Diverse Summer Reading List
Lee & Low Books is committed to meeting the needs of educators by providing award-winning, diverse books for today’s young readers! Check out our selection of summer reading books for purchase below, and find FREE resources including Teacher Guides, Lesson Plans, Activity Kits, and more.
Download a shareable PDF of this list here.
For more information about building a culturally diverse library or a customized quote, please contact email@example.com.
|THE BUDDY BENCH • written by Gwendolyn Hooks, illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez • Padma and her friends create a buddy bench, where kids can sit if they feel lonely and need a friend.|
|FOLLOW THAT MAP! • written by Sheri Tan, illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez • Pablo is excited to help his friends find the best route to Coney Island by using different transportation maps.|
|THE PERFECT GIFT • written by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez • Mei’s little brother is turning 100 days old, and Mei is determined to find the perfect gift for his special day.|
|THE GARDEN • written by Gwendolyn Hooks, illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez • Lily and her friends volunteer to help at the public garden, where they learn that plants need water, sun, and—just like them—time to grow.
|RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC • written and illustrated by Lulu Delacre • The curious, fun-loving tree frog siblings explore the bomba, plena, and salsa music traditions of Puerto Rico. Also available in Spanish.|
|RAFI AND ROSI • written and illustrated by Lulu Delacre • Rafi amazes Rosi with magic he finds everywhere in nature, but he needs her help when his hermit crab runs away. Also available in Spanish.|
|RAFI AND ROSI CARNIVAL! • written and illustrated by Lulu Delacre • Rafi and Rosi celebrate Puerto Rico’s joyous holiday, Carnival. Also available in Spanish.|
|RAFI AND ROSI PIRATES! • written and illustrated by Lulu Delacre • Rafi and Rosi explore Puerto Rico’s famous El Morro Fort and learn about its Spanish history, treasure, and pirates. Also available in Spanish|
A SPACE FOR ME • written and illustrated by Cathryn Falwell • Alex needs a break from his pesky little brother, Lucas, so he creates a space for himself, but soon realizes that he and Lucas need time together too.
|UNDER MY HIJAB • written by Hena Khan, illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel • As a young girl enjoys the many female connections in her life, readers come to understand and appreciate the hijab and the Muslim women who choose to wear it.|
|ZOMBIES DON’T EAT VEGGIES • written and illustrated by Megan and Jorge Lacera • In this delightful debut by a talented husband-and-wife team, Mo Romero is a zombie with a deep, dark secret . . . he loves vegetables! Also available in Spanish.|
|WHEN AIDAN BECAME A BROTHER • written by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita • This sweet #ownvoices picture book celebrates the changes in a transgender boy’s life, from his initial coming-out to becoming a big brother.|
|SUMO JOE • written by Mia Wenjen, illustrated by Nat Iwata • Fists, feet, and martial art forms collide in this sweet yet spirited rhyming story about Sumo Joe who is torn between the two things he’s best at—sumo, and being a big brother to his little sister.|
TODOS IGUALES/ALL EQUAL: UN CORRIDO DE/A BALLAD OF LEMON GROVE • written and illustrated by Christy Hale • The true story of the 1931 Lemon Grove Case, in which Mexican families in southern California won the first school desegregation case in United States history. Bilingual English/Spanish.
|THE UNSTOPPABLE GARRETT MORGAN: INVENTOR, ENTREPRENEUR, HERO • written by Joan DiCicco, illustrated by Ebony Glenn • Garrett Morgan, a prolific African American inventor and entrepreneur, must test his latest invention in a daring rescue after an explosion at the Cleveland Waterworks.|
|DREAM BUILDER: THE STORY OF ARCHITECT PHILIP FREELON • written by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Laura Freeman • You’ve seen the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Now meet the man whose life went into building it.|
|JULIETA AND THE DIAMOND ENIGMA • written by Luisana Duarte Armendáriz • Nine-year-old Julieta is in Paris when she and her Dad walk in on a thief stealing the Regent Diamond. Can Julieta determine who the thief really is before it’s too late?|
|THE STORY OF CIVIL WAR HERO ROBERT SMALLS • written by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Duane Smith • Meet Robert Smalls, an enslaved steamboat wheelman who commandeered a Confederate ship during the Civil War and escaped to freedom with his family and crew.|
|THE STORY OF OLYMPIC DIVER SAMMY LEE • written by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Dom Lee • Meet Sammy Lee, a Korean American diver who was the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal.|
|THE STORY OF ENVIRONMENTALIST WANGARI MAATHAI • written by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler • Meet Wangari Maathai, the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize.|
|THE STORY OF ALL-STAR ATHLETE JIM THORPE • written by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by S. D. Nelson • Meet Jim Thorpe, an exceptional athlete with natural talent and the first Native American Indian to win an Olympic gold medal.|
|THE STORY OF BANKER OF THE PEOPLE MUHAMMAD YUNUS • written by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamil Akib • Meet Muhammad Yunus, who revolutionized global anti-poverty efforts by developing the innovative economic concept of micro-lending.|
|THE STORY OF TRAILBLAZING ACTOR IRA ALDRIDGE • written by Glenda Armand, illustrated by Floyd Cooper • Meet Ira Aldridge, an African American actor considered one of the greatest Shakespearean performers of the nineteenth century and an advocate for the abolitionist movement in the United States.|
|ON THESE MAGIC SHORES • written by Yamile Saied Méndez • When Mamá fails to return home after her evening job, it is up to 12-year-old Minerva to take care of her younger sisters and hold the family together all while trying to act in her school’s play of Peter Pan.|
|REBEL SEOUL • written by Axie Oh • When Jaewon is assigned to partner with supersoldier Tera in Neo Seoul’s top weapons development division, he must decide where he stands: with the people his rebel father protected or with the totalitarian government that claims it will end all war.|
|THE MAGNOLIA SWORD • written by Sherry Thomas • Bestselling author Sherry Thomas weaves an enthralling #ownvoices retelling of a story that has thrilled readers for centuries: the Ballad of Mulan.|
|INDIAN NO MORE • written by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell • Set in the 1950s, a ten-year-old Umpqua girl and her family’s tribal rights are terminated and they must relocate from their reservation in Oregon to Los Angeles, where they are expected to assimilate.|
|I REMEMBER • compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins • In a celebration of diversity and family, fourteen poets and sixteen illustrators of diverse backgrounds share memorable childhood experiences and reflect upon their different heritages, traditions, and beliefs.|
|RISE!: FROM CAGED BIRD TO POET OF THE PEOPLE, MAYA ANGELOU • written by Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Tonya Engel • Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian--Maya Angelou's life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya's life to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.|
ALL THE STARS DENIED • written by Guadalupe García McCall • Guadalupe García McCall tackles the hidden history of the United States’s first mass deportation event, which swept up hundreds of thousands of Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression.
|GRAND THEFT HORSE • written by G. Neri, illustrated by Corban Wilkin • Author G. Neri shares the powerful story of his cousin Gail Ruffu, who stole a racehorse in order to save it, and ended up taking on the whole racing industry to fight for the humane treatment of animals.|
|I AM ALFONSO JONES • written by Tony Medina, illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings • Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give: An unflinching graphic novel about the afterlife of a young man killed by an off-duty police officer, co-illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist John Jennings.|
|SUMMER OF THE MARIPOSAS • written by Guadalupe García McCall • In this creative telling of The Odyssey, fifteen-year-old Odilia and her younger sisters embark on a journey to return a dead man to his family in Mexico, and must outwit monsters and witches to make it back home again. Also available in Spanish.|