Reading List

Student Reading List

Browse our Reading List for Student Global Citizens.

Taking Care of Mother Earth

by Leanne Flett Kruger, Marie-Micheline Hamelin

Charlie and Grandma are doing chores around the house. While doing the chores, Grandma shares loving stories with Charlie about how to take care of mother earth.

No Difference Between Us: Teach Children about Gender Equality, Respectful Relationships, Feelings, Choice, Self-Esteem, Empathy, Tolerance

by Jayneen Sanders 

Jess and Ben are twins. Jess is a girl and Ben is a boy but in all the BIG ways, there is NO difference between them!
Explore with the children in your care the important issues of gender equality and respectful relationships. Combining cheerful illustrations and a simple but effective narrative, this book will help children to understand that, fundamentally, there is no difference between us.
This book encourages equality and respect for each other from the earliest of years. In order to reduce gender-based violence we need to teach gender equality and respectful relationships to young children. What better way than through a picture storybook? Children are visual learners and the match between illustration and text in this story will assist them to understand that we are all human - everyone feels, and everyone has hopes and dreams. Our gender should be and needs to be irrelevant.
Throughout the text, open-ended questions are provided on each spread so children have the opportunity to talk about their own experiences - allowing the child to have a voice. There are more in-depth Discussion Questions on pages 30 and 31 encouraging the reader and the child to think about each scenario, and engage with the message.

Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa

by Jeanette Winter

As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari was surrounded by trees. But years later when she returns home, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down, and she knows that soon all the trees will be destroyed. So Wangari decides to do something—and starts by planting nine seedlings in her own backyard. And as they grow, so do her plans. . . .

This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shining example of how one woman’s passion, vision, and determination inspired great change.

A Child's Garden; a Story of Hope

by Michael Foreman

For a boy in a war ravaged world, nurturing a fragile vine has far reaching effects in this simple, universal fable of hope and connection.
A little boy’s home has been reduced to ruin and rubble, and now a wire fence and soldiers separate him from the streams and hills he once visited with his father. But the boy sees a tiny speck of green peeping up toward the sunlight, and he quietly begins to coax it with water and care. What sort of promise can a vine’s spreading tendrils bring to a bleak landscape? A beautifully illustrated tale of healing and renewal from a world-acclaimed children’s book creator, A Child’s Garden pays gentle tribute to the human spirit. 

Every Day Is Malala Day

by Rosemary McCarney, Plan International

A letter of sisterhood to Malala Yousafzai expressing the belief that every girl has the right to go to school. This beautiful collection of photographs from international agency Plan brings together its "Because I am a Girl" message with the powerful presence of Malala Yousafzai. After being shot for the simple act of going to school in her native Pakistan, Malala has become an international girls' rights icon and a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The book is written as a letter from girls around the world to Malala, as they express their sympathy, sisterhood and admiration for her. These girls, too, know the barriers that stand in the way of a girl going to school. For some it is poverty, for others, early marriage, discrimination or violence. In Malala, they recognize a leader and a friend. A powerful tool for social justice education and for commemorating July 12, Malala's birthday, recognized by the UN as Malala Day and celebrated around the world. A portion of proceeds will go to Plan's Because I am a Girl campaign.

Think Fair Trade First!

by Ingrid Hess

Stella and Henry are searching for the perfect birthday gift for their mother. With the help of Aunt Mabel, the two children discover the world of Fair Trade and learn about how shopping wisely can help improve many people's lives around the world.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference

by Katie Smith Milway

Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many.

After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen.

A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo's farm grows to become the largest in the region.

Kojo's story is inspired by the life of Kwabena Darko, who as a boy started a tiny poultry farm just like Kojo's, which later grew to be the largest in Ghana, and one of the largest in west Africa. Kwabena also started a trust that gives out small loans to people who cannot get a loan from a bank.

One Hen shows what happens when a little help makes a big difference. The final pages of One Hen explain the microloan system and include a list of relevant organizations for children to explore.

One Hen is part of CitizenKid: A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.

The Other Way to Listen

by Byrd Baylor

With a lot of practice, a young boy learns from his old teacher how to listen to the sounds and songs of the natural world.
When you know “the other way to listen,” you can hear the wild-flower seed bursting open. You hear rocks murmuring and hills singing, and it seems like the most natural thing in the world. Of course, it takes a lot of practice, and you can’t be in a hurry. Most people never hear these things at all.

This is the story of an old man who had a special way of hearing and of a child who hoped to learn his secrets. Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall have combined their unique, award-winning talents to celebrate the world of nature.  

How Are We the Same and Different?

by Bobbie Kalman

We are the same because we are all human beings. We are mammals, primates, and intelligent vertebrates, who are born, grow, change, and die. We are also the same because we are all different. We have thoughts, ideas, beliefs, talents, and dreams, but how we think and act makes us who we are. Children often feel that they need to be the same as everyone else. That is the main reason for unhappiness. Do we see our differences as reasons for judgment and fighting? How can we view the different ways of others as things to enjoy, rather than criticize? This book encourages children to honor their own uniqueness and that of others through new ideas and positive actions.

The Name Jar

by Yangsook Choi 

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.

Notes from Canada's Young Activists: A Generation Stands Up for Change

by Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Kris Frederickson

In this compilation, young citizens describe the moments they were inspired to pursue their passions to improve their world. Their methods and causes are diverse, and their stories highlight their innovative ways of identifying and addressing problems in society. The achievements here are impressive, from Craig Kielburger lOCOs founding of Free the Children to raise awareness of child labor to Lyndsay Poaps becoming the youngest elected official in Vancouver history. These stories counter the myth of youth as self-absorbed slackers, presenting a bracing new generation of activist leaders."

What Does It Mean To Be Global?

by Rana DiOrio

Can you say “hello” in nine languages? You can! Join children from around the world as they play, sing, and travel, trying all types of food and experiencing other traditions. Living respectfully and peacefully with one another, they celebrate diversity, see how their actions affect another person’s experience, and come to understand that being global means being a citizen of the world. 


by Peter Spier

With updated statistics and current geographical information, People by Peter Spier, first published in 1980, is a solid addition to any collection. Detailed facts and figures as well as a focus on the issue of diversity make this a great book for reference and a basis for discussion, both at home and in the classroom.

I'm Like You, You're Like Me: A Book About Understanding and Appreciating Each Other

by Cindy Gainer

It’s fun to find ways I’m like you and you’re like me. It’s fun to find ways we’re different.” In this colorful, inviting book, kids from preschool to lower elementary learn about diversity in terms they can understand: hair that’s straight or curly, families with many people or few, bodies that are big or small. With its wide-ranging examples and fun, highly detailed art, I’m Like You, You’re Like Me helps kids appreciate the ways they are alike and affirm their individual differences. A two-page adult section in the back provides tips and activities for parents and caregivers to reinforce the themes and lessons of the book.

We All Sing with the Same Voice

By J. Philip Miller,Sheppard M. Greene,

First featured as a song on the widely popular Sesame Street, the beloved educational children’s television show, We All Sing with the Same Voice is a joyous read-aloud that embraces the notion that no matter where children live or what they look like, they’re all the same where it counts—at heart!

