“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin to share your stories. And all at once … the world opens itself up a little wider to make some space for you.” —From The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
When we say books are magic, it’s not just a phrase to throw around. Books have the power to act as windows, allowing us to see into worlds beyond our own — while just as easily mirroring our experience and reflecting and affirming our identities. DonorsChoose teachers know how essential this level of representation is to every classroom and student, not just for special months but all year-round.
We pulled together a collection of our best reading lists made for diversifying your bookshelves, featuring stories by and about women and Black, Latino, LGBTQIA+, AAPI, Native American people —and beyond. They’re divided up by grade level for easy shopping. Enjoy!
19 Must-Have Books by Black Authors For Your Class Library
Explore this list: 19 Must-Have Books by Black Authors For Your Class Library
These are stories of Black joy, love, and life for all readers. Explore belonging with young readers in the lyrical The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, or dive into a haunting graphic novel in verse in Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds. Or read the powerful American memoir written to the author’s teenage son in the bestseller Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
12 Must-Read Books That Celebrate Hispanic and Latino Voices
Explore this list: 12 Must-Read Books That Celebrate Hispanic and Latino Voices
You can join Alma on an adventure of learning about her name and her family history in Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, read the story of a pre-teen boy whose family is separated by U.S. immigration policies in the deeply honest Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros. Or you can learn the history of four women fighting for freedom under Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez.
9 Must-Read Books That Celebrate the LGBTQIA+ Community
Explore this list: 9 Must-Read Books That Celebrate the LGBTQIA+ Community
Fill your shelves with Pride year-round. You can ride the subway with Julián and his Abuela on a story of self-discovery and acceptance in Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, read the coming-of-age story of a girl finding herself in the wake of a tornado in Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake, and join the sisters Camino and Yahaira Rios in the novel-in-verse about grief, loss, and love, Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.
Must-Read Asian American and Pacific Islander Books
Explore this list: Must-Read Asian American and Pacific Islander Books
In this list, you’ll discover a lyrical story showcasing the lives of Muslim American women in Under My Hijab by Hena Khan, the moving family saga unfolding during the Japanese occupation of Korea in Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, and the Pulitzer-Prize winning tale of an American educated Franco-Vietnamese communist spy in The Sympathizer, a novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen.
15 Books by Women Authors to Celebrate Women in History
Explore this list: 15 Books by Women Authors to Celebrate Women in History
Readers of all genders can find a story to appreciate in these selections. Dig into world history with the beautifully-illustrated Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison, read the story of a young girl who must leave her home in Syria to the U.S. in Other Words for Home, by Jasmine Warga, or travel back to 1937 during the Harlem Renaissance in the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
Native American Reads For Your Bookshelf
Explore this list: Native American Book List
Choose from 9 titles featuring a breadth of stories centering Native peoples’ voices and culture. Go on a journey of adoption and family identity in I Can Make this Promise by Christine Day, learn more about the history of boarding schools in Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac, or read the multi-generational tale all leading up to a California Powwow in There, There by Tommy Orange.
Teachers know the classroom should be a space where all students can find their mirrors and their windows. Through diversifying our reading with books like those on our lists above, we can all gain a more complete, more honest picture of the world. And that is pure magic.
Want to see what books public school teachers are currently requesting? Find them here on DonorsChoose.