Summertime is around the corner, and Lee & Low has created a Diverse Summer Reading List that will get all kids engaged in reading! Our list includes both fiction and nonfiction, bilingual Spanish/English titles, and a diverse range of cultures—in other words, the right book for every reader!
In need of a shelf refresh as you head into the summer reading season? Check out our recommendations below, then download the entire list!
For kids learning to count (in more languages than one!) and those seeking delicious adventure, try Ten Blocks to the Big Wok by Ying-Hwa Hu
This sweet story about a girl, her uncle, and a little cat they meet on the way accomplishes multiple fun and useful aims: It’s a fully bilingual counting book that teaches readers the numbers one through ten in both simplified Mandarin and English. It provides a fun tour of a typical Chinatown—a beloved neighborhood in many cities around the world.
For a gentle discussion about natural disasters and the power of community, try Alicia and the Hurricane: A Story of Puerto Rico / Alicia y el huracán: Un cuento de Puerto Rico by Lesléa Newman; Illustrated by Elizabeth Erazo Baez
Alicia and the Hurricane is a tender look at the resilience of people, and native creatures, whose lives have been disrupted by a natural disaster. With love and support, family and friends come together to share, rebuild, and fill Alicia’s heart with hope. Ko-kee, ko-kee!
For young activists and a candid look at our interconnectedness with the environment and indigenous communities, try Nibi’s Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco; Illustrated by Chief Lady Bird
When Nibi, an Indigenous girl, turns the tap in her house, only mucky brown water comes out. That starts her on a search for clean water to drink. Though she must face polluted rivers, unfriendly neighbors, and her own temporary discouragement, Nibi’s joyful energy becomes a catalyst for change and action as her community rallies around her to make clean drinking water available for all.
When Grandma walks to her special garden, her granddaughters know to follow her there. They find stories in the strength of rocks shaped by volcanoes, the cleansing power of beautiful crystals, the mystery of the sea that houses shells and shapes the environment, and the long journey meteorites took to find their way to Earth. This is the power of Grandma’s special garden, where wonder grows and stories blossom. Available in Spanish!
For a steampunk graphic novel retelling of Frankenstein, try The Witch Owl Parliament (Clockwork Curandera #1) / El parlamento de lechuzas (Curandera mecánica #1) by David Bowles, Raúl the Third; Illustrated by Stacey Robinson, Damian Duffy
Steampunk, fantasy, and alternate history come together in this utterly unique and brilliantly illustrated graphic novel, with color by Stacey Robinson and lettering by Damian Duffy. Set in an alternate Mexico in which borders are drawn differently, The Witch Owl Parliament imagines a world that centers Mexican mythology and indigenous lifeways. Don’t miss this amazing first volume of the Clockwork Curandera trilogy! Available in Spanish!
For a sibling story with coming-of-age themes, try Miosotis Flores Never Forgets by Hilda Eunice Burgos
Miosotis Flores is excited about three things: fostering rescue dogs, goofy horror movies, and her sister Amarilis’s upcoming wedding. But her papi cares about school more than anything else, so they strike a deal: If Miosotis improves her grades in two classes, she can adopt a dog of her own in the summer. At the same time, she notices Amarilis behaving strangely When she finally discovers her sister’s secret, Miosotis faces some difficult choices.
For an epic summer road trip, try The Boys of the Beast by Monica Zepeda
Boys of the Beast is the New Visions Award Winner from debut author and teen librarian Monica Zepeda. After their grandmother’s funeral, three estranged cousins hop into their grandmother’s 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe for a road trip. But the last thing they expect is to uncover deeper ties that bring them even closer together. Quick-witted, heartfelt, and powerful in its messages of grief, acceptance, and differences, this book is perfect for fans of David Levithan, Benjamin Alire Saenz, or Meg Medina.
For a bit of magic and mystery, try Echoes of Grace by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
In Eagle Pass, Texas, Grace struggles to understand the “echoes” she inherited from her mother—visions which often distort her reality. One morning, as her sister, Mercy, rushes off to work, a disturbing echo takes hold of Grace, and within moments, tragedy strikes. This page-turning story explores questions of heartbreak and healing like “How do you forgive the person responsible for the worst day of your life?” Echoes of Grace brings the classic gothic genre to a contemporary border setting blended with Mexican American magical realism.
Download, print, and share the 2022 Diverse Summer Reading List Grades PreK-8 here.
What other diverse books do your kids enjoy? Leave comments below to share! Follow or tag us @leeandlow to show us your summer reads!