With colorful illustrations from Geisel Honor-winning artist Paul Meisel, this celebration of love and respect has been noted by many teachers and parents as a top pick for teaching empathy.

Children Around the World

by Donata Montanari 

No matter where they live, children are always curious about the world. But nothing proves more fascinating to them than other children. Exploring the themes of commonality and diversity, this informational picture book introduces young readers to 12 children from around the world. Speaking in the first person, the children briefly describe such things as the language, food, clothing, schooling and daily life of their region.

One of the most appealing aspects of this book is the artwork, which features the use of fabric, paper, mesh, string and felt in multimedia collage. Through the use of colors and textures, each child emerges with a distinctive and endearing personality.

Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan

by Jeanette Winter

Renowned picture book creator Jeanette Winter tells the story of a young girl in Afghanistan who attends a secret school for girls.
Young Nasreen has not spoken a word to anyone since her parents disappeared.

In despair, her grandmother risks everything to enroll Nasreen in a secret school for girls. Will a devoted teacher, a new friend, and the worlds she discovers in books be enough to draw Nasreen out of her shell of sadness?

Based on a true story from Afghanistan, this inspiring book will touch readers deeply as it affirms both the life-changing power of education and the healing power of love. 

Mimi's Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It

by Katie Smith Milway

In this newest addition to the CitizenKid collection of inspiring stories from around the globe, Mimi Malaho and her family help bring basic health care to their community. By making small changes like sleeping under mosquito nets and big ones like building a clinic with outside help, the Malahos and their neighbors transform their Kenyan village from one afraid of illness to a thriving community. "A great resource for introducing children to the issues surrounding global health and empowering them to get involved." — Ophelia Dahl, Executive Director, Partners In Health 

I Am Enough

by Grace Byers

This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

Hair Love

by Matthew A. Cherry

When mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to do his daughter’s hair in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestseller Vashti Harrison.

Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When mommy does Zuri’s hair, she feels like a superhero. But when mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to step in! And even though daddy has a lot to learn, he LOVES his Zuri. And he’ll do anything to make her—and her hair—happy.

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair—and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.


by Lupita Nyong'o

From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty. 

The Proudest Blue

by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali 

A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school--and two sisters on one's first day of hijab--by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It's the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it's her older sister Asiya's first day of hijab--a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.

Paired with Hatem Aly's beautiful, whimsical art, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali bring readers an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are. 

The Undefeated

by Kwame Alexander

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 to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.

The Milestones Project: Celebrating Childhood Around the World

by Richard Steckel

A Tribute to our Shared Humanity best friend. A lost tooth. A first day of school. These moments are milestones of childhood that all boys and girls experience. Every child. Everywhere.

Peace One Day

by Jeremy Gilley

One day, a lightbulb went off in Jeremy Gilley's head: there should be one day each year when the world stops fighting and celebrates peace. And he did much more than just think about it. He traveled the globe, meeting with leaders such as Kofi Annan, Amre Moussa, Shimon Peres, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Jeremy's enthusiasm and tireless efforts convinced the governments of the world to change the UN International Day of Peace from a day that moved each year and didn't actually require anyone to stop fighting into a cease-fire day of nonviolence that would fall on September 21 every year.

This amazing story touches on the causes of war, what would happen on a cease-fire day, ways to promote peace on September 21, and most important, how a single person can make a difference in the world.

I Will Make Miracles

by Susie Morgenstern

Children everywhere know that our world needs fixing, but it is the rare author who can put herself in children's shoes, and capture their complicated feelings in words. Susie Morgenstern has a gift for taking serious subjects and making sure they're clever, touching, and never too heavy. In this striking new picture book, she tackles the penetrating question Who is taking care of our world?
When a little boy is asked What do you want to do when you grow up? he dreams of improving the world in wonderful ways-but realizes in the end that even the biggest dreams need to start small. Evocative art, hauntingly reminiscent of Maurice Sendak's classic In the Night Kitchen, illuminates the simple but inspiring story. 

Lily and the Paper Man

by Rebecca Upjohn

Walking with her mother on the way home from school one day, Lily runs straight into a gruff and untidy-looking man selling papers on the street. Frightened, Lily insists on taking the bus home every day for fear she will run into him again. But when the weather turns cold, Lily starts to see the Paper Man differently; she sees his bare toes through the holes in his boots and his thin shirt through the holes in his coat. As she lies in her warm bed at night, she wonders about the Paper Man and how he stays warm. Lily comes up with an idea and overcomes her fear. 

The Lorax

by Dr. Seuss

"UNLESS someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going to get better...It's not." Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth's natural beauty. His classic cautionary tale is now available in an irresistible mini-edition, perfect for backpack or briefcase, for Arbor Day, Earth Day, and every day.

Four Feet, Two Sandals

by Karen Lynn Williams,Khadra Mohammed

When relief workers bring used clothing to the refugee camp, everyone scrambles to grab whatever they can. Ten-year-old Lina is thrilled when she finds a sandal that fits her foot perfectly, until she sees that another girl has the matching shoe. But soon Lina and Feroza meet and decide that it is better to share the sandals than for each to wear only one. As the girls go about their routines washing clothes in the river, waiting in long lines for water, and watching for their names to appear on the list to go to America the sandals remind them that frie ndship is what is most important. Four Feet, Two Sandals was inspired by a refugee girl who asked the authors why there were no books about children like her. With warm colors and sensitive brush strokes, this book portrays the strength, courage, and hope of refugees around the world, whose daily existence is marked by uncertainty and fear. 

One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists

by Janet Wilson 

One Peace celebrates the Power of One, and specifically the accomplishments of children from around the globe who have worked to promote world peace. Janet Wilson challenges today's children to strive to make a difference in this beautifully illustrated, fact-filled and fascinating volume of portraits of many heroes for today. Canadian Craig Kielburger, who started Free the Children to help victims of child labor at the age of twelve, has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Farlis Calle, forced to identify the body of a young friend-a victim of her country's civil war-started the Columbia Children's Movement for Peace. At age ten, Kimmie Weeks, a refugee from the Liberian civil war, came within a whisper of being buried in a mass grave. Almost miraculously he survived and vowed to make a difference in the lives of other children. At thirteen he established Voices of the Future, Liberia's first child rights advocacy group. Other portraits feature the accomplishments of children from Sarajevo, Japan, the United Kingdom, Cambodia, Afghanistan and the United States. These moving testaments to the courage and initiative of youth will inspire readers young and old.

The Matatu

by Eric Walters

Kioko had been watching the matatus come and go for as long as he could remember. But today, for his fifth birthday, he climbs aboard one with his grandfather. As the matatu pulls away from the market, the village dogs chase after them. When Kioko asks his grandfather why the dogs always bark and chase after matatus, his grandfather tells him an entertaining tale about a dog, a goat and a sheep. Set in East Africa, The Matatu is a colorful story filled with many unexpected turns and twists along the way.

