in place for the thousands of enslaved and free African Americans living in this country. But African Americans took up their own fight for freedom by joining the British and American armies; preaching, speaking out, and writing about the evils of slavery; and establishing settlements in Nova Scotia and Africa. The thirteen stories featured in this collection spotlight charismatic individuals who answered the cry for freedom, focusing on the choices they made and how they changed America both then and now. Includes individual bibliographies and timelines, author note, and source notes.

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