Diverse BookFinder Winter Gift Guide 2023

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It’s that time of year again; when we’re all searching for the best gifts for all our friends and loved ones.

Well, we might be a little biased, but here at Diverse BookFinder, we think that books make the very best gifts and if you agree with us, then we’ve got you covered!

We’ve offered different takes on Gift Guides in years past and this year we’ve decided to offer you a taste of some of our favorite themed picture book titles from 2023.

This year we noticed some common themes that kept coming up in new picture book releases and the best part is that so many of these stories featured wonderful BIPOC representation!

Below we’ll share some of our favorite themes of the year and some standout titles from each theme, but before we do, here are a couple more things to keep in mind about our gift guide:

  • These titles are not on the Diverse BookFinder. Due to some exciting changes, 2023 titles have not made it to the Diverse BookFinder website just yet. Stay tuned for more information about when you can expect these.
  • This is not an exhaustive list. 2023 was a great year for diverse book publishing and this is just a small sample of the great reads that were published. There are tons of books that could have easily made this list.
  • You should spend time evaluating the books before purchasing. A book that made us laugh or touched our hearts might not feel the same to you or your loved ones. We’ve offered links to more information about each book below. Even so, we always suggest you review titles before offering them to your loved ones.

Without further ado, we hope you enjoy your 2023 Diverse BookFinder Winter Gift Guide.

Click each book cover for more information!

Grandparents Galore

Stories that highlight that special bond between grandchildren and their grandparents.

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Babajoon’s Treasure by Farnaz Esnaashari and Nabi H. Ali

Every summer, Miriam spends a week at her Babajoon and Mamanjoon’s house. It’s her favorite part of summer because every day with her grandparents is an adventure. But when coins fall out of Babajoon’s pocket as he’s getting ice cream, Miriam finds one coin that doesn’t look like the rest–a gold one unlike Miriam has ever seen before…

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Old to Joy by Anita Crawford Clark

Joy’s Grandmama lives in an old house, on an old street, with old trees and all kinds of old things. And Joy already knows . . . there’s no fun in that! When young Joy goes to spend the day with Grandmama, she struggles to find beauty in all the old things at Grandmama’s house. None of it looks or smells quite the same as it does at home. But as the day passes, Grandmama patiently helps Joy discover how the old ways can bring joy to any heart.

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My Ittu: The Biggest, Best Grandpa by Laura Deal and Thamires Paredes

Maniq loves her ittu (short for ittupajaaq, an Inuktitut word for grandfather). He’s brave–enough to wrestle the grumpiest polar bear, if he ever needed to! He’s tall–enough to see over the tallest mountain tops. He’s generous–enough to walk through a blizzard to make sure others have delicious food to eat. And above all, he loves his grandkids, every single one of them–and there must be close to one hundred, by Maniq’s count at least!

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The Yellow Handkerchief (El Pañuelo Amarillo) by Donna Barba Higuera and Cynthia Alonso

My abuela wears an old yellow handkerchief that her grandmother gave to her.
I don’t like the yellow handkerchief.

When a young girl feels ashamed of her family for being “different” and subconsciously blames her abuela, she gradually grows to not only accept but also love the yellow handkerchief that represents a language and culture that once brought embarrassment.

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Quiet Time with My Seeya by Dinalie Dabarera

Sometimes, the moments that Sona spends with her seeya are quiet. They speak different languages and don’t always use words. But they do communicate in other ways… Any time that Sona and Seeya share is special, whether quiet or loud, because they get to spend it together.

Lots of Locks

These stories encourage us to love our hair and all the power within it!

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My Powerful Hair by Carole Lindstrom and Steph Littlebird

Mom never had long hair–she was told it was too wild. Grandma couldn’t have long hair–hers was taken from her. But one young girl can’t wait to grow her hair long: for herself, for her family, for her connection to her culture and the Earth, and to honor the strength and resilience of those who came before her.

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The Hair She Wears by Deepika Kaur Pujji and Agus Prajogo

The hair she wears can be tied back in two braids For she is courageous, never afraid. The hair she wears can be decorated with a bow For she is curious, ready to grow. In this rhyming, sing-song picture book, author Deepika Pujji describes all the wonderful, empowering adjectives that describe a Sikh girl by way of her long, lustrous hair.

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Only a Trenza Away: A Tale of Trust and Strength by Nadine Fonseca and Camila Carrossine

Every night Xia’s father delicately braids her hair before bed. As he gently tugs and twists and tightens her hair, they embark on imaginative and fun adventures as he makes up stories about Xia and her trenzas, or braids. In one story, her trenza becomes a sturdy twisted vine that she uses to bravely swing through the jungle. One night, after story time, Xia worries what she would do if Papa is not there to help her in a real adventure. 