My Name Is Blessing

by Eric Walters

Based on the life of a real boy, this warm-hearted, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Baraka, a young Kenyan boy with a physical disability. Baraka and eight cousins live with their grandmother. She gives them boundless love, but there is never enough money or food, and life is hard --love doesn't feed hungry stomachs or clothe growing bodies, or school keen minds. Baraka is too young, and, with his disability, needs too much, and she is too old. A difficult choice must be made, and grandmother and grandchild set off on a journey to see if there is a place at the orphanage for Baraka. The story begins by looking at Baraka's physical disability as a misfortune, but ends by looking beyond the disability, to his great heart and spirit, and the blessings he brings.

One World, One Day

by Barbara Kerley

One World, One Day uses exquisite, moving photographs and Barbara Kerley’s poetic text to convey a simple yet profound concept: we are one global family. This is a sophisticated concept book, presented as an elegant picture book with contributions from top international photographers.

This beautiful photo book follows the course of one day in our world. Sunrise to sunset is captured in the essential things we all do daily, wherever we live in the world, and in the different ways we do them. The first meal of the day will take on a whole new dimension for American kids as an American pancake breakfast is contrasted with porridge in North Korea and churros in Spain.

At the end, each image is reprinted as a thumbnail and accompanied by a detailed caption. Selected images feature photographers’ notes that share the thoughts and methodology involved in the making of the picture and reveal fascinating behind-the-scenes information. The photographers reflect on how the pictures might resonate within the theme of the global family. Such reflections are rooted in the life experiences of these well-traveled professionals. Their global viewpoints, in tandem with Barbara Kerley’s powerful message, set an ideal example for all future world citizens. 

Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World

by Susan Hughes 

When North American kids picture a school, odds are they see rows of desks, stacks of textbooks, and linoleum hallways. They probably don’t picture caves, boats, or train platforms — but there are schools in caves, and on boats and on train platforms. There’s a whole world of unusual schools out there!

But the most amazing thing about these schools isn’t their location or what they look like. It’s that they provide a place for students who face some of the toughest environmental and cultural challenges, and live some of the most unique lifestyles, to learn. Education is not readily available for kids everywhere, and many communities are strapped for the resources that would make it easier for kids to go to school. In short, it’s not always easy getting kids off to class — but people around the world are finding creative ways to do it.

In Off to Class, readers will travel to dozens of countries to visit some of these incredible schools, and, through personal interviews, meet the students who attend them, too. And their stories aren't just inspiring — they'll also get kids to think about school and the world in a whole new way.

Our Rights: How Kids Are Changing the World

by Janet Wilson

This around-the-world tour introduces readers to children who have taken on the role of social activist, fighting for human rights and social justice in countries as diverse as Yemen and Congo, Canada and the United States. Ten children receive main profiles, and over a dozen others are featured in smaller sidebars. Anita Khushwaha fought against gender and class bias in her community in India. Emman Bagual founded Mind Your Rights to fight child labor in the Philippines. Zach Bonner walked 1,000 miles to raise awareness about homeless children in the United States. A diverse range of other issues is covered, including aboriginal rights, human trafficking and child soldiers, and the full United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child can be found alongside tips for how kids everywhere can make a difference.

You Are Stardust

by Elin Kelsey

You Are Stardust begins by introducing the idea that every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born. From its opening pages, the book suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world; it compares the way we learn to speak to the way baby birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests. Award-winning author Elin Kelsey — along with a number of concerned parents and educators around the world — believes children are losing touch with nature. This innovative picture book aims to reintroduce children to their innate relationship with the world around them by sharing many of the surprising ways that we are all connected to the natural world.

Grounded in current science, this extraordinary picture book provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations and wonder about some big ideas. Soyeon Kim’s incredible diorama art enhances the poetic text, and her creative process is explored in full on the reverse side of the book’s jacket, which features comments from the artist. Young readers will want to pore over each page of this book, exploring the detailed artwork and pondering the message of the text, excited to find out just how connected to the Earth they really are.

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People

by David J. Smith

The 2nd Edition of the best-selling book which has sold over 400 000 copies in 17 languages -- updated with new content and insights about the world's people. First published to wide acclaim in 2002, this eye-opening book has since become a classic, promoting "world-mindedness" by imagining the world's population -- all 6.8 billion of us -- as a village of just 100 people. Now, If the World Were a Village has been newly revised with updated statistics, several new activities and completely new material on food security, energy and health. By exploring the lives of the 100 villagers, children will discover that life in other nations is often very different from their own. If the World Were a Village is part of CitizenKid: A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.

Miss Rumphius

by Barbara Cooney

Barbara Cooney's story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication.

To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of two-time Caldecott winner Barbara Cooney's best-loved book, the illustrations have been originated, going back to the original art to ensure state-of-the-art reproduction of Cooney's exquisite artwork. The art for Miss Rumphius has a permanent home in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

The Roses in My Carpets

by Rukhsana Khan 

For a young refugee living with loss and terror-filled memories, time is measured by the next bucket of water, the next portion of bread, and the next call to prayer. Here, where everything - walls, floor, courtyard - is mud, a boy's heart can still long for freedom, independence, and safety. And here, where life is terribly fragile, the strength to endure grows out of need. But the strength to dreams comes from within. 

Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education

by Elizabeth Suneby

Razia dreams of getting an education, but in her small village in Afghanistan, girls haven't been allowed to attend school for many years. When a new girls' school opens in the village, a determined Razia must convince her father and oldest brother that educating her would be best for her, their family and their community. Razia's Ray of Hope is the latest inspiring story from the?CitizenKid collection. It is based on the true stories of the?students of the Zabuli Education Center for Girls just outside?of Kabul, founded by a generous and resourceful woman named?Razia Jan, a CNN hero, who also appears in the story.

If You Could Wear My Sneakers

by Sheree Fitch, Darcia LaBrosse

Sheree Fitch and Darcia Labrosse raise global awareness of the rights of children in this delightful collection of poems interpreting fifteen of the 54 articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. A quiz at the end of the book allows children, with the guidance of teachers or parents, to match the poem and illustration to the appropriate Convention article.

14 Cows for America

by Carmen Agra Deedy, Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah

In June of 2002, a ceremony begins in a village in western Kenya. Hundreds of Maasai surround an American diplomat to bestow a gift on the American people. The gift is as unsought and unexpected as it is extraordinary. A mere nine months have passed since the September 11 attacks, and hearts are raw. Tears flow freely as these legendary warriors offer their gift to a grieving people half a world away. Word of the gift will travel news wires around the globe. Many will be profoundly touched, but for Americans, this selfless gesture will have deeper meaning still. For a heartsick nation, the gift of fourteen cows emerges from the choking dust and darkness as a soft light of hope and friendship. Master storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy hits all the right notes in this story of generosity that crosses boundaries, nations, and cultures. An afterword by Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, the Maasai warrior at the center of the story, provides additional information about his tribe and their generosity. Thomas Gonzalez's stunning paintings are saturated with rich hues of oranges and browns and blues and greens, which capture the nobility of the Maasai people and the distinctive landscape of the African plain.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

by Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson's Heart and Soul is the winner of numerous awards, including the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor, and the recipient of five starred reviews.

