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.
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|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.|