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Locs, Not Dreads by Tonya Abari and Chasity Hampton

Selah can’t wait to show off her newly loc’d hair at school, but when she bounces off the bus, her classmates react with whispers and a word Selah hasn’t heard before: dreadlocks. The word dread makes her uneasy: is there something scary about her hair? Selah’s family shares stories about standing up to hair discrimination and why they love their locs, helping Selah return to school with confidence, because there’s absolutely nothing dreadful about her hair!

Made with Love

Delicious stories that show the importance of a great dish in connecting us with our family and culture.

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Spicy Spicy Hot! by Lenny Wen

When Lintang finally gets to taste her nenek’s yummy, mouthwatering sambal, she’s delighted! But when she takes a bite it’s . . . SPICY! Her lips burn, her mouth feels like it’s on fire, and her taste buds are crying for help. Desperate to fit in with her family, Lintang tries many different types of sambal, but they’re . . . HOT!With a little help from Nenek, will Lintang find a way to beat the heat and connect with her Indonesian heritage?

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Okra Stew: A Gullah Geechee Family Celebration by Natalie Daise

Papa has something special planned for tonight’s family dinnerand Bobo can’t wait! Excited to learn how to make okra stew like his ancestors, Bobo helps Papa pick veggies from the garden, catch shrimp from the creek, rain down rice in the pot, simmer the stew, and even make a tasty side of cornbread.

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Boys Don’t Fry by Kimberly Lee and Charlene Chua

It’s the eve of Lunar New Year, and Jin can’t wait for the big family reunion dinner. As his aunties dice, slice, and chop, there’s nothing Jin wants more than to learn about the history of his family’s cooking and to lend them a helping hand. After all, no one else can tell the difference between ginger and galangal as well as he can! But his aunties shoo him away, claiming he’ll just get bored or be in the way.

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Plátanos Are Love by Alyssa Reynoso-Morris and Mariyah Rahman

Abuela says, “plátanos are love.”
I thought they were food.
But Abuela says they feed us in more ways than one.
With every pop of the tostones, mash of the mangú, and sizzle of the maduros, a little girl learns that plátanos are her history, they are her culture, and–most importantly–they are love.

Learning Language

Differences in language are at the heart of so many BIPOC experiences. These stories highlight the importance of language in our everyday lives.

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Eleven Words for Love: A Journey Through Arabic Expressions of Love by Randa Abdel-Fattah and Maxine Beneba Clarke

A family has fled their homeland in search of safety in another country, carrying a single suitcase. As their journey unfolds, the oldest child reflects on the special contents of that suitcase: photo albums that evoke eleven of many names for love in Arabic.

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Words Between Us by Angela Pham Krans and Dung Ho

Felix and Grandma have always lived oceans apart–until the day Grandma arrives. Felix is so excited to meet Grandma and spend time with her. Except she doesn’t know English! And he doesn’t know much Vietnamese! But maybe they can connect in other ways…

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Spanish Is the Language of My Family by Michael Genhart and John Parra

As a boy prepares for his school’s Spanish spelling bee, he asks his grandmother for help with some of the words he doesn’t know how to spell yet. When she studies with him, she tells him how different things were back when she was a girl, when she was only allowed to speak English in school. This only inspires him to study even harder and make his family proud.

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The Words We Share by Jack Wong

Angie is used to helping her dad. Ever since they moved to Canada, he relies on her to translate for him from English to Chinese. Angie is happy to help: when they go to restaurants, at the grocery store, and, one day, when her dad needs help writing some signs for his work.

Big Moves

 Moving can be hard for anyone but some moves are bigger than others. These books are all about the many changes that come with a big move.

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This Is Not My Home by Eugenia Yoh and Vivienne Chang

When Lily’s mom announces their family must move back to Taiwan to take care of her elderly Ah Ma, Lily is devastated to leave behind her whole life for a place that is most definitely not her home. But Lily soon realizes, through the help of her family and friends, what home means to them. And perhaps someday–maybe not today, but someday–it might become her home too.

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It’ll Be Irie: Staying True to Yourself by Donn Swaby and Alejandra Barajas

Raymond can’t wait to move to America. He is determined to be the most American American ever! But when he gets to his new school his Jamaican roots show through and he must figure out how to be the most Raymond Raymond ever.

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Maribel’s Year by Michelle Sterling and Sarah Gonzales

New country, new school, new friends. A lot can happen in a single year. But one thing’s for certain: Maribel won’t forget her Papa, even when he’s 8,000 miles away in the Philippines. After all, Papa is all around. 

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When the Stars Came Home by Brittany Luby and Natasha Donovan

How does a strange new place become home? When Ojiig moves to the city with his family, he misses everything they left behind. Most of all, he misses the sparkling night sky. Without the stars watching over him, he feels lost.

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