The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it's about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it's about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It's a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination, and triumphs.

Told through the unique point of view and intimate voice of a one-hundred-year-old African-American female narrator, this inspiring book demonstrates that in gaining their freedom and equal rights, African Americans helped our country achieve its promise of liberty and justice—the true heart and soul of our nation.

Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together

by Herb Shoveller

It costs a lot of money to build a well in Africa --- a lot more than Ryan Hreljac had thought. Still, the six year old kept doing chores around his parents' house, even after he learned it could take him years to earn enough money. Then a friend of the family wrote an article in the local newspaper about Ryan's wish to build a well to supply people with safe, clean water. Before long, ripples of goodwill began spreading. People started sending money to help pay for Ryan's well. Ryan was interviewed on television. His dream of a well became an international news story.

In Agweo, Uganda, villagers were used to walking a long way every day in search of water. What they found was often brown and smelly and made a lot of people sick. But when Ryan's well was built, life in the village changed for the better. A young orphan named Akana Jimmy longed for a chance to thank Ryan in person for this gift of life --- clean water.

When they finally meet, an unbreakable bond unites these boys from very different backgrounds, and a long and sometimes life-threatening journey begins.

Ryan and Jimmy is part of CitizenKid: A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.

I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children

by Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman has drawn from a variety of cultures and peoples to compile these timeless stories, poems, songs, quotations, and folktales that speak to all children to let them know that they can make a difference in today's world.

I Have the Right to Be a Child

by Alain Serres, Aurélia Fronty

With a very simple text accompanied by rich, vibrant illustrations a young narrator describes what it means to be a child with rights -- from the right to food, water and shelter, to the right to go to school, to be free from violence, to breathe clean air, and more. The book emphasizes that these rights belong to every child on the planet, whether they are "black or white, small or big, rich or poor, born here or somewhere else." It also makes evident that knowing and talking about these rights are the first steps toward making sure that they are respected.

A brief afterword explains that the rights outlined in the book come from the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. The treaty sets out the basic human rights that belong to children all over the world, recognizing that children need special protection since they are more vulnerable than adults. It has been ratified by 193 states, with the exception of Somalia, the United States and the new country of South Sudan. Once a state has ratified the document, they are legally bound to comply with it and to report on their efforts to do so. As a result, some progress has been made, not only in awareness of children's rights, but also in their implementation. But there are still many countries, wealthy and poor, where children's basic needs are not being met.

Dear Children of the Earth

by Schim Schimmel

Dear Children of the Earth begins a remarkable letter from Mother Earth asking for help from children everywhere. She writes to express her love for each and every child and asks for their love and appreciation in return. In her own words, and with all of her heart, Mother Earth enfolds children with love and entrusts them with her protection.

How to Build Your Own Country

by Valerie Wyatt

How to Build Your Own Country is an interactive and totally original learning experience that shows kids how to build their very own country from scratch.
This book, the only one of its kind, offers children the expertise and advice they'll need to plant their flag in the backyard, in the bedroom or online. Kids will be amazed to discover that anyone can do it. Nation-building advice is peppered with examples of events that have shaped countries throughout history, teaching young readers about government, elections, geography and global issues.

Backed up with lots of amazing examples of real micronations - some established or ruled by kids - How to Build Your Own Country promises to inspire, entertain and inform young nation-builders.

Want to build your very own country from scratch? It's easy:

Step 1: Stake Out Your Identity ... with a flag, money and a national anthem. Learn how to put your country's name on the map.

Step 2: Run the Country ... with a government, constitution, laws and an economy.

Step 3: Meet the Neighbors ... and join other nations on the big issues that face the whole world, such as poverty, global warming, security and international aid.

How To Build Your Own Country is part of CitizenKid: A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.

Beatrice's Goat

by Page McBrier


More than anything, Beatrice longs to be a schoolgirl. But in her small African village, only children who can afford uniforms and books can go to school. Beatrice knows that with six children to care for, her family is much too poor. But then Beatrice receives a wonderful gift from some people far away -- a goat! Fat and sleek as a ripe mango, Mugisa (which means "luck") gives milk that Beatrice can sell. With Mugisa's help, it looks as if Beatrice's dream may come true after all.

Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter beautifully recount this true story about how one child, given the right tools, is able to lift her family out of poverty. Thanks to Heifer Project International -- a charitable organization that donates livestock to poor communities around the world -- other families like Beatrice's will also have a chance to change their lives.


The Lady in the Box

by Ann McGovern


It is wintertime in the city and freezing cold, but not everyone is inside and warm. Ben and his sister Lizzie know that there is a lady who lives outside in a box over a warm air vent. The children worry about the kind-looking lady, and begin sneaking food and clothes out of their apartment for her. Gently told and powerfully illustrated in rich hues, The Lady in the Box deals candidly with the issue of homelessness. 


Wanting Mor

by Rukhsana Khan 


Jameela and her family live in a poor, war-torn village in Afghanistan. Even with her cleft lip and lack of educational opportunities, Jameela feels relatively secure, sustained by her Muslim faith and the love of her mother, Mor. But when Mor dies, Jameela’s father impulsively decides to start a new life in Kabul. Jameela is appalled as he succumbs to alcohol and drugs, then suddenly remarries, a situation that soon has her a virtual slave to a demanding stepmother. After she’s discovered trying to learn to read, Jameela is abandoned in a busy market, eventually landing in an orphanage run by the same army that killed so many members of her family. Throughout it all, the memory of her mother sustains her, giving Jameela the strength to face her father and stepmother when fate brings them together again. Inspired by a true story, and set in a world far removed from that of Western readers, this powerful novel reveals that the desire for identity and self-understanding is universal. 


What Does It Mean To Be Present?

by Rana DiOrio,


What does being present look like? Noticing when someone in your class needs help and taking the time to help them. Sound like? The rain outside your window. Smell like? Briny seaweed at the beach. Taste like? A bite of orange. Feel like? Allowing the rhythm of your breath, in and out … to make you feel peaceful.

Follow a group of friends at school, at home, and at the beach as they experience just what it means to be present.


Wise at Heart: Children and Adults Share Words of Wisdom

by Brody Hartman, Richard Steckel, Michele Steckel


An inspiring journey around the world in brilliant photographs and wise words - the perfect gift book for children or adults.

With wisdom from more than 400 children and adults including Tom Hanks, Walter Cronkite and Jane Goodall, Wise at Heart will spark conversation and encourage discussions around the dinner table and in the classroom about the important things in life. Parents, grandparents and other caring adults will want to share this beautiful book and their own wisdom with the children around them.

As part of the Milestones Project ( - a globally roving photography exhibit and international movement - Wise at Heart celebrates childhood and speaks to the universal truth that we are all connected. 


You Hold Me Up

by Monique Gray Smith 


This vibrant picture book, beautifully illustrated by celebrated artist Danielle Daniel, encourages children to show love and support for each other and to consider each other's well-being in their everyday actions.

