KidLit Resource List – Books for trying times

In the aftermath of the inauguration, many members of the Minnesota children’s literature community gathered virtually on the MN Kidlit Facebook page.  Words matter.  No one knows this more than the dedicated souls who write and illustrate for youth.

We started compiling a list of resources: books about refugees and immigrants, reading activities that increase empathy, inclusive picture book suggestions.

Here is the list.  Read the books.  Read them to your neighbors, aunts/uncles, and kids.  Buy the books from your favorite indie bookstore and donate them to your local library or school.



Jane Addams Peace Award books (1953 – present) “The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.”:

Picture books for social justice, activists:

Picture books about Muslim or Middle Eastern characters:

Middle grade social justice novels:

South Asian and diverse children’s books:

Books that teach empathy:

Hope and Strength in stressful times – Wash Post:

The Brown Bookshelf: United in story

Feminist literature for young readers:

Refugee picture books:

Refugees and immigrants:

Empathy, kindness:


YA refugee books:

Activist biographies YA:

YA books about immigration:

Disability in KidLit:

Girl-empowering books:

Diversity in children’s literature:

Penny Candy Books (publisher):

Teaching Tolerance – a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center:

From the St Paul Public Library:

“All residents of Saint Paul may obtain a library card by presenting proof of address and a photo ID. We never have, and never will, inquire about citizenship or immigration/refugee status. Within our buildings, our resources and information are available to all, whether they have a library card or not.”

Books inspiring activism and tolerance:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land by John Coy, photos by Wing Young Huie

March (trilogy) by John Lewis (Author), Andrew Aydin (Author), Nate Powell (Artist)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: I dissent by Debbie Levy

The Seeds of America Trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson

Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton

This Side of Home by Renee Watson

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

What Does It Mean To Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio

The Hunt (coming in 2/17) by Margaux Othats

A Gift From Greensboro by Quraysh Ali Lansana, illustrated by Skip Hill

Ambassador by William Alexander

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, illustrations by Yutaka Houlette

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle

Recommendations for preschool storytime:

A Chair For My Mother and sequels by Vera B. Williams

More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams

A is for Activist and Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara

The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Leslie Staub

Jacqueline Woodson’s picture books

Kadir Nelson’s picture books

Here are some photos of the displays I created at Addendum Books (Northeast corner of Randolph and Cleveland in St Paul, MN):


IMG_2550IMG_2551Musical MomentIMG_2554IMG_2555IMG_2556IMG_2547IMG_2558IMG_2552

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