Our collection of picture books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC) is available to the public. *Inclusion of a title in the collection DOES NOT EQUAL a recommendation.* Click here for more on book evaluation.
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"Diarou is starting her first week in a new school, in a new country, speaking a new language... and she feels completely alone. She moved to the U.S. from Guinea over the summer and is determined to make friends, but with her limited English, she's having trouble communicating with her classmates. Just when she thinks she might be on her own, she meets another new student who’s struggling too. Can Diarou find a way to connect across language barriers to make a true friend? The authors of this story are part of an innovative program run by Reach Incorporated. Reach develops grade-level readers and capable leaders by preparing teens to serve as tutors and role models for younger students, resulting in improved literacy outcomes for both. Learn more at reachincorporated.org. Books were created in collaboration with Shout Mouse Press. Shout Mouse is a nonprofit writing and publishing house dedicated to amplifying underheard voices. Through writing workshops that lead to professional publication, Shout Mouse empowers writers from marginalized backgrounds to tell their own stories in their own voices and, as published authors, to act as agents of change. Learn more at shoutmousepress.org" -- publisher
"As a young boy growing up in North Carolina, Romare Bearden listened to his great-grandmother’s Cherokee stories and heard the whistle of the train that took his people to the North—people who wanted to be free. When Romare boarded that same train, he watched out the window as the world whizzed by. Later he captured those scenes in a famous painting, Watching the Good Trains Go By. Using that painting as inspiration and creating a text influenced by the jazz that Bearden loved, Jeanne Walker Harvey describes the patchwork of daily southern life that Romare saw out the train’s window and the story of his arrival in shimmering New York City. Artists and critics today praise Bearden’s collages for their visual metaphors honoring his past, African American culture, and the human experience. Elizabeth Zunon’s illustrations of painted scenes blended with collage are a stirring tribute to a remarkable artist." -- publisher
"An ALA Notable Children’s Book, Very Last First Time comes from one of Canada's most distinguished storytellers and an award-winning illustrator. Eva Padlyat lived in an Inuit village on Ungava Vat in northern Canada. In winter, when people wanted mussels to eat, they searched along the bottom of the seabed. Eva had often walked on the bottom, helping her mother, but today – for the very first time – she was to go down below the thick sea ice herself. Her mother went with her to the shore and out onto the ice. The time was just right. The outgoing tide had pulled the seawater away, leaving only the ice above and the rock-strewn seabed below. Eva lowered herself through a hole in the ice and, by candlelight, had soon gathered a pan full of mussels. There was still time to explore, she decided. But she stumbled and her candle went out. She was alone in the darkness, and the tide had turned. When, at the end of her adventure, she is safe with her mother again on top of the ice, she says, "that was my very last first time for walking alone on the bottom of the sea."" -- publisher
"Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall takes us on a dreamlike voyage into nature at that secret moment when fall turns into winter. We find ourselves in a kind of paradise, which humans may be part of but which they have not despoiled. A Native father and son lead us through forests, down rivers, over lakes and ponds. Along the way we experience the primordial beauty of the physical world. This is nature as we all feel in our hearts it must once have been. Through lyrical words and a masterful collage technique, Leo Yerxa has created an exquisite and poetic evocation of this moment. Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall takes us on a dreamlike voyage into nature at that secret moment when fall turns into winter. We find ourselves in a kind of paradise, which humans may be part of but which they have not despoiled. A Native father and son lead us through forests, down rivers, over lakes and ponds. Along the way we experience the primordial beauty of the physical world. This is nature as we all feel in our hearts it must once have been. Through lyrical words and a masterful collage technique, Leo Yerxa has created an exquisite and poetic evocation of this moment." -- publisher
"Jose Angutinngurniq, a gifted storyteller and respected elder from Kugaaruk, Nunavut, brings to life a story of the great nanurluk that has been told in the Kugaaruk region for generations. One of the most terrifying creatures to be found in traditional Inuit stories is the nanurluk, a massive bear the size of an iceberg that lives under the sea ice. Its monstrous size and ice-covered fur make it an almost impenetrable foe. But when a lone hunter spots the breathing hole of the nanurluk on the sea ice near his iglu, he uses his quick thinking and excellent hunting skills to hatch a plan to outsmart the deadly bear. Jose Angutinngurniq, a gifted storyteller and respected elder from Kugaaruk, Nunavut, brings to life a story of the great nanurluk that has been told in the Kugaaruk region for generations." -- publisher
"Ashley meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their community in Nova Scotia. When she sees his sadness, he tells her of the day when he and the other children were taken to residential school, their lives changed forever. Uncle also explains how Ashley gives him hope. She promises to wait with him in remembrance of what was lost. Ashley meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their community in Nova Scotia. Ashley sees his sadness, and Uncle tells her of the day years ago when he and the other children from their community were told to board the train before being taken to residential school where their lives were changed forever. They weren't allowed to speak Mi'gmaq and were punished if they did. There was no one to give them love and hugs and comfort. Uncle also tells Ashley how happy she and her sister make him. They are what give him hope. Ashley promises to wait with her uncle by the train tracks, in remembrance of what was lost." -- publisher
"Cauã and Inaê are a brother and sister who live in a small community along the Tapajós River in Brazil. Here, the homes are on stilts and everyone travels around by boat—even to school! When the rainy season comes, they must leave their village and relocate to higher ground for a while. But after moving this year, Cauã and Inaê realize they’ve left behind something important: their pet tortoise, Titi! Unlike turtles, tortoises can’t swim, and Cauã and Inaê are really worried. So the pair sneaks back at night on a journey along the river to rescue him. Will they be able to save Titi? This picture book, first published in Brazil, offers kids a unique look into the lives of children who live along Brazil’s beautiful Tapajós River." -- publisher
"Tess has visited her grandmother many times without really being aware of the garden. But today they step outside the door and Tess learns that all of nature can be a garden. And if you take care of the plants that are growing, if you learn about them - understanding when they flower, when they give fruit, and when to leave them alone - you will always find something to nourish you. At the end of their day Tess is thankful to Mother Earth for having such a lovely garden, and she is thankful to have such a wise grandma." -- publisher
"This beautiful picture book looks at how the simple act of being kind, to others and oneself, affects all aspects of a child’s life. When We Are Kind celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness and encourages children to explore how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives. Celebrated author Monique Gray Smith has written many books on the topics of resilience and reconciliation and communicates an important message through carefully chosen words for readers of all ages. Beautifully illustrated by artist Nicole Neidhardt, this book encourages children to be kind to others and to themselves." -- publisher
"In today’s Alaskan Yup'ik Eskimo communities, the villagers still gather in the kashim to sing, drum, and dance, carrying forward their forebears’ traditions. DANCE ON A SEALSKIN is the heartwarming story of Annie’s “first dance,” a coming-of-age ceremony that signifies a young person’s official entry into the Eskimo community. As northern lights dance above Annie with the spirit of her recently departed grandmother, she prepares to honor the living and the dead in her first dance at potlatch. Inside the kashim, she listens to the drums and songs of the others. Soon, when Annie’s father places a silvery sealskin at her feet, it is her turn to dance out a story for family and friends. The heartwarming story of Annie, a Yup'ik Eskimo girl, and her coming-of-age ceremony in her Alaskan village." -- publisher