Consultant, international speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote You Hold Me Up to prompt a dialogue among young people, their care providers and educators about reconciliation and the importance of the connections children make with their friends, classmates and families. This is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens. 


Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey

by Doug Kuntz & Amy Shrodes


When a family is forced to leave their home in Iraq, they refuse to leave without their cat, Kunkush. They hide him away on their journey from Iraq to Greece, but once on the crowded boat, his carrier breaks and the terrified cat runs away. The family searches for their beloved cat unsuccessfully, and choose to keep moving, saddened by the disappearance of their pet. In a time of sacrifice, this true story (told by the people involved) demonstrates how a community of people came together to reunite Kunkush with his family when they needed him most. 


Dia’s Story Cloth: The Hmong People’s Journey of Freedom

by Dia Cha


When Dia was a child, she and her family were forced to flee from Laos to Thailand because of the war, where they spent four years in a refugee camp before moving to the U.S. As an important part of Hmong culture, Dia narrates through her “story cloth” (stitched by her uncle and aunt,) sharing her family’s experience of war and their journey to peace and new beginnings in America.


Bamboo People

by Mitali Perkins


This novel follows a Burmese boy named Chiko whose father (a doctor) is imprisoned for resisting the government. When Chiko is forced to fight in the Burmese army, he meets Tu Reh—someone determined to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his home and bamboo fields. As the two lives intersect and the boys learn more about their situation, they discover the true meaning of bravery and compassion along the way.


Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation

by Edwidge Danticat


When Saya’s mom is sent to an immigration detention center, she is comforted by replaying her mother’s voice on the answering machine. While in jail, Mama sends Saya Haitian-inspired bedtime stories on cassette tape to listen to before bed. Inspired by her Mama’s tales and her father’s effort to reunite their family, Saya writes her own story in hopes of bringing Mama back home for good.

The Red Pencil

by Andrea Davis Pinkney 


Janjaweed attack Amira's once-peaceful Sudanese village, she almost loses everything. On foot, the 12-year-old is forced to make the long, frightening journey to the safety of a refugee camp. She faces tough days once she arrives at the camp—that is, until she uses the gift of "a simple red pencil" to open the door to endless possibilities.

The Journey

by Francesca Sanna


This beautifully illustrated book follows a family who become refugees after their home is destroyed by war.

Where Will I Live?

by Rosemary McCarney 


This photobook gives families a look into the lives of refugee children around the world. Despite their hardships, they’re still fun-loving kids, longing for a safe place to call home.


Stepping Stones

by Margriet Ruurs


Rama and her family are forced to flee their village. They take only what they can carry and make their way to Europe to escape a civil war. 

Greetings Leroy

by Itah Sadu


Leroy starts a new school, which is scary enough—but on top of that it’s a new school that is also in a new country. The story explores how Leroy comes to love his new home in Canada, maybe just as much as the one he left behind in Jamaica. 


From Far Away

by Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar


Young Saoussan tells readers a funny story about her first Halloween in a Canadian school. This book was inspired by actual letters Saoussan wrote to Robert Munsch.

Four Feet Two Sandals

by Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed


Two young girls in a refugee camp in Pakistan become friends after they share a single pair of sandals. Readers learn what life in a refugee camp is really like.


by Rebecca Young


A young boy has to find a new home, so he ventures off to sea with only a blanket, a bottle and a cup of earth in a teacup.

Yara, My Friend from Syria

by Alhan Rahimi


Yara has just moved to Canada from Syria, and Oliver and Angela are eager to get to know their new classmate. However, when Yara starts to cry, they don’t know why. This book shows kids how to treat newcomers with patience and respect.


This Is Me

by Jamie Lee Curtis


A teacher challenges her class to imagine packing their whole lives into a single suitcase—what would they choose? 

Two White Rabbits

by Jairo Buitrago


A migrant girl and her dad travel a lot—on trains, cars, trucks and boats—but she’s not quite sure where they’re going. 


The Color of Home

by Mary Hoffman

Hassan, a Somalian refugee, is starting a new school in a new country. He misses his home and is having trouble adjusting—the food is different, class is indoors and it’s cold and damp outside. 


Those Shoes

By Maribeth Boelts


Everyone at school has “those” shoes, and Jeremy wants some, too. But his family can’t afford new shoes and new winter boots at the same time. Eventually, his shoes fall apart, and he finds a pair of the cool ones at the thrift store, but they don’t fit. Rather than stuff his feet into them, he passes them on to a friend. Though reluctant to share at first, he comes to appreciate what he has, and that he was able to help someone else.

Social justice issues it addresses: Economic differences; giving; examination of wants versus needs.



Is There Really a Human Race?


Mindfulness expert Sara Marlowe recommends this book, co-written by the actress Jamie Lee Curtis, that rhymes its way through looking closely at the idea of winners and losers, and helping each other. “It has a really gentle way of teaching about advocacy and sticking up for people,” Marlowe says. “It could launch a conversation about how if you are in a more privileged position you are able to use your position to help others.” 

Social justice issues it addresses: privilege; competitiveness.


The Magic Beads

By Susin Nielsen-Fernlund


Lillian, 7, is starting at a new school, and needs to bring in something for show-and-tell. But Lillian and her mother had to escape an abusive father and now live at a family shelter, and she doesn’t have anything to bring, which makes her incredibly anxious. This is the story of a girl who realizes that despite her lack of possessions, she has the power of imagination to help her. 

Social justice issues it addresses: Gender-based violence; economic inequality.



By Maxine Trottier


Anna’s family are Low German-speaking Mennonites who come to Canada from Mexico each spring to work as farm labourers, since they are unable to make a living at home. This award-winning book with lovely illustrations introduces kids to the effects of migrant work on children and families.

Social justice issues it addresses: Migrant workers; working conditions.


Malaika’s Costume

By Nadia L. Hohn


Shannon Babcock, projector coordinator of Québec Reading Connection, recommends this award-winning picture book about a girl named Malaika who wants a costume for Carnival so she can dance in the parade. Her mother, who had to move away to Canada to find a good job that would support her family, was supposed to send money back for one, but the money doesn’t arrive. Malaika’s grandmother (who is raising her) has a hand-me-down costume that doesn’t quite fit the bill. With the help of her community, Malaika gets to dance in a beautiful custom-made peacock costume.

Social justice issues it addresses: Global immigration; economic differences; community building.


When We Were Alone

by David Alexander Robertson


One of the few books that teach younger kids about the residential schools, When We Were Alone is set years after a little girl’s grandmother was sent to residential school. As they work together in a garden, the granddaughter asks her grandmother questions about her colourful clothes and long braided hair. The answers reveal what life was like for her at the school, and the whole tale is strikingly illustrated by Cree-Métis author and illustrator Julie Flett.


