The Stories for All section of The First Book Marketplace, created to reflect the diverse population we serve, carries close to 1,500 titles featuring diverse characters with a variety of experiences.
We believe that ALL kids deserve access to an abundance of books in which they can see themselves, their families, their culture, and their neighborhood reflected. That is why we strive to provide a rich selection of diverse books to the educators we serve. Here are a few of our favorite titles from the Stories for All collection:
Young Readers (Books recommended for ages 4-9)
Hot, Hot Roti by F. Zia with illustrations by Ken Min
Aneel’s grandparents have come to stay, all the way from India. Aneel loves the sweet smell of his grandmother s incense, and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tells the world’s best stories. When he was a boy, adventurous, energetic Dada-ji had the power of a tiger. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir! He could shake mangoes off trees and wrangle wild cobras. And what gave him his power? Fluffy-puffy hot, hot roti, with a bit of tongue-burning mango pickle. Does Dada-ji still have the power? Aneel wants to find out but first he has to figure out how to whip up a batch of hot, hot roti.
Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat with illustrations by Leslie Staub
After Saya’s mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother’s warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them while she’s away, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories inspired by Haitian folklore on cassette tape. Moved by her mother’s tales and her father’s attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own – one that just might bring her mother home for good.
Middle Grade (Books recommended for ages 10-15)
Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confines her to her bed for a long period of recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle
When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita’s worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again? In this poetic memoir, Margarita Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.
Young Adult (Books recommended for ages 13-18)
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Naila’s traditional parents have always said the same thing: she may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up – but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating — even friendship with a boy — is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed — her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now!
American Street by Ibi Zobi
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie — a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess, the grittiness of Detroit’s west side, a new school, and a surprising romance: all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?
Mamá The Alien / Mamá la Extraterrestre (Bilingual, English/Spanish) by René Colato Laínez and Laura Lacamara (Age 4-9)
When Mamá’s purse falls on the floor, Sofia gets a peek at Mamá’s old Resident Alien card and comes to the conclusion that Mamá might be an alien from outer space. Sofia heads to the library to learn more about aliens. Some are small and some are tall. Some have four fingers on each hand and some have large, round eyes. Their skin can be gray or blue or green. But Mamá looks like a human mother! Could she really be an alien? Sofia is still puzzling out this mystery when she sees an alien-looking Mamá one night. It turns out Mamá is doing a beauty treatment so she will look her best for her citizenship ceremony. That’s when Sofia realizes that, in English, an alien can be someone from another planet but it can also be a person from another country. Just like Mamá!
Upside Down Boy/El nino de cabeza (Bilingual, English/Spanish) by Juan Felipe Herrera with illustrations by Elizabeth Gomez (Age 7-9)
Juanito is bewildered by his new school and he misses the warmth of country life. Everything he does feels upside down. He eats lunch when it’s recess, he goes out to play when it’s time for lunch, and his tongue feels like a rock when he tries to speak English. But a sensitive teacher and loving family help him to find his voice and make a place for himself in this new world through poetry, art, and music.
El único destino (The Only Road, Spanish Edition) by Alexandra Diaz (Age 10-12)
Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous and life-changing journey from his home in Guatemala to live with his older brother in the United States in this gripping and realistic middle grade novel. Jaime is sitting on his bed drawing when he hears a scream. Instantly, he knows: Miguel, his cousin and best friend, is dead. Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like Miguel. Accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico.
Looking for more diverse books? Click here to explore all the titles in our Stories for All collection!