Secret Path

by Gord Downie


This graphic novel, which was released in conjunction with an album of songs Downie wrote, tells the true tale of Chanie Wenjack, who lived at the Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School in northern Ontario. When he was 12 years old, Wenjack ran away from the facility in hopes of walking back to his family, who lived 600 kilometres away in Ogoki Post. Sadly, Wenjack died on his journey from hunger and exposure on October 22, 1966. There’s also a companion animated film, adapted from the book, which parents can watch with kids.


Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation

by Monique Gray Smith


Acclaimed Cree, Lakota and Scottish author Monique Gray Smith has written a book that tells the story of survivors of residential schools and Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples, and also talks about practical ways allies can take the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and use them to work toward reconciliation. There’s also a companion website ( designed to help support readers’ efforts to do the same.



by Nicola I. Campbell


This award-winning picture book is a gorgeous tribute to all of the beauty and comfort of home, as told by Shi-shi-etko, a little girl who is headed to residential school for the first time. Before she leaves, she takes in all of her family’s teachings so that they can keep her safe when she’s away. It’s a story that will help kids learn about all that Indigenous kids had to give up when they went to these schools.


Shin-chi’s Canoe

by Nicola I. Campbell 


Shin-chi’s Canoe won the 2009 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for its portrayal of life at residential school, as seen through the eyes of a new student, six-year-old Shin-chi, and his older sister, Shi-shi-etko, who is in her second year there. It’s the follow-up to Shi-shi-etko, and like its companion book, also teaches readers all about the rich life Indigenous kids were forced to leave behind.


No Time to Say Goodbye: Children’s Stories of Kuper Island Residential School

by Sylvia Olsen with Rita Morris and Ann Sam


When government agents take five kids from the Tsartlip First Nation, a Coast Salish community in British Columbia, to the isolated Kuper Island Residential School, life as they know it changes forever. A fictionalized tale set in the 1950s, which was written in consultation with survivors of this school, No Time to Say Goodbye engages readers as they experience this new world through the eyes of these children.


As Long as the Rivers Flow

by Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden


Larry Loyie was 10 years old when he was forced to leave behind his traditional Cree community to attend St. Bernard’s Mission residential school in Grouard, Alta. As Long as the Rivers Flow takes place in the summer before he went away. This chapter book is enhanced by Holmlund’s gorgeous watercolour illustrations.


A Stranger at Home

by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton


After two years at residential school, Margaret is going home to the high Arctic. But once there, she realizes she’s now an outsider because she no longer speaks her language (doing so at school is forbidden), and no longer enjoys the food her mother makes for her. This true story gives readers a sense of the cultural genocide that those who ran these schools perpetrated, and of its effects on the residents.


When I Was Eight

by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton


Margaret’s experience at residential school, including being locked in a basement and frequently humiliated by one of the nuns, and her life at home in the high Arctic before she went away, is also told in this picture-book version, which was created for younger readers.


Fatty Legs

by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton


As a young child, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton lived in the high Arctic, and wanted to go away to school so she could learn to read the books her older sister brought from school. Despite his worries about how she would be treated, her father granted her wish. But once there, Margaret fell on the bad side of one of the nuns, whom she calls the Raven. This is the true story, written with Margaret’s daughter-in-law Christy, of the harsh awakening she received at the residential school, and how she stood up to the Raven. It’s accompanied by archival photographs provided by Margaret, and illustrations.


I Am Not a Number

by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer


 Am Not a Number is the story of Dupuis’ then eight-year-old grandmother Irene, who is Ojibway. She was taken from her family to a residential school where she was made to use a number instead of her name, cut her hair and faced other abuses. Irene goes home on summer holiday, and her parents choose to keep her there, rather than send her back to the school. But there may be consequences for breaking the law…


I Am Jazz

by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings


The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.


It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity

by Theresa Thorn


A picture book that introduces the concept of gender identity to the youngest reader from writer Theresa Thorn and illustrator Noah Grigni.

Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between.

This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. With child-friendly language and vibrant art, It Feels Good to Be Yourself provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity. 


When Aidan Became A Brother

by Kyle Lukoff


When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl's room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of life that didn't fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life. Then Mom and Dad announce that they're going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning--from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does "making things right" actually mean? And what happens if he messes up? With a little help, Aidan comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self.

When Aidan Became a Brother is a heartwarming book that will resonate with transgender children, reassure any child concerned about becoming an older sibling, and celebrate the many transitions a family can experience.


Jacob's New Dress

by Sarah Hoffman, Ian Hoffman


Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can't wear "girl" clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don't identify with traditional gender roles.


Pink Is for Boys

by Robb Pearlman


An empowering and educational picture book that proves colors are for everyone, regardless of gender.

Pink is for boys... and girls... and everyone! This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids – and their grown-ups – to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages girls and boys to enjoy what they love to do, whether it's racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up. Vibrant illustrations help children learn and identify the myriad colors that surround them every day, from the orange of a popsicle, to the green of a grassy field, all the way up to the wonder of a multicolored rainbow.


Julián Is a Mermaid

by Jessica Love


While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a periwinkle curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes—and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love's author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality. 


Red: A Crayon's Story

by Michael Hall


A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis in the new picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It's an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let's draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can't be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He's blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!


From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea

by Kai Cheng Thom


A children’s picture book that incorporates lush visual storytelling with poetic language to tell the tale of a magical gender variant child who brings transformation and change to the world around them with the help of their mother’s love. This unique children’s book honors timeless fairy-tale themes while challenging gender, racial, and body stereotypes.


Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

by Christine Baldacchino 


Morris has a great imagination. He paints amazing pictures and he loves his classroom's dress-up center, especially the tangerine dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother's hair.

The other children don't understand--dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn't welcome in the spaceship his classmates are building--astronauts, they say, don't wear dresses.

One day Morris has a tummy ache, and his mother lets him stay home from school. He stays in bed reading about elephants, and her dreams about a space adventure with his cat, Moo. Inspired by his dream, Morris paints a fantastic picture, and everything begins to change when he takes it to school. 


Phoenix Goes to School: A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children

by Michelle Finch, Phoenix Finch


My Mommy tells me I'm perfect and to be brave.

"You know who you are," she says,

"Just be yourself and always listen to your heart."

With those words of encouragement from her Mom, Phoenix is preparing for her first day of school. She is excited but scared of being bullied because of her gender identity and expression. Yet when she arrives at school she finds help and support from teachers and friends, and finds she is brave enough to talk to other kids about her gender!

This is an empowering and brightly-illustrated children's book for children aged 3+ to help children engage with gender identity in a fun, uplifting way. It supports trans children who are worried about being bullied or misunderstood.



Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship

by Jess Walton 


One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can't figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: 'In my heart, I've always known that I'm a girl Teddy, not a boy Teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.' And Errol says, 'I don't care if you're a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.'


Annie's Plaid Shirt

by Stacy B. Davids


Annie loves her plaid shirt and wears it everywhere. But one day her mom tells Annie that she must wear a dress to her uncle's wedding. Annie protests, but her mom insists and buys her a fancy new dress anyway. Annie is miserable. She feels weird in dresses. Why can't her mom understand?

Then Annie has an idea. But will her mom agree?

Annie's Plaid Shirt will inspire readers to be themselves and will touch the hearts of those who love them.

Themes of gender norms, identity, individuality, tolerance, and self-esteem.


Dear Girl,: A Celebration of Wonderful, Smart, Beautiful You!

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal, Holly Hatam


Dear Girl, is a love letter written for the special girl in your life; a gentle reminder that she’s powerful, strong, and holds a valuable place in the world.

Through Amy and Paris’s charming text and Holly Hatam’s stunning illustrations, any girl reading this book will feel that she's great just the way she is—whether she enjoys jumping in a muddy puddle, has a face full of freckles, or dances on table tops.

Dear Girl, encourages girls to always be themselves and to love who they are—inside and out.


Dear Boy,

by Paris Rosenthal, Jason Rosenthal 


This perfect follow-up to the #1 NYT bestseller Dear Girl, is a touching love letter to the special boy in your life!

Dear Boy, yes means yes. Anything else means no.

Dear Boy, if you need one more reminder to pursue your dreams, then here it is: pursue your dreams!

Dear Boy, always trust magic.

Dear Boy, is a celebration of boys everywhere. It teaches boys to be kind, to be bold, and to never shy away from their feelings. This book delves into the life lessons we all hope to teach the strong (yet gentle) boys in our lives. For the first time, father and daughter of the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal team up together to create an ageless and timeless picture book with stunningly imaginative pictures by Holly Hatam.


The Land of Forgotten Girls

by Erin Entrada Kelly


Two sisters from the Philippines, abandoned by their father and living in impoverished circumstances in Louisiana, fight to make their lives better.

Soledad has always been able to escape into the stories she creates. Just like her mother always could. And Soledad has needed that escape more than ever in the five years since her mother and sister died and her father moved Sol and her youngest sister from the Philippines to Louisiana. Then he left, and all Sol and Ming have now is their evil stepmother, Vea. Sol has protected Ming all this time, but then Ming begins to believe that Auntie Jove—their mythical, world-traveling aunt—is really going to come rescue them. Have Sol’s stories done more harm than good? Can she protect Ming from this impossible hope?


Sheila Rae, the Brave

by Kevin Henkes


Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, the nationally bestselling and celebrated creator of Lilly's Purple Plastic PurseOwen, and Kitten's First Full MoonSheila Rae, the Brave is a warm, humorous, and loving story of sibling sympathy and support. Just because Sheila Rae is older, she doesn't always know better! This picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 4 to 6. It’s a fun way to learn to read and as a supplement for activity books for children.

"I am very brave," Sheila Rae said, patting herself on the back. She wasn't afraid of anything—not thunder, not lightning, not the big black dog at the end of the block. And when she wanted to walk home a new way and Louise wouldn't, she called her sister a scaredy-cat and set out alone. But all the bravado in the world failed to help when Sheila Rae found herself lost. Luckily, her sister was not far behind.


The Hate You Give

by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

This edition include an appendix entitled "Names Have Power," detailing the reasons Thomas chose to name different characters and places throughout the book. It also features an excerpt from her upcoming book On the Come Up as well as art inspired by The Hate U Give

*Watch the movie afterwards

Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope 

by Beverly Naidoo (Grade 5-7)


For almost fifty years apartheid forced the young people of South Africa to live apart as Blacks, Whites, Indians, and "Coloreds." This unique and dramatic collection of stories -- by native South African and Carnegie Medalist Beverley Naidoo -- is about young people's choices in a beautiful country made ugly by injustice.

Each story is set in a different decade during the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, and features fictional characters caught up in very real events. Included is a Timeline Across Apartheid, which recounts some of the restrictive laws passed during this era, the events leading up to South Africa's first free democratic elections, and the establishment of a new "rainbow government" that leads the country today.


Dreams, Miracles and Jazz: New Adventures in African Writing

by H. Habile (Grade 6-8)

Dreams, Miracles and Jazz is an anthology of new writing in English from writers born in Africa or of African parentage.

This anthology features writing from emerging voices such as Caine Prize winners, Binya vanga Wainaina, Segun Afolabi and Brian Chikwava; writers who have since secured book deals, like Sefi Atta, and others, such as Biram Mboob and Mamle Kabu, whose works have won awards and are found regularly in national and international anthologies.

The anthology is thematically diverse, covering almost all of the major contemporary African issues such as AIDS, migration (both within and outside the continent), land issues and identity.

Dreams, Miracles and Jazz celebrates the art of storytelling, and will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates good fiction and wonderful writing. 

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants, Donald R. Gallo – Grades 6-8

The stories in this collection examine what it is like to be “different” as teenagers who have left their homes in other countries confront new customs and cultures. Whether the teens are fleeing with their parents from a repressive regime or trying to adapt to a new culture with different rules, the stories come alive for readers. Immigration, culture, and customs are presented in terms accessible to adolescents.

Dreams, Miracles and Jazz: New Adventures in African Writing – Grades 6-8

An exciting original anthology of new writing in English from writers born in Africa or of African parentage. The anthology is diverse thematically, covering almost all major contemporary African issues such as AIDS, migration (both within and outside of the continent), land issues, and identity.

Tree Girl by Ben Mikaelsen – Grades 6-8

After watching soldiers murder her teacher and finding her Mayan village ransacked and her family dead, 14-year-old Gabriela Flores flees north to Mexican refugee camps. She enters a village not yet touched by unrest and seeks sanctuary in the largest tree where, during th enext several days, she must watch soldiers kill the village inhabitants. Based on a true story, this work of historical fiction provides insight about an ugly chapter in Guatemala’s history. It could facilitate discussions of human rights and the abuse of political power.

Half a Day and Other Stories: An Anthology of Short Stories From North Eastern and Eastern Africa – Grades 6-8

A short story collection with writers from Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, and Uganda. Each story is accompanied by revision questions, topics for discussion and a brief author bio useful if using the text for study purposes.

Fiela’s Child by Dalene Matthee – Grades 6-8

Set in nineteenth-century rural Africa, Fiela’s Child tells the gripping story of Fiela Komoetie and a white, three-year old child, Benjamin, whom she finds crying on her doorstep. For nine years Fiela raises Benjamin as one of her own children. But when census takers discover Benjamin, they send him to an illiterate white family of woodcutters who claim him as their son. What follows is Benjamin’s search for his identity and the fundamental changes affecting the white and black families who claim him.

Marie: In the Shadow of the Lion by Jerry Piasecki – Social Studies 7

This story centres on Marie Ngonga, a thirteen year old girl living with her family in an unnamed village in Africa. All is normal in her life and the lives of her family and friends until rebels threaten their village and force everyone to flee. Marie becomes separated, is captured and witnesses firsthand the horrors of war. The story is told in deceptively simple language but the realities faced by children in a war zone are horrifically real.

Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird – Grade 7

This novel is about a 14-year old Kurdish girl, Tara, living in Iraq. Her father is involved with the resistance movement and she and the family must flee into the mountains of Kurdistan and, eventually, into Iran. The novel outlines the conditions within the refugee camp and the persecutions Tara faces.

“Master Harold”… and the Boys: a Drama – Grade 7

First produced at the Yale Repertory Theater in 1982, Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold…and the Boys” is based on the playwright’s early life in South Africa. But the play itself is not a simple retelling of an incident from his past. Rather, Fugard has presented a personal experience that extends to universal humanity. If the play were simply a polemic against the policy of apartheid, it would already be outdated now that sweeping change has transformed South Africa. Instead, Fugard wrote a play about human relationships that are put to the test by societal and personal forces.

Figs and Fate: Stories about Growing Up in the Arab World Today by Elsa Marston – Grade 7

The Five stories in this collection are each set in a different part of the Middle East (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and a Palestinian refugee camp) and feature contemporary characters dealing with a “complicated, baffling world.”

Close Encounters of a Third World Kind by Jennifer J. Stewart – Grade 7

This is a fiction book about an American girl travelling through Nepal. Annie Ferris’s father announces that the family will be spending the next two months in Nepal on a medical mission and that it will be an adventure. And an adventure it is when Annie meets Nirmala, a girl close to her own age, who introduces her to the real Nepal.

The Heinemann Book of Contemporary African Short Stories, Chinua Achebe, C.L. Innes – Editors – Grade 7/8

An anthology which displays the variety, talent and scope of contemporary African writing. The collection includes stories in English and translations from French.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – Grade 7/8

A breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years – from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to the post-Taliban rebuilding – that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives – the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness – are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love – a stunning accomplishment.

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga – Grades 7/8

Nervous Conditions, written by Tsitsi Dangarembga in 1989, is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story about a young woman in modern Africa. The story takes place in Rhodesia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The story centres around Tambu and Nyasha, female cousins who, until their early teens, lead very different lives.

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis – Grade 7/8

This novel, by Canadian author Deborah Ellis, is the first of three books detailing the struggles of the people of Afghanistan under Taliban control. It tells the story of Parvana, a young girl growing up in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Her highly educated parents have lost their jobs – her father was a high school teacher and her mother was an author. Her father is forced to work in the market because his school has been bombed. Her mother is unable to work because the Taliban prevent women from working outside the home. To assist the family and to make more money, Parvana accompanies her father to the market every day to assist people in reading and writing. When her father is captured by the Taliban, Parvana is forced to disguise herself as a boy in order to earn money to support her family.

Under African Skies: Modern African Stories, Charles R. Larson – Grade 7/8

A selection of short stories by African writers providing a rich overview of the continent’s literary talents. Includes brief biographies of each author.

Face to Face: Poems and Short Stories about a Virus, Goethe Institute Accra – Grade 7/8

A collection of short stories and poems by twelve young, or previously unpublished writers from Ghana. Typical subjects of the pieces are AIDS in the context of love, friendship, guilt, sex and beliefs.

Marie – In the Shadow of the Lion (fiction based on fact) by Jerry Piasecki – Grades 7-10

Tells the story of thirteen-year-old Marie and fourteen-year-old Joseph whose lives and hopes for the future are destroyed by conflict in their country.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Grade 8

This critically acclaimed novel, told primarily through flash back, spans three decades in Afghanistan’s history. Events begin before the Soviet invasion and continue through the Taliban. It is the story of Amir, the son of a wealthy Pashtun and Hassan the son of a Hazara servant. The two boys are almost inseparable and experience many adventures including the traditional Afghanistan sport of kite flying or rather, the job of “kite running,” the gathering of kites felled by opponents during a kite fight.

Mud City by Deborah Ellis – Grade 8

Deborah Ellis’ trilogy of life in Afghanistan ends with this novel. In this book, a fourteen year old girl named Shauzia struggles with life in a refugee camp. Her dreams of life in France seem unattainable. She, too, must dress as a boy to avoid persecution by the Taliban. She is forced to beg and pick through garbage to earn a meagre living before she lands in jail. Her dreams of a life outside the camp seem closer when an American family comes to her aid. Perhaps this is her ticket to freedom.

Figs and Fate: Growing up in the Arab World Today by Elsa Marston – Grade 8

This book consists of five short stories. They deal with the lives of teenagers growing up in various parts of the Arab world. They face the same type of challenges teenagers the world over face: coping with divorce, moving to a new home, feelings of isolation, low self-esteem. The stories are touching, often ironic, but never dull. Students will discover similarities and differences between themselves and students in the Middle East.

The Mzungu Boy, Meja Mwangi – Grade 8

Meja Mwangi’s novel captures a child’s eye view of village life in Kenja in the late 1950s – a time of innocence, wild beauty and the growing violence that would change the entire structure of colonial Africa. A story about friendship and adventure set in Kenya before independence, at a time when people were rising up against British rule.

What is the What by Dave Eggers – Grade 8

What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng is a real life story of a Sudanese refugee and member of the Lost Boys of Sudan program. Separated from his family, Valentino becomes a refugee in war-ravaged southern Sudan. Along with thousands of other children, he was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. His travels bring him in contact with enemy soldiers, with liberation rebels, with hyenas and lions, with disease and starvation and the deadly murahaleen (militias on horseback) – the same sort who currently terrorize Darfur. When he is finally resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad of new challenges. This is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.

Shizuko’s Daughter by Kyoko Mori – Grades 8

In this quietly moving novel Mori poetically conveys the sentiments of an Asian girl who has lost her mother to suicide. Only a year after Shizuko’s death, Yuki’s father marries the woman with whom he has been having a long-term affair. Deeply resentful of both her father and his bride, Yuki feels uncomfortable at home, which has been redecorated to suit her new stepmother’s tastes. Running long distances and painting pictures that preserve memories of happier times are the only ways the girl is able to find consolation. Throughout this story, set in Kobe, Japan, and spanning seven years, the author shows how Yuki’s visions, attitudes, and achievements are influenced by her mother’s tragedy.

The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl by Ma Yan – Grades 9-12

Ma Yan chronicles her desire to receive an education and escape a brutal life of poverty. Through her diary, Ma Yan describes her family’s hardships, including hunger and separation, in the quest to build a brighter future. Ma Yan’s strong voice shines through this work with a heartfelt sense of responsibility, clarity of purpose, and love of family.

Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiong’o – Grades 9-12

Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s first novel, published in 1964, was the first English novel to be published by an East African. Thiong’o’s works deal with the relationship between Africans and the British colonists in Africa, and are heavily critical of British colonial rule. Specifically, Weep Not, Child deals with the Mau Mau Uprising, and the bewildering dispossession of an entire people from their ancestral land.

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Romeo Dallaire – ELA B30

This disturbing account of the United Nations mission in Rwanda by Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire has won several awards: the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction, the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris award for Non-fiction book of the Year (2004), as well as the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Author of the Year Award (2004).

The book details the break-down of the mission, Lt.-Gen. Dallaire’s (now Senator Dallaire’s) attempts to prevent that breakdown, and his own personal struggles as the genocide overwhelms the area.